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Breakout of fever between Israel and Iran, war rages in Gaza

Photo: Agence France-Presse Passersby observe the car in which the three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were reportedly killed by an Israeli strike on the al-Shati camp in western Gaza City.

Belal al Sabbagh – Agence France-Presse and Chloé Rouveyrolles-Bazire – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem

10:44 a.m.

  • Middle East

Threats of retaliation from Iran against Israel again raised tensions in the Middle East on Thursday, prompting calls for restraint amid progress toward a truce in the Strip of Gaza are waiting.

Israeli bombings left 63 dead in 24 hours, according to the Hamas Health Ministry, in the Palestinian territory besieged by Israel and devastated by more than six months of war.

While the mediating countries await responses from Israel and Hamas to their latest truce proposal, the war in the Gaza Strip is causing a new outbreak of fever in the region.

Iran “is threatening to launch a significant attack against Israel,” US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday. He assured his ally of his “unwavering” support, despite tensions between the two countries over the conduct of the Israeli offensive against Hamas, and urged the Palestinian Islamist movement to “move forward” on the truce offer.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose country, an enemy of Israel, supports Hamas, assured Wednesday that Israel would be “punished” after a deadly attack attributed to it April 1 in Syria.

This strike destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus and left 16 dead, including seven members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, according to an NGO.

“If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded in Persian.

Russia, for its part, on Thursday called on Iran and Israel to show “restraint” to avoid “destabilization” in the Middle East.

The head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, also called for “restraint” in order to avoid “further regional escalation”.

Since the start of the war in Gaza more than six months ago, tensions have increased between Iran, Israel and their respective allies.

Pro-Iranian groups from Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen carry out attacks against Israeli and American targets to support Hamas. Israel, for its part, has intensified its strikes against Syrian army positions but especially against pro-Iranian groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iranian military targets in Syria.

“We are in the middle of a war in Gaza, which continues at full speed […] but we are also preparing to face challenges in other theaters,” the Israeli Prime Minister declared on Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu. “We are ready for defense and attack,” he assured.

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“Panic among the children”

War broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented attack in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to a report established by AFP based on official Israeli data.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain detained in Gaza, including 34 dead, according to Israeli officials.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union. His army launched an offensive that has so far killed 33,545 people in Gaza, most of them civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

On Thursday, the Israeli army announced that it had carried out “a precision operation in the center of the Gaza Strip” overnight, “in order to eliminate terrorist agents.”

“The situation is disastrous and getting worse, the bombings have not stopped and continue,” Imad Abu Shawish, a 39-year-old man, told AFP in the Nousseirat sector, in the center of the territory.

“We hear the sound of missiles falling near us before exploding, causing panic among children and other family members,” he added.

The latest proposal put forward by Qatar, the United States and Egypt initially provides for a six-week truce as well as the release of 42 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians incarcerated by Israel, the entry of 400 to 500 humanitarian aid trucks every day into the Gaza Strip and the return home of residents of the north of the territory displaced by the war, according to a Hamas source.

Mediation efforts have so far failed to reach a compromise. On Thursday, Israel accused Hamas of “turning its back” on a “very reasonable offer.”

“Clear requirements”

Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh said Wednesday that the death of three of his sons in an Israeli strike in Gaza would not make the Islamist movement, in power in the territory since 2007, waver in its demands vis-à-vis 'Israel.

“Our demands are clear and we will not give up on them. If the enemy believes that targeting my sons at the height of negotiations and before Hamas gives its response, will push the movement to change its position, he is wrong,” Doha-based Haniyeh told the channel. from Qatar Al-Jazeera.

Hamas demands, before any agreement, a definitive ceasefire, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a significant increase in humanitarian aid, a return of the displaced and a “serious” agreement to exchange Palestinian hostages and prisoners.

Benjamin Netanyahu continues to repeat that the war will continue until victory over Hamas and the release of all hostages. He maintains his plan for a ground offensive on the town of Rafah, bordering Egypt at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, which he considers to be the last great bastion of Hamas.

This project arouses opposition from many foreign capitals, starting with Washington, which fear heavy civilian losses in the city which has become a shelter for a million and a half people, according to the UN, the majority displaced people who fled the war further north.

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