GAZA/OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Armoured Israeli forces attacked Gaza’s key northern city from two sides on Monday and targeted the main road linking it to the south of the enclave, witnesses said, widening an offensive that led to more international appeals for Gaza civilians to be protected.

Israel’s military said it had struck more than 600 targets over the past few days as it widened ground operations in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian civilians are in dire need of fuel, food and clean water as the war enters its fourth week.

Group said they had repelled an attempted thrust by Israeli tanks into Gaza City from the east and were fighting them along the border with Israel in north Gaza.

“Our duty today is fight and fight,” the group, fighting alongside Gaza’s ruling Hamas, said in a statement, adding that now was not the time for a ceasefire.

The Israeli military said it had killed four prominent Hamas operatives. “IDF troops killed dozens of terrorists who barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels, and attempted to attack the troops,” it said in an update. Neither side commented on the other’s reports.

Israel renewed warnings for civilians to move from the north of the tiny, densely populated enclave to the south as it began an advance into Gaza late on Friday to pursue Hamas it says are hiding in a labyrinth of tunnels under Gaza City.

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