France Media Agency In recent days, in addition to the displaced from the north and center of the territory, “at least 100,000 people” have joined Rafah due to the intensification of Israeli military operations in Khan Younes (south), according to the coordination office of the humanitarian aid from the UN (OCHA).
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Ilan Ben Zion – Associated Press respectively in Gaza and Jerusalem
- Middle East
The Israeli army continues its massive bombardments in the south of the Gaza Strip, at a time when a Palestinian Hamas delegation is expected in Cairo to discuss an Egyptian plan to gradually end the devastating war.< /p>
After another night of deadly bombardments, which concentrated in the center and south of the Gaza Strip, columns of smoke continued to rise in the morning in the sky of Rafah, extreme south of the besieged territory, where many inhabitants who fled the fighting further north have found refuge.
“[Our] apartment was completely destroyed and my daughters were screaming. There were several victims […], we are trying to get the neighbors out of the rubble,” a resident, Tayseer Abou Al-Eish, told AFP during the night.
On an AFPTV video, we could see, also at night, residents rushing to a hospital in Rafah, injured people — men, women and children — in their arms, sometimes surrounded by relatives in tears. Others were transported on stretchers and taken care of on the ground by nurses.
In recent days, in addition to the displaced from the north and center of the territory, “at least 100,000 people” have joined Rafah due to the intensification of Israeli military operations in Khan Younes (south), according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA).
The war between Israel and Hamas, in power since 2007 in the Gaza Strip, was triggered by the attack of unprecedented scale launched on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli soil.
This attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people in Israel, the majority of them civilians killed on October 7, according to an AFP count based on the latest official Israeli figures available. Around 250 people were also kidnapped that day, of whom 129 are still detained in Gaza, according to the Israeli army.
In retaliation, Israel has sworn to destroy Hamas and is shelling Palestinian territory. It has also been carrying out land operations there since the end of October.
At least 21,507 people have been killed since October 7 in the Gaza Strip, the majority of them women and minors, according to the latest report Friday from the Hamas administration's Health Ministry .
The Israeli army released a new video on Friday showing soldiers exchanging gunfire, taking cover in a ditch, in an unspecified area of Gaza. We then see soldiers taking possession of a cement building, after checking that no enemy was inside.
According to the army, 168 Israeli soldiers have died in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground military offensive.
On the 84th day of the war, if Israeli military operations continue without respite, a Hamas delegation is expected in Cairo to discuss an Egyptian plan that should lead to a ceasefire, a thin glimmer of hope.
“We hope for a complete ceasefire […]. The Palestinian people hope that security will be restored, so that they can live in peace like other nations of the world,” said Aburahman al-Ghabris, a resident of Rafah.
Photo: Ahmad Gharabli Agence France-Presse
On Thursday evening, hundreds of Israelis, Jews and Arabs, gathered in Tel Aviv, brandishing signs and banners in Hebrew and Arabic urging a ceasefire.
With three stages, the Egyptian plan provides for renewable truces, staggered releases of Palestinian hostages and prisoners and, ultimately, a cessation of hostilities.
“Response of the Palestinian factions”
In Cairo, the Hamas delegation, a movement classified as terrorist by the European Union, the United States and Israel, must transmit “the response of the Palestinian factions”. It “includes several observations”, notably “on the modalities of the planned exchanges and the number of Palestinian prisoners who will be released, and on obtaining guarantees for a total Israeli military withdrawal” from Gaza, an official told AFP. of the Islamist movement having requested anonymity.
“We are in contact [with the Egyptian mediators] […]. I cannot provide further details. We are working to bring them all back,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a meeting Thursday in Tel Aviv with relatives of hostages.
Pending possible progress in the talks, the approximately 2.4 million residents of the Gaza Strip, 85% of whom have had to flee their homes according to the UN, continue to face a dire humanitarian situation.
On Friday morning, a vendor at the Rafah market, Muntasser al-Shaer, 30, was delighted to see the arrival on his stalls, for the first time, of “eggs and some fruits » from Egypt. But for the rest, “all types of fruit are lacking, and if there are some types of vegetables, they are extremely expensive,” he added.
Israel, which particularly fears the entry of smuggled weapons, has imposed a complete siege on the Gaza Strip since October 9, and humanitarian aid only enters in dribs and drabs, after inspection, via the post -Rafah border.
Faced with the glaring inadequacy of aid, Gazans are in “great danger”, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
On Friday, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, claimed that one of its aid convoys had been targeted by fire from the Israeli army, without making injured. Questioned by AFP, the Israeli army said it was “verifying” the information.
The war between Israel and Hamas is further exacerbating tensions throughout the region.
Friday morning, the Israeli army again bombed positions of Hezbollah, a Shiite movement close to Iran and which supports Hamas, in southern Lebanon, near the border. The day before, it had reported numerous shots towards the north of its territory.
In recent days, Iran has threatened Israel, its sworn enemy, with “direct action” following the death Monday in a missile strike in Syria blamed on Israel of Razi Mousavi, a general of the Revolutionary Guards.
Another front, Yemen, from where the Houthi rebels, allies of Tehran, are increasing their firing towards the Red Sea to slow down international maritime traffic.
The US Navy said Thursday it had shot down a drone and a missile, in the “22nd attack attempt” of its kind by Yemeni rebels since mid-October.