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Fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip

Photo: Agence France-Presse Palestinians continue to flee Khan Younes, which has become the epicenter of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Didier Lauras – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem


  • Middle East

Fierce fighting broke out on Thursday between the Israeli army and Palestinian Hamas fighters, in the south of the Gaza Strip, particularly in Khan Younes, where deadly gunfire targeted a Hamas refuge the day before. UN sheltering displaced people.

The Islamist movement's Health Ministry reported Thursday that 50 people had been killed in the past 24 hours in Khan Yunis, where the Israeli army said its snipers had killed several “terrorists.” .

Airplanes targeted Hamas members in central and northern Gaza and other fighters were killed in “close combat”, the army added in a statement.

In Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, AFPTV images showed graves marked by paving stones on which the names of those buried were written in marker, amid streets littered with debris and buildings bearing the 'projectile impact.

“They look like tombs, but they are not real tombs,” said Ahmad Abdul Salam, a resident of the city’s Al-Maghazi refugee camp. “In these mass graves we buried entire families, who were exterminated. »

The Israeli army, which says it has “surrounded” Khan Younes, called on the local population to leave for Rafah, further south, on the border with Egypt. But the fighting makes transport to this region dangerous, where the majority of the 1.7 million Palestinians already displaced by the war are concentrated.

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“Egregious Violation”

Tank fire against a building of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Khan Younes left at least “12 dead and 75 injured on Wednesday, including 15 in serious condition,” according to a new assessment announced Thursday by Thomas White, head of the organization in Gaza.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, said the reception center was “clearly” identified and that its contact details had been “shared with the Israeli authorities”. He denounced “a flagrant violation of the fundamental rules of war.”

The Israeli army told AFP that a “review” of operations was underway but that it had “ruled out […] an air or artillery strike”, also mentioning “ the possibility” of a Hamas shot.

The United States, Israel's first ally, said it “deplored” the shootings and called for UN sites in Gaza to be “protected”.

The war was sparked by Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count from official data.

Some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza, around 100 of whom were released at the end of November during a truce in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. According to the same count, 132 hostages are still in the territory, of which 28 are believed to have died.

Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas and launched a massive military operation that killed 25,700 Palestinians, the vast majority women, children and adolescents, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health. Islamist movement.

“Out of stock”

In Gaza, the humanitarian situation continues to worsen in the besieged territory.

“We’re exhausted. Stop! Both sides need to stop. Enough is enough,” laments Latifa Abou Rezk, who came to cry over the remains of a loved one in a hospital in Rafah.

Israeli protesters blocked a road in Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening to urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to accept a pause in fighting, or even a ceasefire.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States are currently trying to mediate to reach a new, longer truce in Gaza including the release of hostages and prisoners.

But in a recording obtained by Israeli channel 12, Benjamin Netanyahu considered the mediator role of Qatar, a country which hosts the political leadership of Hamas, an organization classified as “terrorist” by Israel, “problematic”. the United States and the European Union.

“I have no illusions about them. They have the means to put pressure (on Hamas, Editor’s note). And why ? Because they finance them,” Mr. Netanyahu said in Hebrew according to this recording.

On Thursday, the Israeli Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, a figure of the extreme right, repeated the remarks attributed to the head of his government by stating on X: “One thing is clear: Qatar will not be involved in any way in what happens in Gaza after the war. »

Qatar said it was “dismayed” by the statements attributed to Mr Netanyahu, accusing them of “hindering and undermining the mediation process”.

Moreover, the conflict is exacerbating regional tensions, particularly off the coast of Yemen where Houthi rebels, close to Iran, fired missiles against two American ships on Wednesday, forcing them to turn back.

On Israel's northern front, the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, also supported by Iran, said it had attacked Israeli air defense systems with suicide drones. The Lebanese National News Agency reported that Israeli bombings and airstrikes targeted villages near the border with Israel.

In addition, the Israeli army announced Thursday that it had carried out operations in several towns and villages in the occupied West Bank, where 16 people were arrested and a Palestinian was killed.

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