Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Thursday that Hamas would be "crushed" like the jihadist group Islamic State, after having received strong support from the Islamic State. of the United States in the war against the Palestinian Islamist movement which has already caused thousands of deaths.
“We will always be at your side,” assured American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after an interview with the Prime Minister, on the sixth day of a conflict triggered by a massive Hamas attack in Israel.
“Just as ISIS was crushed, Hamas will be crushed,” said Mr. Netanyahu, suggesting a ground offensive in Gaza against Hamas, which launched this unprecedented attack on October 7 and has since held 150 hostages. /p>
Approximately 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas offensive, and 1,417 Palestinians according to local authorities, including many civilians, died in the Gaza Strip, since drowned under the Israeli strikes launched in response, which transformed entire buildings into ruins.
The Israeli army announced that it had bombarded the enclave controlled by Hamas, an organization classified as “terrorist” by the United States and the European Union, with 4,000 tons of explosives since Saturday.
– Blinken at Qatar –
Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, October 12, 2023 © AFP – Mahmud HAMS
During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, AFP correspondents saw dozens of airstrikes towards the Al-Shati camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip, and in the north of the enclave.< /p>
At dawn on 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 into Israel from the Gaza Strip at aboard vehicles, by air and sea, sowing terror under a deluge of rockets.
In the streets, in homes, even bursting into a music festival, they killed more than a thousand civilians in this attack of extreme violence and on a scale unprecedented since the creation of Israel in 1948.
An Israeli soldier in front of houses destroyed in a Hamas attack on Kibbutz Beeri, near the border with Gaza, October 11, 2023 © AFP – Menahem KAHANA
After the attack, the army claimed to have recovered the bodies of 1,500 infiltrated Palestinian fighters.
Israel responded by declaring war to destroy Hamas, deploying tens of thousands of troops around the Gaza Strip, in the south of the country and on its border north with Lebanon.
Mr. Blinken is due to meet King Abdullah II in Jordan on Thursday evening and on Friday the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, who rejected the “killing of civilians on both sides” and demanded “an immediate end to the aggression” against the people. Palestinian. Also on Friday, Mr. Blinken is expected in Qatar for discussions on Hamas, before going to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
– Solidarity –
The heads of German and French diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock and Catherine Colonna, are due to visit Israel on Friday and Sunday respectively.
The Hamas offensive triggered vague condemnation abroad as well as a huge outpouring of solidarity in Israel. “Everyone is affected in Israel,” confides Joanna Ouisman, a 38-year-old finance executive, as she drops off two bags full of children's books in a shopping center in Tel Aviv. “No one,” she said, “can witness this barbarity and remain indifferent.”
At the entrance to the kibbutz (collectivist agricultural village) Beeri, less than five kilometers from Gaza, a pile of corpses testifies to the scale of the attack where more than a hundred residents were killed, according to the army.
Bodies gathered at Kibbutz Beeri attacked by Hamas, near the border with Gaza, October 11, 2023 © AFP – JACK GUEZ
“In 75 years, I have never seen (…) such carnage (…) against our people on this scale,” army spokesperson Doron Spielman said on Wednesday.
Mr. Netanyahu showed Mr. Blinken on Thursday the “horrendous photos of the babies killed and burned by the Hamas monsters,” according to his office.
In a statement, Hamas denied committing atrocities, accusing Israel of “disinformation.”
The Islamist movement has also kidnapped several dozen Israelis, foreigners and dual nationals, of all ages, whom it threatens to execute. Israel has 150 hostages, while hundreds are still missing and bodies are being identified.
Speaking in the Israeli town of Gannot Hadar, Leeor Katz-Natanzon, a dentist from 37 years old, explains having several members of his family kidnapped in the kibbutz of Nir Oz.
“What are they going to do to them? Where are they? How do they treat them?”, he says while speaking including two children aged two and four.
Among the hostages are young people captured during a music festival where Palestinian fighters broke into Saturday, killing 270 people according to authorities.
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said Thursday that his country would not allow the entry of basic necessities or humanitarian aid into Gaza until Hamas frees the hostages.
– “Unforgivable failure” –
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) indicated that it was in contact with Hamas to work for their release.
On the political level, while an emergency government and a war cabinet were approved Thursday evening by Parliament, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid accused Mr. Netanyahu's cabinet of an “unforgivable failure” for failing to prevent the attack.
While Israel has decreed a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, already under a land, air and sea blockade since 2007, Mr. Blinken said Thursday that he had spoken to Israel about the “humanitarian needs” in this territory.
In the Gaza Strip, the 2.4 million Palestinians are now deprived of water, electricity and food supplies, cut off by Israel.
A Palestinian carries a filled water container to a public distribution point, October 12, 2023 in Gaza © AFP – MOHAMMED ABED
The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Stéphane Dujarric reported 'a “disastrous” humanitarian situation which is becoming more serious every day, underlining the need to deliver aid to Gazans as quickly as possible.
As calls grow for neighboring Egypt to allow safe passage for civilians from the Gaza Strip, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said Gazans must be “unwavering” and ” stay on their land.”
– “Why?” –
In Gaza, a chronic lack of electricity © AFP – Maxence D'AVERSA, Laurence SAUBADU
In Gaza, where more than 338,000 people have been displaced by strikes according to the UN, the din of explosions, drones and other blasts is incessant, day and night.
“Why? We don't 'did nothing!', screams a man as he watches stretcher bearers carry away the lifeless body of a loved one, just out of the rubble in a bombed neighborhood of Gaza.
The concentrations of troops at the border raise fears of a ground offensive on the territory, governed by Hamas since 2007. A terrifying prospect of fighting in the heart of a city with an extremely dense population, in underground spaces and in the presence of hostages.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi called on “Muslim and Arab countries” to “coordinate” to “stop the crimes” of Israel against Gaza. Iran supports Hamas financially and militarily, but says it was not involved in Saturday's attack.
“Our enemies must know that we are ready on all fronts,” declared the chief spokesperson of the Israeli army Daniel Hagari.
Residents in the rubble of buildings during Israeli strikes on Gaza, October 12, 2023 © AFP – SAID KHATIB
A sign of the tensions around Israel, the Exchanges of fire have been frequent since Saturday on both sides of the Lebanese border with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas and Syria.
And Israeli airstrikes on Thursday put the two main airports in Syria, that of Damascus and that of Aleppo (north).
In addition, a man opened fire Thursday evening in East Jerusalem on an Israeli police station, injuring two police officers , one seriously, before being “neutralized”, according to the police.
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