Israeli attack on Khan Younis kills 26, mostly children, after warning in leaflets

Bombardment follows leaflet drop over eastern areas of the city in Gaza

Palestinians injured in air strikes arrive at Nasser Medical Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Saturday. Getty
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

About 26 Palestinians, mostly children, were killed in an Israeli strike of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Saturday morning, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Israel had earlier dropped leaflets on Khan Younis asking residents and those who had moved to the south to evacuate and move to shelters.

There was no mention of the location of these shelters.

The leaflet translates as: “To residents of eastern neighbourhoods in Khan Younis. For your safety, you have to evacuate your place of residence immediately and head to known shelters. All those located near terrorists or their infrastructure are placing their lives in danger. And each house being used by terrorists will be targeted.”

It suggested military operations in the city were imminent and would compel hundreds of thousands of Gazans to relocate, along with residents of Khan Younis, a city of more than 400,000 people.

On Friday, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said residents would be warned to leave.

“We're asking people to relocate,” said Mark Regev on Friday. “I know it's not easy for many of them, but we don't want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire.”

Thousands of Palestinians have already fled south from Gaza city to escape bombardment by Israel's military. More than 11,400 Palestinians – two-thirds of them women and children – have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health authorities. About 2,700 people are reported missing.

On Monday, several Palestinians were killed and others injured in an attack on Tal Al Zater school in Biet Lahya, north of the Gaza Strip, witnesses told The National.

The Gaza health ministry said around 40 patients were killed – among them four newborn babies – inside Al Shifa Hospital. The hospital is currently housing from 7,000 to 10,000 people. The ministry said there is enough food for just 400 people.

Clashes continued in the Sabra and Zaytoon neighbourhoods, south and east of Gaza city, with heavy shelling around the Indonesian Hospital north of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has vowed to wipe out the Hamas militant group that controls the Gaza Strip following an October 7 rampage into Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw militants take 240 hostages.

Following the attack, Israel has bombed much of Gaza city, ordered the depopulation of the entire northern half of the enclave and left about two thirds of the strip's 2.3 million Palestinians homeless.

Many of those who have fled fear their displacement could become permanent.

Updated: November 18, 2023, 7:57 AM