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Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

Hopes of a truce in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas appear to be rekindled, at a time when security forces are in conflict. The first humanitarian aid boat finished unloading its cargo on Saturday in the threatened Palestinian territory. of starvation, and that a second could leave soon.

Meanwhile, Israeli bombardments continued in the Gaza Strip where 36 members of the same family were killed in the Nuseirat refugee camp (center) during a night marked by 60 airstrikes, after the Hamas Ministry of Health.

“She's my mother, my father, my aunt, my brothers,” Mohammad al- told AFP Tabatibi, 19, showing bodies lined up in Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah, including those of at least two young children, according to AFP images.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

Palestinians search through the rubble of the al-Tabatibi family home after an overnight Israeli bombardment west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on March 16, 2024. © AFP – –

“They bombed the house while we were inside” and the family was preparing sohour, the meal before dawn of the Ramadan fast which began Monday, he continued.

When contacted by AFP, the Israeli army did not confirm being behind the strike. However, it indicated in a press release that it had targeted “several terrorists holed up” in the Nuseirat camp.

The war in the Gaza Strip was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack carried out by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Palestinian territory in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli sources.

According to Israel, around 250 people were kidnapped and 130 of them are still hostages in Gaza, 32 of whom are believed to have died.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

Palestinians mourn at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah next to the bodies of victims pulled from the rubble of the al-Tabatibi family home following an Israeli bombardment west of the refugee camp in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, March 16, 2024 © AFP – –

In retaliation, Israel promised to annihilate the Palestinian Islamist movement which it considers terrorist, following the example of the United States and the European Union (EU) in particular. Its army launched an offensive that killed 31,553 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

– Operation on Rafah? –

After more than five months of war, the United States, Qatar and Egypt, mediator countries, are trying to achieve an agreement on a truce and an exchange of hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, after failing to do so before the start of Ramadan.

The Hamas, which took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007 and until now demanded a definitive ceasefire from Israel before any agreement, said Friday it was ready for a six-week truce, during which 42 hostages -women, children, elderly and sick people- could be released in exchange for 20 to 50 Palestinian prisoners for each released hostage.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

A boy holds up an empty pan as he queues with other displaced Palestinians to get food provided by a charity ahead of iftar, the meal to break the fast of Ramadan, in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, March 16, 2024 © AFP – SAID KHATIB

The movement also calls for the “withdrawal of the army from all towns and populated areas”, the “return of the displaced” and the entry of at least 500 trucks of humanitarian aid per day into Gaza, said one of its members. executives at AFP.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for its part, announced on Friday that an Israeli delegation would go to Qatar as part of negotiations, without specifying when.

Mr. Netanyahu, however, approved the army's “action plans” for an offensive in Rafah (south), where, according to the UN, around 1.5 million Palestinians are massed. This operation, against which the United States and the UN continue to warn, could take place in the absence of a truce agreement or after.

– Other boat loan –

In addition to the raids and fighting, the UN fears widespread famine in the Palestinian territory.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

Palestinians queue to receive food donated by a charity before iftar, the meal to break the Ramadan fast, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, March 16, 2024 © AFP – SAID KHATIB

Humanitarian aid is transported by land and enters the southern Gaza Strip after being inspected by Israel, but remains very insufficient compared to the needs of the 2.4 million inhabitants.

In Rafah, several dozen displaced people queued on Saturday looking desperate to receive food provided by a charitable organization before iftar, the meal to break the Ramadan fast, according to photo from AFP.

Leaving Cyprus on Tuesday, a boat from the Spanish NGO Open Arms carrying 200 tonnes of food from the organization World Kitchen Central (WCK) arrived on the coast of Gaza on Friday where it finished unloading its cargo, divided into twelve trucks, on Saturday.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

The 1st boat bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza unloads © AFP – Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA, Paz PIZARRO

The aid is to be used to prepare meals for residents of the northern Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is particularly catastrophic.

Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis said on Saturday that a second aid boat was ready and would leave for Gaza this weekend. But, according to WCK, marine weather forecasts indicate bad weather between Sunday and the end of next week, which could delay its departure.

International efforts are multiplying in an attempt to deliver more aid, notably by airdrops.

Gaza: new truce hoped for, a second aid boat ready for Cyprus

This photo released by the Jordanian army on March 16, 2024 shows members of the Jordanian army aboard a German military plane preparing humanitarian aid packages before an airdrop mission over the northern Gaza Strip © Jordanian army – –

Germany, which joined for the first time on Saturday the countries participating in an aid airlift from Jordan, announced a first airdrop of four tonnes of foodstuffs above the northern Gaza.

The UN, EU, US and other countries insist, however, that delivering aid by air or sea sea ​​could not replace land routes.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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