Flares, blasts in northern Gaza as Israel advances in south

Flares were seen falling in Gaza and smoke and sounds of explosions were heard on Thursday morning as Israeli troops pressed on with their offensive in the south of the embattled Palestinian enclave.

Hundreds of thousands of people made homeless in north Gaza during the war were desperately seeking shelter in the diminishing number of places in the south designated as safe by Israel.

Israeli warplanes on Wednesday bombed targets across the densely populated coastal strip in one of the heaviest phases of the two-month-old war.

Israel’s military said it advanced into the heart of southern Gaza’s largest city, Khan Younis, for the first time. Hamas’ armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, said combat was fierce.