Hundreds of Yemen pilgrims stuck in KSA after Houthis seize Yemenia planes

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian territories: Explosions, airstrikes and gunfire rocked northern Gaza on Saturday, the third day of an Israeli military operation that has uprooted tens of thousands of Palestinians and compounded what the United Nations called “unbearable” living conditions in the territory.
An AFP correspondent reported ongoing explosions from the Shujaiya area near Gaza City, with bodies visible in the streets, according to one resident.
The Israeli army said on Saturday that its operations were continuing in Shujaiya, where fighting “above and below the ground” had left a “large number” of dead.
The resurgence of fighting in the area comes months after Israel said the command structure of Hamas militants in northern Gaza had been destroyed.
Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “intensive phase” of the war was ending after nearly nine months, but experts see a potentially prolonged next phase.
The war in Gaza has also led to heightened tensions on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, prompting Iran to warn on Saturday of an “extermination” war if Israel attacks Lebanon.
The war began with a Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, which left 1,195 people dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also took hostages, of whom 116 remain in Gaza, although the military says 42 are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,834 people, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has recorded at least 69 deaths in the last 48 hours.
Mohammed Harara, 30, said he and his family, young and old, felt like they were becoming part of the myth.
He said they fled their home in Shujaiya with nothing, “because of the bombardment by Israeli planes, tanks and drones,” barely surviving.
“We couldn’t take anything from the house. We left food, flour, canned goods, mattresses and blankets,” Harara said.
Israel’s military said on Friday it was carrying out “targeted airstrikes” backed by airstrikes against Hamas militants in the Shujaiya area.
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA estimated that “about 60,000 to 80,000 people” have been displaced from the area this week.
AFPTV footage on Saturday showed men moving items on a donkey cart. Some people were pushed in wheelchairs. Children walked with backpacks past piles of dusty debris.
“I saw a tank in front of the Shuhada mosque firing” at targets, Abdelkareem Al-Mamluk said. “There were martyrs on the street.”
Hamas and the armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said on Friday they were fighting in Shujaiya.
Elsewhere in the coastal territory, the Civil Defense Agency said on Saturday that four bodies had been pulled from an apartment in the central area after an Israeli strike.
Further south, in the Rafah area, witnesses reported dead and wounded after a new incursion by Israeli troops.
Tarek Qandeel, director of the Al-Maghazi health center in central Gaza, said the facility was severely damaged in the bombing of a neighboring house, making it the latest medical facility in Gaza to be affected by the war.
Citing Gaza’s health ministry, the United Nations said in a report on Friday that “about 70 percent of the health infrastructure has been destroyed.”
Separately, UN spokeswoman Louise Wateridge said via video that she had just returned to central Gaza after four weeks away from the territory.
“It’s really unbearable,” she said, describing the “significantly worse” situation.
“There is no water, there is no sanitation, there is no food,” and people are returning to live in “empty shells” of buildings.
In the absence of bathrooms, “they relieve themselves wherever they can,” Wateridge said.
The UN says most of Gaza’s population has been displaced, but the war’s aftermath has also uprooted people on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanese border, where Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and Israeli forces have engaged in near-daily firefights.
Such exchanges have escalated this month, along with belligerent rhetoric from both sides.
The Israeli military said plans for a Lebanese offensive had been “approved and confirmed,” prompting Hezbollah to respond that no one from Israel would be spared in a full-blown conflict.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York said in a social media post on Saturday that it “considers psychological warfare” over Israeli threats to “attack” Lebanon.
But he added that such a move would lead to a “wipe-out” war that could include “all resistance fronts,” a reference to Iranian-backed groups in the region.
Among them are Yemen’s Houthi militants, who have been targeting international shipping in the Red Sea for months. The Houthis say they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians.
On Friday, the Houthis claimed a “direct hit” on a tanker in the Red Sea, but the Maritime Security Agency, run by Britain’s Royal Navy, reported no damage.
The US Navy has retaliated against Houthi targets for such attacks, and on Friday the US military said its forces had destroyed seven drones and a control station vehicle in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen over the previous day.

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