Israeli snipers, tanks, drones positioned to fire on any signs of life in Khan Younis – Day 109

Israeli snipers, tanks, drones positioned to fire on any signs of life in Khan Younis – Day 109

Khan Younis in south the site of intense fighting, peril; info on US teen Tawfiq Ajaq killed by Israel; starvation; Israelis in US to buy weapons; 24 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza; West Bank death; Israeli settlements in Gaza?; Houthi update; US Supreme Court dismisses case against Palestine advocacy organization

By IAK staff, from reports

Middle East Eye reports on the dire situation in Khan Younis: With Israeli snipers and tanks positioned to fire on any signs of life, Palestinians across Khan Younis are under siege with nowhere to go…

Ambulances have been unable to reach the wounded across Khan Younis, after the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent (PCRS) was surrounded by Israel’s military. Israeli drones shot at anyone moving near al-Amal hospital, the PCRS said on Tuesday…

For several days, Palestinians in Khan Younis have raised alarm bells about Israeli tanks closing in on Nasser Hospital – the largest functional medical facility in Gaza. They fear it will suffer the same fate as al-Shifa hospital in the north, which effectively shut down after a sustained Israeli siege in mid-November last year.

A doctor at Nasser Hospital described the chaotic scenes in the vicinity of the complex.

“We have got news today from the Israeli army to evacuate block number 107. This block actually contains schools, hospitals and houses…People actually were trying to evacuate this block but they couldn’t. All above and around me, explosions and gunshot can be heard, and are being fired over our heads.”

Dina, 36, was told to evacuate block 107 with 23 members of her family. “They lie to us. They just change the place where they intend to kill us…We are experiencing hunger, pain, and cold, and the world is just watching. Where should we go?” she said.

The New Arab adds: The Israeli army has fired directly at a hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis, where civilians are caught amid heavy fighting…Israeli tanks were “firing heavily on the upper floors of the specialized surgery building and the emergency building of Nasser hospital, dozens expected wounded”, a ministry statement said.

From OCHA: In Khan Younis, Israeli forces hit a warehouse, killing 2 and cutting off access to humanitarian supplies and critical water and sanitation equipment; heavy bombardment near a distribution center where families go to receive aid; latest evacuation orders: an area that hosts 500,000 people, mostly already displaced.



While most US news media ignored Israel’s killing of American 17-year-old Tawfiq Ajaq, shot dead by Israeli forces on Jan. 19 in the West Bank, News Nation interviewed family members:

“Tawfiq Ajaq was a free spirit who enjoyed the outdoors and hanging with friends.”

“Bright kid, had a lot of dreams, would joke, laugh make fun of me, his mom, his brothers. He loves the woods, he loves to be out and about. … He just likes to be out with friends and just be free,” his father said.

“Ajaq’s relative, Joe Abdel Qaki, said that Ajaq and a friend were having a barbecue in a village field when he was shot by Israeli fire, once in the head and once in the chest.”

He said Israeli forces briefly detained him and other Palestinians at the scene, asking for their IDs before the men could get to Ajaq.

The boy’s father implored Americans to “see with their own eyes” the ongoing violence in the West Bank.

“The American society does not know the true story,” he said. “Come here on the ground and see what’s going on. … How many fathers and mothers have to say goodbye to their children? How many more?”

On Monday, he called out the Biden administration for continuing to provide military support to Israel.

The medical group Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) says that several blocks in Khan Younis, including those where Nasser Hospital is located, have received orders to evacuate.

“MSF staff members can hear bombs and heavy gunfire close to Nasser,” the group said in a social media post on Tuesday.

“They are currently unable to evacuate along with the thousands of people in the hospital, including 850 patients, due to roads to and from the building being either inaccessible or too dangerous.”

Hamas reportedly called on the UN, Red Cross and World Health Organization to step in “immediately” and “shoulder their responsibilities” to stop Israel’s attacks on Gaza’s hospitals, saying that the Nasser and El Amal hospitals in Khan Younis are being directly targeted with Israeli drone fire and bombardment, endangering the lives of patients, medics, and thousands of displaced people taking shelter in the medical centers.

