Israel and Hamas at war, day 93 | No sign of respite in Gaza

The war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas entered its fourth month on Sunday with no sign of respite, with the Israeli Air Force carrying out deadly new strikes in Gaza and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking to avoid a conflagration regional.


Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after its unprecedented attack on its territory on October 7, which killed around 1,140 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP count based on the Israeli death toll. Around 250 people were kidnapped, including around a hundred released during a truce at the end of November.

The Israeli offensive has left 22,835 dead in the besieged Gaza Strip, mainly civilians, according to a latest report from Hamas. The bombings destroyed entire neighborhoods, forced 85% of the population to flee and caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis according to the UN.

The Israeli army carried out several airstrikes throughout the night, including at least six in the town of Rafah, close to the Egyptian border, noted an AFP correspondent. According to the Hamas health minister in Gaza, at least 64 people were killed in these nighttime strikes.

Early Sunday, witnesses reported strikes in Khan Younes, the main city in southern Gaza and the new epicenter of fighting between soldiers and Hamas.

PHOTO MOHAMMED DAHMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Palestinians mourn their loved ones killed in an Israeli bombing outside a morgue in Khan Yunis on January 7.

Still according to the Hamas ministry, two Palestinian journalists, Moustafa Thuraya, a freelance videographer working with the AFP, and Hamza Waël Dahdouh, journalist for the Al-Jazeera channel, were killed on Sunday in an Israeli strike.

And in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, a raid by Israeli forces cost the lives of six Palestinians in Jenin, according to the Palestinian Authority, and two Israelis, a policewoman and a civilian, also lost their lives.

Anti-Netanyahu demonstration

On Saturday, the army, which launched its ground offensive on October 27 in the Gaza Strip, announced that it had “completed the dismantling of the Hamas military structure in the north”, specifying that it was now focusing “in the center and the south”. ” of the territory.

Classified as a “terrorist group” by the United States and the European Union, Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, two years after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from this territory, which it then subjected to a blockade for 16 years before a total siege since October 9.

Despite international pressure and calls for a ceasefire, Israel remains inflexible.

“The war must not stop until we have achieved (our objectives, Editor’s note)” which are “to eliminate Hamas, recover the hostages and ensure that Gaza is no longer a threat to Israel” , declared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening.

The same evening, Israeli demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv called for early elections and the resignation of the government.

“We have had enough!” We have had enough! » declared Shachaf Netzer, 54, to AFP on the spot. “We need new elections. We need a new government. We need a new leader. »

In this context, Antony Blinken, whose country is Israel’s leading political and military supporter, spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman, at the start of a new tour of Arab countries and Israel.

According to a statement from the royal palace, the Hashemite ruler called on the United States to pressure Israel to obtain an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza and warned of the “catastrophic repercussions” of a continuation of hostilities .

He also hammered home “Jordan’s total rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”, after several Israeli ministers advocated a return of Jewish settlers to Gaza.

“Endless cycle”

During a visit to a World Food Program center in Jordan, Mr. Blinken affirmed that it was “imperative to maximize humanitarian aid to Gaza”, both in its delivery and in its distribution to the displaced.

PHOTO EVELYN HOCKSTEIN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited a World Food Program center in Amman, Jordan, on January 7.

In a context of growing fears of an spillover of the conflict, he had called before his arrival in Jordan to avoid at all costs a conflagration in the region and to prevent “an endless cycle of violence”, emphasizing in particular the need “to work to lasting regional peace and to move towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Since October 7, there have been almost daily exchanges of fire between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Israeli-Lebanese border. In Syria and Iraq, attacks on US military bases have also increased, while the Houthis in Yemen are disrupting global maritime traffic in the Red Sea by attacking ships there in support of the Palestinians.

Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets on Saturday at a military base in northern Israel, an attack presented as its first response to the elimination, attributed to Israel, of Hamas number two Saleh al-Arouri, killed Tuesday in a strikes in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli offensive has caused the displacement of 1.9 million of the approximately 2.4 million Palestinians who lack everything, to the point that the Palestinian territory has “simply become uninhabitable”, “a place of death and despair,” according to UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Martin Griffiths.

PHOTO IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA, REUTERS

A camp for displaced people has been set up near the border with Egypt, in Rafah

On Sunday, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that it had evacuated its staff from a hospital in central Gaza.

“The situation became so dangerous that some of our team members living in the neighborhood were not even able to leave their homes due to constant threats from drones and snipers,” said Carolina Lopez, a member of MSF.

Before Mr. Blinken’s visit to a World Food Program aid warehouse near Amman, Sheri Ritsema-Anderson, the UN resident coordinator in Jordan, spoke about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, calling the situation “catastrophic.” . Unimaginable. »

She further claimed that the war in Gaza has cost the lives of more than 140 UN personnel, “the highest number of casualties in a conflict in the modern history of the United Nations.”


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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