Photo: Jack Guez Agence France-Presse In recent weeks, most of the fighting has taken place in the south in the southern Gaza Strip, but the Israeli army says it continues to face attacks from isolated Hamas groups in the north.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Rosie Scammell – Agence France-Presse respectively in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem
- Middle East
The Israeli army intensely bombarded the Gaza Strip on Friday, killing nearly 80 Palestinians according to Hamas, and its soldiers continue to wage fierce battles against the Islamist movement in the town of Khan Younes which has become the epicenter of battle.
In the fourth month of the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, the risks of a regionalization of the conflict are increasing with daily exchanges of fire on the Israeli-Lebanese border, the increase in attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and the intensification of American strikes in Yemen.
In the early hours of Friday, witnesses reported heavy fire and airstrikes in Khan Younes, the main town in the south of the Gaza Strip where according to Israel many members of the leadership of Hamas, classified as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union in particular.
According to the Health Ministry of Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, 77 Palestinians have died in Israeli strikes in recent hours in several areas of the besieged Palestinian territory, including in Khan Younes .
The Palestinian Red Crescent reports “intense” artillery fire in the vicinity of the local al-Amal hospital, as a thick cloud of black smoke rises above of Gaza, devastated by incessant bombardments that have driven around 80% of the population to flee to the far south of the overcrowded 362 km2 territory.
According to the Israeli army, under cover of the air force and the navy, its ground troops advanced from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip, after entering the Palestinian territory from the south on October 27. 'Israel.
She added in a statement that fighting and bombings were also taking place in northern Gaza, where “air and ground forces killed several terrorists.”
Hamas also reported fighting in the Jabaliya refugee camp and in Gaza City in the north.
For several weeks, most of the fighting has taken place in the south, mainly in the Khan Younes sector, but the army says it continues to face attacks from isolated Hamas groups in the north.
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“Inhumane living conditions”
The war was sparked by an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 in southern Israel that killed 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on figures official.
Some 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza during the attack, around 100 of whom were released during a truce at the end of November. According to Israel, 132 remain detained, of which 27 are believed to have died.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas. According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, 24,620 people, the vast majority women, children and adolescents, have been killed and 61,830 injured in the incessant Israeli bombardments and fighting in Gaza.
The strikes razed entire neighborhoods, caused a major humanitarian crisis and knocked out more than half of the hospitals in the Palestinian territory, on which Israel has imposed a total siege since October 9 after a ground blockade, air and maritime dating from 2007.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, deplored an “explosive” health context and “inhumane living conditions” in Gaza.
Faced with calls for a humanitarian truce, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains inflexible and wants to continue the war until, in particular, “the elimination of terrorist leaders” and “the return of our hostages home”.
He also wants, in his words, to regain “total security control” of Gaza and “to have control of security over the entire territory west of the Jordan”, which “is in contradiction with the idea” of a Palestinian state.
His statement resurfaced the dispute with the American ally over the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
“We obviously see things differently,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby. For Washington, the creation of a viable Palestinian state is necessary for “real security”.
“Without an independent Palestinian state, there will be no security and stability in the region. The entire region is on the verge of a volcanic eruption due to aggressive policies of the Israeli occupation authorities,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman.
The international community already fears that the conflict will spill over.
Early Friday, the Houthis claimed responsibility for firing on an American oil tanker, the Chem Ranger, in the Gulf of Aden, the latest attack by this Iran-backed group against merchant ships in ” solidarity” with Gaza.
The American military command in the Middle East (CENTCOM) confirmed shots against the Chem Ranger which, however, was not hit according to it.
Before this attack, the United States launched new strikes, sometimes carried out with the United Kingdom, against Houthi positions in Yemen, again classified as a “terrorist” entity by Washington.< /p>
“The madness and idiocy of the United States and the United Kingdom have worked against them: now none of their ships will be able to pass through one of the main trade routes in the world,” warned Mohammed al- Bukhaiti, a Houthi official at the Russian daily Izvestia.