‘There is nothing left here’: Palestinians return to Khan Younis torn apart by Israeli forces

Israeli troops withdrew from south Gaza on Sunday

Palestinians return to Khan Younis Palestinians walk through the destruction in the wake of an Israeli air and ground offensive in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip | AP

A day after the Israeli troops withdrew from the south Gaza, Palestinians returned to their cities only to find it in ruins. Widespread destruction, bodies under the rubble and blood stench were described by those who returned to Khan Younis. 

The retreat of Israel's 98th division from southern Gaza leaves only two Israeli brigades inside Gaza tasked with the duty of maintaining the border separating the northern and southern parts of the enclave. 

 Southern Gaza's main hospital, Nasser, was destroyed along with several other multi-storey buildings in the region. “Many areas, especially the city centre, have become unfit for life,” Mahmoud Abdel-Ghani, who fled Khan Younis in December when the Israeli troops invaded the city, was quoted by The Guardian. 

People say that the city has become inhabitable to both humans and animals. "There is nothing left there," said a Khan Yunis resident, who returned after the troops withdrew. 

With the unexpected withdrawal of the troops from south Gaza, questions were raised about Israel's next move in its mission to 'eliminate' Hamas. The IDF has stressed that their ultimate motive is to 'wipe out' Hamas and the battle is not over yet. Experts raised concern as to whether Israel's focus shifted to Hamas' stronghold Rafah, where Israeli preparation for the evacuation of around 1.4 million Palestinians has reached nowhere. 

“The war in Gaza continues, and we are far from stopping. Senior Hamas officials are still in hiding. We will get to them sooner or later. We are making progress, continuing to kill more terrorists and commanders and destroy more terror infrastructures, including last night," said Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, Gen Herzi Halevi. 

Meanwhile, there has been no new truce deal from the Israel-Hamas talks in Cairo on Sunday. The White House security advisor John Kirby said that a proposal was submitted to Hamas and now "it's going to be up to Hamas to come through." 

Kirby also added that Hamas is reviewing the proposal that includes the Gaza ceasefire for around six weeks. 

On the other side, Nicaragua has urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to halt Germany's arms sales to Israel saying that the weapons supply could make the country "complicit" in alleged genocide in Gaza. 

Germany is accused of breaching the UN genocide convention by sending military hardware to Israel and ceasing funding of the UN's aid agency. 

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