Israel and Hamas at war, day 172 | Hamas calls for halt to aid drops after deadly accidents

Eighteen Palestinians died, including twelve drowned at sea, while trying to recover food parachuted into the Gaza Strip threatened by famine, Hamas announced on Tuesday, calling for an end to these humanitarian airdrops and opening land access.

In the sixth month of the conflict triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas against Israel on October 7, the Hamas Ministry of Health reported more than 80 deaths in Israeli airstrikes in the last 24 hours in the Palestinian territory. besieged and devastated.

Despite Monday’s vote on a UN Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate” ceasefire, the war still rages in the narrow strip of land controlled by Hamas since 2007.

“We heard a huge explosion. The rubble fell on us (…) There were 22 or 23 martyrs,” said Houssam Qazaat, a displaced person, amid the destruction in the town of Rafah, in the south of the territory.

A new sign of a desperate humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, where most of the 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine according to the UN, the Hamas Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday the deaths of eighteen people, including twelve drowned at sea “in the last few hours”.

In addition to the drowned people, six died in stampedes also linked to the arrival of aid by parachute.

Shortly after the announcement of this assessment, Hamas called for an end to airdrops and to open land access to humanitarian aid, strictly controlled by Israel. It is this situation that pushed foreign governments, including the United Kingdom, France and the United States, to opt for airdropping food parcels into Gaza.

In a press release, he said he had “always warned countries conducting airdrop operations of the danger”, in particular “because part of this aid falls into the sea”.

Israel furious

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an unprecedented attack in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP count established from official data.

According to Israel, around 250 people have been kidnapped and 130 of them are still hostages in Gaza, of whom 33 are believed to have died.

Israel has sworn to destroy Hamas and has since led a major offensive in the Gaza Strip which has so far left 32,414 dead, mostly civilians, according to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.

On Monday, and for the first time since the start of the war, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire, with 14 votes in favor and one abstention, that of the United States which had until now blocked three resolution texts mentioning a “ceasefire”.

Failure to implement this resolution would be “unforgivable”, warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Furious with the United States, Israel canceled an expected delegation’s visit to Washington, saying the American abstention was “harming” both its war effort and its efforts to free the hostages.

“We do not have the moral right to stop the war as long as there are hostages in Gaza,” declared Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, visiting the United States, insisting on the need to “defeat » Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Hamas welcomed the call for a ceasefire and also accused Israel of having caused the “failure” of the talks in Doha involving international mediators – Qatar, Egypt, United States – for a truce accompanied by a release of the hostages.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, rejected responsibility for the blockage, accusing Hamas of having reiterated “extreme demands”.

Qatar, however, stressed on Tuesday that talks were continuing in Doha.

Operations in three hospitals

Despite the fears of the international community, Mr. Netanyahu says he is determined to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah, a city of nearly a million and a half people, according to the UN, the majority displaced by the war, but who Israel presents itself as the “last bastion” of Hamas in Gaza.

While less than a third of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip are operational, and only partially, according to the UN, three hospitals, where Hamas members are hiding according to Israel, are targeted by army operations .

In and around the al-Chifa hospital complex in Gaza (north), more than 170 Palestinian fighters have been killed since March 18, according to the army. In Khan Younes (south), soldiers surround the al-Nasser hospital according to Hamas and others operate around al-Amal hospital.

The humanitarian situation is particularly catastrophic in the north of the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel since October 9 and already subject to a total Israeli blockade since 2007.

In Jabaliya, residents, many of them women and children, queue daily to fill water containers which they carry in wheelbarrows, carts or in their arms and wait to receive the food at distribution points .

Israel strictly controls the land entry of aid which arrives in dribs and drabs from Egypt. This prompted foreign governments to airdrop food packages onto Gaza.

“People die for a can of tuna,” said Mohamad Al-Sabaawi, a resident of Gaza, brandishing the only can of tuna he was able to collect at the camera.

Not far away, another man says he is risking his life for a can of beans “which will be shared with 18 people”.


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