The United States demanded Monday the release of all the hostages at Gaza, before any possible discussion of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, despite calls for a truce in the fighting, which have already been resolved. caused thousands of deaths.
Two of these hostages, two women kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 during its bloody attack on Israeli soil, were released Monday evening, announced the Palestinian movement in power in Gaza.
According to Israeli media, they are two octogenarian Israeli women from Kibbutz Nir Oz, near Gaza. Images from Egyptian television showed the two women lying in ambulances once they arrived in Egyptian territory.
This release comes three days after that of an American woman and her daughter, Judith and Natalie Raanan.
Around 220 Israeli, foreign or binational hostages have been identified by Israel. Of all ages, men, women and children, they were taken to Gaza during the unprecedented deadly Hamas attack on October 7, which sparked a war, with Israel shelling from the Gaza Strip to “wipe out” the Islamist movement .
And to achieve this, Israel on Monday intensified its strikes on the Gaza Strip where more than 5,000 people have been killed according to Hamas since the start of the war 17 days ago, while claiming to continue its preparations before a land offensive.
This prospect worries the international community, which fears an escalation of the conflict. Iran, ally of Hamas, warned that the situation risked becoming “uncontrollable” in the Middle East, transformed into a “powder keg”.
The funeral of a man killed in kibbutz Beeri in Revivim on October 22, 2023 © AFP – Aris MESSINIS
The United States has at the same time strengthened its military presence in the region. And in Tehran, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov judged that this reinforcement ran the risk of an “escalation” of the conflict.
In the Gaza Strip, a small, poor territory where 2.4 million Palestinians are crowded together, international aid began to arrive in dribs and drabs since Saturday via Egypt. On Monday, a third convoy crossed the border at Rafah, the only exit from the territory not controlled by Israel.
In total, around fifty trucks entered the Gaza Strip in three days, whereas according to the UN at least 100 per day are needed to meet the needs of the population.
– Divisions –
Humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip © AFP – Maxence D'AVERSA, Laurence SAUBADU
The United States, which obtained the agreement of Israel and Egypt to let the aid, announced on Sunday “that there would henceforth be a continuous flow into Gaza of this crucial assistance”.
But for the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, there is a need for “more aid, more quickly” as well as a “humanitarian pause” to allow its distribution.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also called on Monday for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, calling on leaders to make “courageous choices”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for “unhindered” access for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and a “swift ceasefire”.
Discussions on a ceasefire will only be possible after the release of all the hostages held by Hamas, US President Joe Biden said on Monday.
– 320 targets –
Because far from easing, Israeli bombings have intensified in the last 24 hours.
On Monday, the Israeli army announced that it had struck “more than 320 military targets” during the night. infrastructure of Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad. These two groups are classified as “terrorist” organizations by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
The raids left more than 70 dead, according to the Hamas government, including 17 people killed by a strike on a house in Jabaliya (north).
October 7, in the middle of Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest , and on the last day of the Sukkot holiday, hundreds of Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel from Gaza, spreading terror in an attack unprecedented since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
< p>More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel, most of them civilians shot, burned or mutilated on the day of the attack, according to authorities. Hamas kidnapped 222 hostages, Israelis and foreigners, according to the army.
Convoy of humanitarian aid trucks crossing from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, on the 22 October 2023 © AFP – Mohammed Assad
On Monday, Hamas claimed that 5,087 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 2,055 children, had been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli bombings which destroyed entire neighborhoods.
The heads of diplomacy from Russia, Turkey and Iran called to stop “targeting innocent civilians,” in a joint statement also signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan.
– “Catastrophic” situation –
Since October 15, the Israeli army has called on civilians in the north of the Gaza Strip, where the bombardments are most intense, to flee to the south.
But strikes also continue to affect the south , close to the Egyptian border, where the displaced are massed by the hundreds of thousands.
In front of the morgue of al-Aqsa hospital, in Deir Balah, after Israeli bombings on the Gaza Strip, October 22, 2023 © AFP – Mahmud HAMS
Two days after the Hamas attack, Israel imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza – already subject to an Israeli blockade for more than 16 years -, cutting off the supply of water, electricity and food.
The humanitarian situation is “catastrophic”, warned the UN, in this 362 square kilometer territory where at least 1.4 million Palestinians have fled their homes.
Victims of Israeli bombings buried on October 23, 2023 in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip © AFP – Mahmud HAMS
In Rafah, men filled water containers plastic cans from tanks, while others searched the ruins of a building destroyed by a strike, looking for survivors.
In Khan Younes, still in the south, a family was preparing to bury children killed in a bombing, their bodies draped in white carried to the cemetery by relatives.
– 19,000 displaced in Lebanon –
Faced with the risk of opening a second front, the Israeli army has massed tens of thousands of soldiers on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and on its northern border with Lebanon.
A photo taken from the Israeli town of Sderot shows the clouds caused by an Israeli bombardment on Gaza on October 22, 2023 © AFP – Jack Guez
Small units have already carried out limited incursions in the Palestinian territory, targeting Hamas infrastructure and seeking to locate missing or kidnapped people.
Since October 7, the army has evacuated the surroundings of the Palestinian territory.
In Lebanon, more than 19,000 people were displaced after an increase in clashes between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah, supported by Iran and ally of Hamas, on the border between the two countries, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The border area on the Israeli side was also evacuated.
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