“The deliberate and ongoing targeting of hospitals is a war crime unfolding in front of the eyes and ears of the entire world, and it comes in the context of Israel’s genocidal war against our people in the Gaza Strip, with the full support of the American administration,” the group said in a statement.

Targeting hospitals is a war crime.

Palestinian children wait to receive food cooked by a charity kitchen amid shortages of food supplies in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 16, 2024
Palestinian children wait to receive food cooked by a charity kitchen amid shortages of food supplies in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 16, 2024 (photos)

Al Jazeera reports: The speed at which “starvation” has been brought about among Gaza’s population is “unprecedented”, according to Alex De Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the US.

“I’ve been studying this for 40 years and I’ve never seen a population reduced [to this level of hunger] with the same speed and rigor and ruthlessness,” De Waal told Al Jazeera.

“An entire population being reduced to this stage is really unprecedented. We haven’t seen it in Ethiopia, in Sudan and Yemen – pretty much anywhere else in the world,” he said.

De Waal said that while all famines are political acts, he described the current food crisis in Gaza as a “military act” by Israel that amounts to the “war crime of starvation”.

“[The destruction of] food, medicine, water and sanitation is being done on a scale that I don’t think we have witnessed anywhere else in the contemporary world,” he added.

More information is here.

Middle East Monitor reports: Israel’s Kan TV declared on Monday, “A high-level Israeli security delegation arrived this afternoon [Monday] in the United States to attend meetings with officials in the American army and the American military and defense industries…to push for immediate purchase deals to continue the fighting [in Gaza], and to prevent a shortage of ammunition and weapons.”

According to the same source, the Israeli delegation is seeking to reach a major deal that “includes supplying Israel with thousands of ammunitions for warplanes, with missiles and bombs, as well as tank and artillery shells, armored vehicles, and additional military equipment that will allow the Israeli army to continue the war in Gaza, and a possible war in Lebanon.”

RECOMMENDED READING: Against every instinct: How doctors in Gaza persevere amid Israel attacks

Al Jazeera reports on a speech that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki gave to the UN Security Council: 

The faith of the perpetrators is irrelevant. The faith of the victims is irrelevant. What matters only are the countless innocent lives destroyed and the violent shattering of the laws enacted post-World War II to preserve humanity. [Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is driven by] his own political survival at the expense of the survival of millions of Palestinians under Israel’s illegal occupation and peace and security for all.

Norway’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Motzfeldt Kravik reiterated his country’s support for the two-state solution after meeting with Jordanian officials Tuesday.

Associated Press reports: Palestinian militants carried out the deadliest single attack on Israeli forces in Gaza since the Hamas raid that triggered the war, killing 21 soldiers, the military said Tuesday, a significant setback that could add to mounting calls for a cease-fire. 3 more soldiers were killed in a separate incident.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned the Israeli soldiers, who died when the blast from a rocket-propelled grenade triggered explosives they were laying to blow up buildings. But he vowed to press ahead until “absolute victory,” including crushing Hamas and freeing more than 100 Israeli hostages still held by the militants.

Israelis are increasingly questioning whether it’s possible to achieve those war aims.

WEST BANK: WAFA reports: Israeli forces Tuesday evening shot and killed a young Palestinian man at a checkpoint east of Tulkarm, in the northern occupied West Bank.

The Ministry of Health said that the soldiers prevented ambulances from reaching the young man, who was later identified as 21-year-old Kareem Nashaat Ayesh. He died of his critical wounds shortly after.

RECOMMENDED READING: Israel’s rising use of drone strikes in the West Bank

Al Jazeera reports: Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan has again railed against calls for a ceasefire, saying that the Middle East is suffering from a “cancer” and that Israel will not accept the continued existence of Hamas.

