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Dozens killed in Gaza in Israeli raids on the eve of Ramadan

Photo: Agence France-Presse At least 13 people died on Sunday during a raid on a camp of displaced Palestinians in the Al-Mawasi region, between Khan Younes and Rafah, according to Hamas.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Cécile Feuillatre – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem

March 10, 2024

  • Middle East

The Israeli army again dropped its bombs on Gaza on Sunday, killing dozens on the eve of Ramadan and in the midst of international mobilization to send humanitarian aid to the besieged and threatened civilian population of famine.

As part of a humanitarian maritime corridor announced by the European Union, a first ship loaded with aid is ready to leave Cyprus for the Palestinian territory devastated by more than five months of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

Before Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting which begins Monday or Tuesday, there is no indication to hope for a truce agreement in this conflict which, according to Hamas, has left 31,045 dead, the majority of them civilians, in the large-scale military offensive led by Israel in Gaza in response to an unprecedented bloody attack by the Palestinian movement on October 7.

“They say every day that there will be a truce on the first day of Ramadan. But as you can see, there were more strikes this morning. Enough of this war! », Declared to AFP Moumen Ahmad in Rafah (south) saying that a bombing had hit a car and caused victims in the city.

According to Hamas authorities, at least 85 Palestinians have died in the last 24 hours in more than 60 nighttime strikes which also hit homes in central and southern Gaza, especially in Khan Younes. At least 13 people died when shells fell on displaced people's tents in the Al-Mawasi region, between Khan Younes and Rafah, said the Ministry of Health.

The Israeli army, whose soldiers operate in large areas of Palestinian territory, reported around 30 Palestinian fighters killed in the past 24 hours in central Gaza and Khan Younes.

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On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack in southern Israel that left at least 1,160 people dead, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources. Around 250 people were also kidnapped and 130 are still being held in Gaza, of whom 31 are dead according to Israel.

In response, Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization, along with the United States and the European Union.

In addition to the heavy human toll and colossal destruction, the war has caused a humanitarian disaster in the cramped Palestinian territory, where according to the UN 2.2 of the 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine and 1.7 million were displaced.

“So that she doesn’t die”

According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, 25 people, most of them children, died of malnutrition and dehydration.

“I feed my daughter water, water, just so she doesn’t die. I have no choice,” said a mother in Gaza City, Barak Abhar, holding her crying baby in her arms.

Israel has besieged Gaza since October 9 and only lets in aid by land drop by drop from Egypt, which keeps its border closed.

Occupied by Israel from 1967 to 2005, the Palestinian territory had already been subject to an Israeli blockade since 2007.

On Sunday, like on previous days, several Western and Arab countries dropped packages of food and medical equipment on Gaza. On Friday, the EU and the United States announced that they were preparing a maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus, located some 370 km from Gaza.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, hoped for the departure of a first boat on Sunday, loaded by two NGOs with 200 tonnes of food.

Laura Lanuza, spokesperson for the Spanish NGO Open Arms, a partner in this project of the American NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK), clarified on Saturday that the Israeli authorities had inspected the cargo.

WCK “already has people in Gaza” and is “building a pier” to be able to unload the cargo, it says.

It remains to be seen how this aid would be transported through the territory daily bombarded by Israel and prey to fighting.

“More harm than good”

An American military logistical support ship also left the United States with the equipment necessary for the construction of a temporary pier in Gaza, announced by President Joe Biden, to unload the aid. Its construction could take up to 60 days.

However, the UN, which warns of an “almost inevitable widespread famine” in Gaza, affirms that airdrops and sending aid by sea cannot replace the land route.

This aid mainly passes through Rafah, near the Egyptian border. According to the UN, nearly 1.5 million people are gathered there, the vast majority of them displaced people who queue daily at food and water distribution points. And who fear an announced Israeli ground offensive.

On Saturday, Joe Biden criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is determined to continue the war to end Hamas and enter Rafah.

“He is doing more harm than good to Israel. He has the right to defend Israel, the right to continue attacking Hamas. But he must, he must, he must pay more attention to the innocent lives lost,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Netanyahu is also criticized in his country, where part of public opinion wants a truce agreement which would allow the release of the hostages, while Israel and Hamas accuse each other of hindering such an agreement.

According to a source close to the negotiations involving the mediators – United States, Egypt, Qatar -, “there will be an acceleration of diplomatic efforts in the next 10 days” with a view to trying to obtain an agreement during the first half of the month of Ramadan.

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