They Returned to Northern Gaza, Only to Be Ordered to Evacuate Again

“We were hearing explosions from every direction,” said Mohammad al-Bahrawi, 65, who had returned with his family to their home in Shajaiye months ago. He said “a torrent” of people were sent running.

“I couldn’t even believe that this many people were still in Shajaiye,” Mr. al-Bahrawi said.

The Israeli military said that it could not immediately comment on the strikes. Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan, reported that the military was conducting a ground operation to root out Hamas based on intelligence that the armed group had begun to resume control of the neighborhood.

The operation, if confirmed, would be part of a larger pattern of a war in which Israel has struggled to achieve its stated objective: wiping out Hamas, which organized and led the Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli territory that set off the war in Gaza.

Israeli forces have repeatedly found themselves returning to parts of Gaza that they had previously left, especially in the north, as Hamas regroups amid the anarchy of the nine-month war. The fighting has flared even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks of a new, less intense phase.

Within Israel and globally, frustration is growing over what critics say is Mr. Netanyahu’s failure to put forward a plan for how Gaza should be governed should Hamas be defeated.

Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, said that the key to defeating a counterinsurgency was known by the shorthand “clear, hold, build.”

The Israelis have “thought about Day 1 — kill the bad guys — but have not focused on the next steps,” Mr. Byman said. “That was inexcusable even in October and November. There is less and less excuse now.”

The Gazan health authorities said on Thursday that 15 people had been killed and dozens injured in Shajaiye. Civil Defense, the Palestinian emergency service, said that five homes had been struck in Shajaiye and another neighborhood, and that a search was underway for missing people. The toll could not be independently verified.

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