“Shockingly, many here on the Security Council are advocating for a permanent ceasefire, while giving no thought to the implications,” Erdan said. “What do you think will happen if there is a ceasefire? I will tell you what will happen: Hamas will remain in power, they will regroup and rearm, and soon Israelis will face another attempted Holocaust.”

In reality, international law supports the efforts of resistance groups against an occupying power, even to the point of armed resistance. Hamas has clearly and. openly stated that its enemy is not the Jewish people, but the racist ideology of Zionism – the ideology under which Israel dispossessed 750,000 Palestinian people and exiled them to Gaza and other locations.

A view of the makeshift tent camp where Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip are staying, in Rafah, January 23, 2024
A view of the makeshift tent camp where Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip are staying, in Rafah, January 23, 2024 (photo)

Times of Israel reports: Two Likud ministers are promoting an upcoming conference that calls for the reestablishment of Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip as a way to boost security for Israel after the war against the people of Gaza ends.

The conference, under the heading “Only settlement will bring security,” is organized by a group of movements that want to resettle Gaza, led by Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and the Nachala Settlement Movement. It is scheduled for Sunday in Jerusalem.

In order to settle in Gaza, Israel would have to transfer Palestinians out of the Strip. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Forced transfer of a people group is a crime against humanity.

HOUTHI UPDATE: The US Department of Defense reports: U.S. and partner forces launched additional defensive strikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen yesterday…the second round of precision strikes to be carried out by the U.S. and United Kingdom with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands in response to a series of attacks launched by the [allegedly] Iran-backed group against commercial ships operating in the Red Sea.

“These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous and destabilizing Houthi actions since our coalition strikes on January 11, including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two U.S.-owned merchant vessels,” the partner nations said in a joint statement following the strikes.

The reason for the Houthi threat, which the US has yet to address, is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.

Additionally, British prime minister Rishi Sunak has told the House of Commons, “We’re going to use the most effective means at our disposal to cut off the Houthis’ financial resources, where they are used to fund these attacks. We are working closely with the United States on this and plan to announce new sanctions measures in the coming days.”

US Central Command also reported: In response to attacks by the Iranian-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah (KH), including the attack on al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq on Jan. 20, on Jan. 24 at 12:15 a.m., U.S. CENTCOM forces conducted unilateral airstrikes against three facilities used by Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq.

Palestine make history sealing their passage to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in their history.
Palestine make history sealing their passage to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in their history. (photo)

The Center for Constitutional Rights reports: Today, a U.S.-based Palestinian rights organization prevailed when the Supreme Court refused to take up a lawsuit brought by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and several U.S. citizens who live in Israel.

Citing the speech and expressive activities of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), including its support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the lawsuit had argued that the group provided “material support” for terrorism. The dismissal by the district court had been unanimously affirmed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This lawsuit is just one example of a long line of efforts to silence Palestinians for advocating for their freedom – in this case, by wielding the accusation of support for terrorism to discredit and dehumanize Palestinians for their advocacy, including their support for boycotts.

In dismissing the suit in March 2021, the lower court said the arguments were, “to say the least, not persuasive.” Advocates say the suit is part of a broader effort to criminalize and silence the political activities of supporters of Palestinian rights, a threat that has only increased as Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza intensifies.

“USCPR’s message is justice for all and an end to funding genocide. There’s no lawsuit in the world that can stop us from pushing our demands for human rights,” said Ahmad Abuznaid, Executive Director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. “We will remain focused on opposing Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people and pursuing justice and freedom for the Palestinian people.”

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘Negligence’: Columbia University students furious at administration after skunk water doused on protesters

More information on Day 109 is here.


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 23: at least 25,877* (~25,490 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 387 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 32,246 Palestinian deaths.

About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population). 

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 23: at least 67,702** (including at least 63,354 in Gaza and 4,348 in the West Bank).  

Israeli forces killed American teen Tawfiq Hafiz Ajjaq from Louisiana in the West Bank on January 19. It remains unknown how many additional Americans are among the casualties.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – January 23: ~1,139  (9 killed in West Bank, 219 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 8,730 injured, approximately 36 children).

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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