Concerns grow over escalating attacks as Israel urges evacuation of Gaza City

Israeli forces are urging Gaza City residents to evacuate, raising concerns that the fighting may intensify and cause more casualties.

The Israeli military announced on Wednesday that its troops had conducted an operation against the Islamic group Hamas, who they accused of operating inside UNRWA's headquarters in Gaza City. UNRWA is the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli forces claimed they had put Gaza City under their control but said on social media that the city remains a dangerous combat zone. They urged civilians to evacuate through the defined safe corridors.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said that two-thirds of the UNRWA schools in Gaza have been hit since the fighting began last October. He said schools have become overcrowded shelters and places of death and misery. He added, "The blatant disregard of international humanitarian law cannot become the new normal."

Health authorities in Gaza say the number of deaths in the enclave has risen to 38,295 since the fighting began.

Israel's Defense Ministry said its minister, Yoav Gallant, met with US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk to discuss the challenges that remain for the return of hostages.

There are reports that the head of Israeli intelligence and the director of the CIA are expected to hold talks in Qatar on negotiations for a ceasefire and the return of hostages.