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Israel, which said over the weekend it had successfully dismantled a Hamas military structure in the north of the Gaza Strip, said it was taking a different tactical approach in the south, where people seeking safety fear how the war could end. coming months.

The military works differently in central and southern Gaza, said Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Saturday that most of the population of about 2.2 million people are congregating there, including more than a million evacuees from the north. But he did not elaborate on what specifically would be changed, saying the change was based on lessons “learned from the fighting so far”.

In the northern part of the area, where Israel launched a ground offensive in late October, the army “completed the elimination of Hamas' military structure,” Admiral Hagari said. War even after their command structure was destroyed.

He also said that the fight will continue throughout the year 2024.

Gabi Siboni, a colonel in the army reserves and a fellow at the conservative-leaning Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said Hamas maintains infrastructure above and below the ground in the north, “so it's still a war zone.” Despite the Israeli military's achievements, he said, Hamas was a “tough and determined enemy” that had armed itself and “built underground fortresses” over the years.

“It will take time to get rid of it completely,” said Mr. Ciboni said the fighting in the south is complicated by the population density there and should continue until 2025.

The Israeli military's suggestion that the fighting in Gaza would continue throughout the coming year further alarmed Gazans who had already suffered heavy losses in the first three months of the war – family, friends, neighbors, homes, jobs, schools and even. In cases, the ability to feed themselves.

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“We as unarmed people who have nothing to do with the resistance or carrying weapons face great danger,” said Youssef, 32, from Gaza City, who has been displaced twice as he tried to flee the fighting.

Although the Israeli military successfully ordered many Gazans in the north to flee further south in the earlier stages of the war — exactly how many are not known — people in central and southern Gaza have nowhere to go. The city of Rafah, on Gaza's southern border with Egypt, expanded dramatically.

According to the United Nations, more than a million people have already been squeezed into Rafah's territory. And people can't go back to the north: apart from repeated episodes of fighting in northern Gaza, that part of the territory is largely in ruins.

A camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza last week. People in central and southern Gaza have nowhere to go, except to crowd further into the sprawling city.debt…Saleh Salem/Reuters

The United Nations estimated at the end of December that some 65,000 homes had been destroyed across Gaza and nearly 300,000 were still damaged, meaning more than half a million people had no home to return to.

It said that because Gaza's infrastructure is so badly damaged and munitions left over from the war are returning, many people who still have habitable homes will not immediately be able to live in them.

Meanwhile, Gaza's displaced are increasingly short of food, water and warm clothing and shelter for cold weather. According to aid groups, about half of Gazans are at risk of starvation.

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“There are children, no food or clothes, especially because it's winter,” Youssef said. “If we're talking about suffering, I'll need a lot of time to explain it.”

He added: “We have the right to return to our homes, to see our children, to have food, water and drink, to be safe.”

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