Gaza Strip divided into North and South, Israeli military says

Health authorities in the Gaza Strip say the number of people killed in the ongoing conflict has surpassed 10,000. This comes as Israel's military steps up its offensive against Hamas.

Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari on Monday said, "We have encircled Gaza City, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip into the north and south."

Israeli forces also said on Monday that they had struck 450 targets overnight and took over a Hamas compound. They said they are targeting Hamas strongholds, including tunnels and observation posts.

The Palestinian Islamic group Hamas is expected to rely on the vast network of underground tunnels in the fighting.

Casualties on both sides are expected to rise. Since the conflict began one month ago, more than 10,000 people have been killed inside Gaza -- and at least 1,400 on the Israeli side.

Israeli bombardments have continued across the enclave. Its military insists Hamas is using Gaza residents as human shields.

Hagari on Sunday said that Hamas is hiding behind hospitals. He said, "Hamas is sickly exploiting hospitals to disguise its war machine."

It also claims Hamas militants have set up rocket launchers inside residential areas, something which Hamas denies.

One Israeli soldier said, "That launch pad can fire four rockets towards Israel. It's just 5 meters away from a swimming pool for children. And only 20 to 30 meters from a house."

A Japanese legal expert Banzai Hiroyuki says civilians should be protected, in accordance with international law.

He says, "We should watch closely to see if the Israeli military is doing all it can to distinguish between civilians and fighters. I suspect the way Israel is conducting attacks now do not meet the requirements of international humanitarian law."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is calling for a humanitarian pause in the fighting.

Israel has so far rejected suggestions of a broader ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that there will be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages.

More than 200 people are still being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.