Twenty-nine Palestinians were killed by an Israeli strike that hit tents housing displaced families outside a school in the town of Abassan east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Tuesday, the director of the Hamas-run Gaza government media office said.

Across Gaza, more than 40 Palestinians were killed Tuesday in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City in the north, Al-Bureij, Deir Al-Balah and Al-Nuseirat in central Gaza and in Rafah in the south, according to medics.

Palestinians fled as tanks thrust deeper into Gaza City as Israel stepped up an offensive that resistance movement Hamas said could jeopardise ceasefire talks.

Footage circulated on social media showed families packed onto donkey carts and in the backs of trucks piled with mattresses and other belongings making their way through Gaza City's streets to flee areas under Israeli evacuation orders.

"Gaza City is being wiped out, this is what is happening. Israel is forcing us to leave homes under fire," Um Tamer, a mother of seven, said.

Israeli tanks pushed deeper into several city districts including Shejaia, Sabra and Tel Al-Hawa, where residents have reported some of the most fierce fighting in months.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said all of its medical clinics were out of service in Gaza City due to Israeli evacuation orders that have driven thousands of people westward towards the Mediterranean and to the south.

The UN Human Rights Office said it was "appalled" at the way civilians, many of whom have been displaced multiple times, have been ordered to head to areas where "military operations are ongoing and where civilians continue to be killed and injured".

Gaza City residents have now been told to move south to Deir al-Balah, which the UN office said "is already seriously overcrowded" with displaced Palestinians.

Nine months of war and displacement have caused a hunger crisis, and the recent deaths of several more children from malnutrition in the Gaza Strip indicate that famine has spread throughout the coastal enclave, a group of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations.

In Al-Nuseirat in central Gaza, an Israeli airstrike early Tuesday on a house of several storeys killed 17 people, including 14 children and a woman, Hamas' media office said.

The total Palestinian death toll in the nine-month-long Israeli military offensive has now reached 38,243, Gaza health officials said in their latest update.

© Gulf Times Newspaper 2022 Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (