Israel urges Gaza residents to head south as scores killed at refugee camp

Israel has again urged people in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to move south for their safety, as the number of civilian victims is rising as Israeli forces intensify their offensive against Hamas.

The Israeli military announced on Sunday that it had struck more than 2,500 Hamas targets since it began its ground operations encircling Gaza City.

Footage released on Sunday shows many soldiers and tanks deployed and ongoing fighting in the city.

Hamas said on Sunday that its fighters attacked Israeli troops east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, and destroyed two tanks.

Arab media have reported that Israel's airstrikes hit the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Saturday night. Media outlets such as Al Jazeera cited local health authorities as saying more than 40 people were killed. Footage shows a site entirely covered with debris and many people rescuing survivors.

The Israeli military announced for the second consecutive day that Salah al-Din Street, a thoroughfare running north to south through the strip, will be available as a humanitarian route. It will be open for residents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The measure is seen as Israel's demonstration of its efforts to reduce the number of civilian victims. But observers are uncertain how many residents will actually use the opportunity, with the road open only for four hours.

Israel has also condemned Hamas for disturbing the evacuation efforts on Saturday by shelling Israeli troops who were working to secure the route.

Health authorities in Gaza say 9,488 people, including 3,900 children, have been killed since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began last month.

On the Israeli side, the death toll is at least 1,400, and more than 240 Israeli and foreign nationals are being held as hostages in Gaza.