Civilians trapped by fighting in Gaza's south, Hague decision looms

Concern grew on Friday for civilians trapped by fighting around Khan Yunis in Gaza's south, with the top U.N. court set to rule in a case against Israel over alleged genocidal acts in its campaign against Hamas.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague could order Israel to halt its military action in Gaza, launched in retaliation for Hamas's unprecedented attacks on Oct. 7, although it has little power to enforce its rulings.

A growing chorus of international voices has expressed concern for the civilian population of Khan Yunis, the main city in Gaza's south, and elsewhere in the territory.

Further north on the outskirts of Gaza City, the Hamas-run health ministry said on Thursday that 20 people were killed and another 150 wounded while they waited for humanitarian aid to be distributed.

"People were going to get food and flour as they had nothing to eat," Abu Ata Basal, the uncle of one of the wounded, told AFP.

"Suddenly, tanks appeared and started firing shells at the people, who were cut into pieces."

Bodies were seen lying on the floor of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, an AFP journalist said.

Hamas said the incident amounted to a "horrific war crime", which Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said was caused by "artillery shells and missiles".

 U.N. shelter hit 

The Gaza City strike came a day after the United Nations said tanks had shelled a U.N. shelter in Khan Yunis, killing 13 people.

France called on Israel to "comply with international law" and joined the United States in condemning the Khan Yunis strike, although it did not directly identify Israel as responsible.

The Israeli military is the only force known to operate tanks in Gaza, which...

Continue reading on: