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Deadly bombings in Gaza despite calls for ceasefire

Photo: Bashar Taleb Agence France-Presse Palestinians inspect the damage caused by an Israeli strike in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, on Monday.

France Media Agency to Rafah

Published at 7:50 a.m. Updated at 10:09 a.m.

  • Middle East

Deadly bombings targeted the Gaza Strip on Monday, where Israel continues its offensive against Hamas in the town of Rafah and says it is determined to defeat the Palestinian Islamist movement, despite calls for a ceasefire.

The United States on Sunday called on Hamas to accept an Israeli plan presented Friday by American President Joe Biden for a ceasefire after almost eight months of war .

But the contradictory demands reiterated by the two camps quickly cast doubt on the viability of this plan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his determination to continue the war until the “destruction” of Hamas, author of a bloody attack on October 7 against Israel, and the release of the hostages kidnapped that day .

The “conditions” for achieving a “permanent ceasefire” have not changed, assured Mr. Netanyahu, under very strong pressure from public opinion and his far-right allies.

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Hamas, which has not yet given its final response, said it considered the road map “positively”, but also reiterated its demands for a permanent ceasefire and a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

The Israeli army is continuing its ground offensive launched on May 7 in Rafah, a town on the border with Egypt in the south of the Palestinian territory, to destroy, according to it, the last battalions of Hamas.

On Monday, airstrikes and artillery fire targeted Rafah, mainly the Tal al-Sultan sector, in the west of the city, according to a witness. Another witness reported heavy fighting in eastern Khan Younis, a few kilometers away.

In the past 24 hours, at least 40 people have been killed across the territory, according to the Hamas-run Gaza government's health ministry.

Strikes and artillery fire killed six people in the central Gaza Strip's Bureij camp, ten in Khan Younis and four in the northern Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitoun, according to medical sources and the civil defense.

The army said it had struck “more than 50 targets” across the Gaza Strip the previous day.

“Overwhelmed” by the sewers

The ground offensive on Rafah pushed, according to the UN, approximately a million Palestinians to flee.

In the ruins of Khan Younès, residents tried on Sunday to evacuate the sewers which invaded the tents pitched between the skeletons of the buildings. Others made their way through pools of grayish water cluttered with rubbish.

“The sewage overwhelmed us,” Abdul Samad told AFP Barbakh, a town resident.

“Mosquitoes bite us and our children all night. There is no drinking water. There is not even a water seller on the streets. There’s not even any sea water,” testified another man, Said Ashour.

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,190 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally taken from official Israeli data.

Of around 250 people kidnapped during the attack, 120 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 37 are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States, Canada and the European Union. Its army launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has killed 36,479 people so far, according to data from the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Qatar, the United States and Egypt, mediators in the conflict, jointly called on Saturday “Hamas and Israel to finalize the ceasefire agreement based on the principles set out by President Joe Biden.”

Netanyahu under pressure

This road map proposed by Israel provides in a first phase, according to Joe Biden, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, and the release of certain hostages, notably women and the sick, and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The ceasefire could become “permanent” if Hamas “respects its commitments”, according to Mr. Biden.

Israeli media have questioned the extent to which Mr. Biden’s speech and some key points of the plan were coordinated with Mr. Netanyahu’s team, including the length of any truce and the number of releases to come.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “praised Israel’s willingness to reach an agreement and said it was up to Hamas to accept it,” in a phone call with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, according to the State Department.

“Children are starving”

In the besieged territory, which is suffering a major humanitarian disaster, the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which is crucial for the delivery of aid international, has been closed since the Israeli army took control of it on May 7 from the Palestinian side.

Last week, 950 trucks loaded with aid entered the Gaza Strip “from Egypt via the Kerem Shalom crossing,” in Israel, according to an Egyptian border guard official.

But according to the UN, 500 trucks would need to enter the territory every day to meet the immense needs of its 2.4 million inhabitants.

In a hospital in Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, a 33-year-old woman, Amira al-Taweel, says she could not find milk for her ailing baby of malnutrition.

“Youssef needs milk, in addition to his medical treatment, but there is none in Gaza,” this woman confided to the 'AFP, holding the little boy on a drip in his arms.

“Children are dying of hunger,” warned the spokesperson for the World Organization on Saturday of Health, Margaret Harris.

The international repercussions of the war in Gaza

  • Slovenia | The conservative opposition tabled a motion on Monday preventing the vote on the official recognition of the State of Palestine scheduled for Tuesday, following in the footsteps of Spain, Ireland and Norway.
  • Canada | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave his support to a proposal presented Friday by U.S. President Joe Biden that aims to end the war between Israel and Hamas.
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