Israel and Hamas at war, day 101 | UN chief calls for ‘humanitarian ceasefire’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, where the “intensive” phase of the war against Hamas “will soon end” in the south of the Palestinian territory, announced Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.




One of the four Israeli divisions engaged in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive on November 27 withdrew in the evening, the army said.

“We clearly said that the intensive stage of operations would last approximately three months”, “in the south, we will achieve it and it will end soon”, declared Minister Gallant according to whom, “the moment will arrive where we will enter in the next phase” of the war in Gaza.

The Israeli cabinet previously approved an amended budget for 2024, adding $15 billion in spending to meet the cost of the war in Gaza.

Hamas, for its part, reported on Monday the death of two Israeli hostages, broadcasting a video in which we see a young woman – also a hostage and visibly under pressure – announcing the deaths. No indication of the filming date is given in the video.

PHOTO ALBERTO PIZZOLI, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Yakov Argamani, the father of hostage Noa Argamani, speaks to the media outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now unofficially called “Hostage Square,” on December 16.

“They were killed in Zionist bombings on Gaza,” the armed wing of Hamas said in a statement. The Israeli military dismissed the allegations as Hamas’ “lies”, and denounced its “brutal use of hostages of innocent people.”

“Collective punishment”

Antonio Guterres launched a new call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, necessary according to him to ensure humanitarian aid, but also “to facilitate the release of the hostages”.

“We continue to call for rapid, safe, unimpeded, extensive, and continuous humanitarian access into and through Gaza,” he told reporters, adding that “nothing can justify the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian people.” “.

PHOTO THAIER AL-SUDANI, REUTERS ARCHIVES

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

The war was sparked by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people on the Israeli side, the majority civilians killed the same day, according to a count from AFP based on official Israeli figures.

Some 250 people were then taken hostage, and 132 are still in Gaza, of whom at least 25 were killed, according to recent estimates by Israeli authorities. Around a hundred were released during a truce at the end of November.

In the Gaza Strip, more than 24,000 people were killed by Israeli bombings and military operations, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Ministry of Health of the Hamas movement, in power in Gaza.

Houthi fire against US cargo ship

In this context of violence, a woman was killed and at least 13 people injured at midday, in a car attack in Ra’anana, a suburb of Tel-Aviv, said the Israeli police, who said they had arrested two Palestinian suspects. Two young French people are among the injured, according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Off the coast of Yemen, an American cargo ship was hit on Monday in the Gulf of Aden by a missile from the Houthis, who had attacked an American destroyer the day before according to the American army.

Since the start of the war in Gaza, these Yemeni rebels, supported by Iran, have launched a campaign of attacks in the Red Sea against merchant ships believed to be linked to Israel, saying they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

The 2.4 million inhabitants of this small, overpopulated, besieged and shelled territory, 1.9 million of whom had to leave their homes according to the UN, lack everything. The cold further complicates their daily survival.

In Rafah, at the southern tip of the Palestinian territory not far from the Egyptian border, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans have flocked fleeing the fighting initially concentrated in the north, smoke and an acrid smell emanate from the fire that the family by Ismaïl Nabhane lit with firewood and plastic in front of his makeshift shelter.

“The children are constantly sick. They keep coughing and getting colds, their clothes are not thick enough to warm them,” describes his wife, Raidah Aouad.

PHOTO SALEH SALEM, REUTERS

Mysara Abu Telakh, a displaced Palestinian boy who was injured in an Israeli strike, is surrounded by other children in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, January 15.

“Famine and epidemics”

In a joint statement, UNICEF, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization warned on Monday of a “risk of famine” and “epidemics of deadly diseases”.

The war is also exacerbating tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border, where exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces are now daily.

On Sunday, the pro-Iranian Islamist movement said it had carried out six attacks on Israeli soil, including one on a village which, according to the Israeli army, killed two civilians, a mother and son.

On Monday, Iran for its part called on the United States and the United Kingdom to “immediately stop the war” against Yemen, after the strikes carried out Friday and Saturday by Washington and London against the Houthis, who did not nothing stops the attacks of the latter.

In the occupied West Bank, another area of ​​tension, three Palestinians were killed Monday in clashes with Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. More than 340 Palestinians have died in violence there since October 7, according to Palestinian authorities.

PHOTO MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA, REUTERS

Mohammed Abu Sba’a, 22, was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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