Israel tanks back in areas of north Gaza they had exited

GAZA: Israeli tanks stormed back into parts of the northern Gaza Strip they had left last week, residents said Tuesday, reigniting some of the most intense fighting since the New Year when Israel announced it was scaling back its operations there.
Massive explosions could be seen over northern areas of Gaza from across the border with Israel – a rarity over the past two weeks after Israel announced a draw-down of forces in the north as part of a transition to smaller, targeted operations.The rattle of intense gunfire carried across the border through the night. In the morning, contrails snaked through the sky as Israel’s Iron Dome defences shot down rockets fired by militants across the fence, proof they retain the capability to launch them despite more than 100 days of war.
Israel said its forces had killed dozens of Hamas fighters overnight in clashes in Beit Lahiya on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip. Gaza health authorities said the last 24 hours of Israeli bombing had killed 158 people in the enclave, raising their toll for the war, now in its fourth month, to 24,285.
Under pressure from Washington to reduce civilian casualties, Israel had said it was shifting tactics. It began that shift with a pullback in the north, where its forces had begun their ground offensive in October. On Monday, defence minister Yoav Gallant also said the more recent ground assault in the south was drawing to a close. But any path toward de-escalating still seems remote, with Israel saying it will not halt until Hamas is destroyed.
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