Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip...

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip gather at a tent camp, in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes as Israel moves ahead with a ground offensive against the ruling Hamas militant group. Credit: AP/Fatima Shbair

Israel's military called for more evacuations in southern Gaza as it widened its offensive aimed at eliminating the territory's Hamas rulers. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,890, with more than 41,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children.

Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods. It claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence. Israel says at least 81 of its soldiers have died.

Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.

The United States, along with Qatar and Egypt, which mediated the earlier cease-fire, say they are working on a longer truce.

Currently:

— Pennsylvania governor rebukes Philadelphia protesters for chanting outside an Israeli restaurant.

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip,...

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. Credit: AP/Ohad Zwigenberg

— A global journalist group says the Israel-Hamas conflict is a war beyond compare for media deaths.

— Dutch lawyers seek a civil court order to halt the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel.

— Biden’s allies in the Senate demand that Israel limit civilian deaths in Gaza as Congress debates U.S. aid.

— The U.S. may establish a naval task force to protect shipping in the Red Sea.

An Israeli army flare is seen over the Gaza Strip,...

An Israeli army flare is seen over the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. Credit: AP/Ohad Zwigenberg

— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s what’s happening in the war:

SATELLITE PHOTOS SHOW THE ISRAELI MILITARY HAS BEGUN ITS SOUTHERN OFFENSIVE IN GAZA

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite photos analyzed Tuesday by The Associated Press show that the Israeli military has begun its ground offensive in the southern reaches of the Gaza Strip as part of its war against Hamas.

Since the collapse of a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that saw militant-held hostages swapped for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, the Israeli military has launched an intense campaign of airstrikes and ground fighting in the southern Gaza Strip as well. The satellite photos released by Planet provide the first clear look at the intensity and scope at which the Israelis are fighting.

The images, shot Sunday by Planet Labs PBC, show Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers just under 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the heart of Khan Younis, the major city of the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Many who fled the Israeli offensive and airstrike campaign in Gaza City's north now live around Khan Younis and other nearby areas after the Israeli military ordered them to evacuate.

The Israeli deployment sits just to the west of Salah al-Din, a main north-south corridor within the Gaza Strip that many used to flee. An AP analysis found positions in four clusters, with some 150 armored personnel carriers, tanks and other vehicles in the area. Israeli soldiers have created packed dirt berms around some of their positions, which can be used for cover.

Fresh tank tracks could be seen chewed through the ground there, suggesting the movements were recent.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press regarding their strategy for the offensive and what the satellite photos showed. However, the maneuver and the number of vehicles there suggests that the Israeli military is preparing to potentially move south in Khan Younis. Fighting already has been reported in the area.

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