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Bombings and fighting continue in southern Gaza

Photo: Bashar Taleb Agence France-Presse The city of Rafah is in the grip of a major humanitarian crisis, like the rest of the territory of the Gaza Strip, threatened by famine.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Published at 2:10 p.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army announced the death of eight new soldiers on Saturday in the Gaza Strip, where the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has raged for more than eight months.

On the diplomatic front, hopes for a ceasefire seem to be fading due to the contradictory demands of Israel and Hamas which leave little chance of seeing the plan announced at the end of May by the president come to fruition American, Joe Biden.

While residents reported on Saturday bombings and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters in Rafah, a large city in the south and its surroundings, the he Israeli army said eight soldiers died “during operational activity in the south” of the Palestinian territory.

Asked about the circumstances of their death, the army specified that their armored vehicle had exploded in the Rafah region.

Morose Eid

The Israeli army launched a ground operation on the town of Rafah on May 7, sparking strong criticism from the international community which feared for the fate of the civilian population, massed in this town after having been largely displaced by fighting elsewhere.

Since the start of the ground operation in the rest of the Gaza Strip on October 27, 306 Israeli soldiers were killed — including eight soldiers who died this Saturday, one of the worst tolls for the Israeli army in a single day.

AFPTV images on Saturday show deserted streets in Rafah, a city in the grip of a major humanitarian crisis, as in the rest of the territory. Famine threatens the Gaza Strip where 75% of the approximately 2.4 million inhabitants have been displaced by the war, according to the UN.

While elsewhere around the world, Muslims are preparing to celebrate Eid al-Adha, the major Muslim holiday, from Sunday, Palestinians in Gaza deplore the multiple shortages of basic necessities in the besieged territory.

“In previous years [for Eid], we prepared sweets, new clothes for the children, or bought […] meat, fish and other foods delicious,” recalls bitterly Asmaa al-Masri, a resident of Jabaliya (north) who was displaced to Beit Hanoun, a neighboring town.

The war was sparked on October 7 by the attack launched by Hamas from Gaza in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count compiled from official Israeli data. Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the army.

In retaliation, the Israeli army launched an offensive large-scale attack in Gaza which left 37,296 dead, mostly civilians, according to data on Saturday from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

En on the sidelines of the G7 summit which ends on Saturday in Italy, Mr. Biden criticized Hamas for blocking the ceasefire offer on the table.

Violence in the north

“I submitted a proposal approved by the Security Council, by the G7, by the Israelis, and the main obstacle at this point is Hamas refusing to sign, even though they proposed something similar,” he said. declared Thursday Mr. Biden.

The truce plan announced on May 31 by the President of the United States, Israel's main ally, provides in a first phase, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of some hostages held in Gaza and the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

Mr. Biden presented this plan as coming from Israel. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deemed it incomplete, reaffirming his government's determination to continue the war until Hamas is defeated and all hostages are released.

The only truce concluded so far, at the end of November, lasted a week and allowed the release of 105 hostages, including 80 Israelis and dual nationals, exchanged for 240 Palestinians detained by Israel.

Hamas sent the mediating countries — Qatar, Egypt and the United States — a first response, which according to a source close to the discussions, contains “amendments” to the plan, including “a timetable for a ceasefire.” permanent fire and the total withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza”. Demands that Israel has always rejected.

Fears of an extension of the conflict beyond the Gaza Strip have increased in recent days. The Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, indicated that its intense strikes since Wednesday on Israeli territory were a response to the assassination by Israel of one of its commanders.

< p>Again on Saturday, the belligerents exchanged new fire on the border, with a Palestinian movement reporting a death in its ranks in an Israeli strike.

During new Middle East tour this week to promote ceasefire plan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says 'the best way' to help resolve violence between Hezbollah and Israel was “to resolve the conflict in Gaza and achieve a ceasefire.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116