Israel called Saturday the Palestinians "do not delay" à evacuate the north of the Gaza Strip, suggesting a ground offensive, after a week of war, triggered by the unprecedented deadly attack by Hamas, who already has caused thousands of deaths.
Israel responded to this attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement, in power in the Gaza Strip, by massively bombarding this territory, from where rockets continue to be fired by Hamas into Israeli territory.
AFP journalists near the Israeli town of Sderot, near the Gaza Strip, saw Israeli airstrikes on northern Gaza on Saturday afternoon, releasing enormous smoke black in the sky.
The Hamas attack and the war it unleashed created an unprecedented shock wave in the region and beyond, fueling fears of an extension of the conflict and a humanitarian catastrophe for the population of Gaza. subjected to a complete siege, deprived of water, electricity or food supplies.
At least 1,300 people, mostly civilians, including at least 130 foreign or dual nationals, were killed in Israel since the October 7 attack.
More than 2,200 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including 724 children, according to local authorities, have died in the Gaza Strip, a small, poor and under siege trapped between Israel and Egypt.
Israel also indicated that it had identified at least 120 people, civilians, soldiers and foreigners, who were kidnapped during the attack by Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
– “War crimes” –
Hundreds of people remain missing, and bodies are still being identified.
Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh on Saturday accused Israel of “war crimes” in Gaza.
The Palestinian movement is for its part regularly accused by Israel of using civilians as human shields, while the prospect of a ground offensive in the heart of a densely populated territory appears terrifying.
According to Hamas , who threatened execution in the event of strikes on civilians, 22 hostages have already died in Israeli bombings, although this number cannot be verified.
Israel announced the death of two Hamas military leaders: Mourad Abou Mourad, “responsible for a large part of the deadly offensive” of October 7, according to the army, and Ali Qadi, “who directed the inhumane massacre and barbaric civilians in Israel.”
Pending a ground offensive for which Israel said it was preparing, the army called on Friday the Gazan civilians in the north of the territory – 1.1 million people out of a total of 2.4 million inhabitants – to be evacuated to the south, and urged them on Saturday not to “delay”.
– “Slot” –
There is a “slot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” she said. The army accused Hamas, which rejected the call for evacuations, of trying to block departures.
Since Friday, by the thousands, residents have been fleeing by all means, some belongings piled up hastily, on trailers, carts, on motorbikes, by car, through the ruins.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “immediate” humanitarian access to this small strip of land, subject to an Israeli blockade since 2006.
US President Joe Biden has also made the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza a priority.
Tension is also high on Israel's northern border, where the Israeli army announced on Saturday that it had killed “several terrorists” who were trying to infiltrate, after having struck a target in the night. Shiite movement Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, in response to aerial “infiltration” and shooting.
Hezbollah announced that it had targeted Israeli positions in a disputed border area, and two civilians were killed in an Israeli bombardment in southern Lebanon, according to a local elected official.
– Funerals in Israel –< /p>
Palestinians carrying their belongings flee after the Israeli army warned them to leave their homes and move south ahead of a ground offensive, October 13, 2023 in Gaza © AFP – MAHMUD HAMS
A journalist video from the Reuters agency was killed and six other journalists from AFP, Reuters and Al-Jazeera injured Friday in bombings in southern Lebanon.
The Israeli army said on Saturday that it was “very sorry” for this death, indicating that it was “investigating”, without explicitly recognizing any responsibility. The Lebanese army accused her on Saturday of being responsible for firing “a rocket which targeted a civilian press car”.
In the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, at least 16 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli forces during rallies in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.
Mourning Israelis throw themselves to the ground and cover their heads as they hear rocket warning sirens during the funeral in Kibbutz Naan, near Tel Aviv, of an Israeli, Tom Godo, killed in the attack Hamas fighters, October 13, 2023 © AFP – GIL COHEN-MAGEN
At dawn on October 7, in the middle of Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest, hundreds of Hamas fighters had infiltrated Israel aboard vehicles and by air from Gaza.
They killed more than a thousand civilians, sowing terror under a barrage of rockets during this attack on a scale not seen since the creation of Israel in 1948. Around 270 people, according to the authorities, were killed in a music festival.
Heartbreaking funerals follow one another in Israel, like those on Friday of a 52-year-old man, father of three daughters, shot dead in front of his family a week ago , in an attacked kibbutz.
Several hundred people, including families of people kidnapped by Hamas, demonstrated on Saturday in Tel Aviv in front of the Defense Ministry, some shouting “Bibi in prison” or even “Bibi in exchange for our hostages”, in reference to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
There is growing concern for residents of the Gaza Strip, a 362 square kilometer territory subject to an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since the Hamas took power there. Egypt controls its only opening to the world, the Rafah crossing point, which is currently closed.
According to an American official, Israel and Egypt gave the green light to let the Americans leave the Gaza Strip on Saturday through the Rafah crossing point.
On the Palestinian side of this border town, Dozens of displaced Gazan families have taken over a United Nations school, piling up laundry, mattresses and packages in the classes and playground, noted an AFP journalist.
Further north, thousands of displaced people are crowded into the courtyard of the Nasser hospital in Khan Younès. “It’s a disaster, there is nothing to eat, we don’t know where to sleep, we don’t know what to do and where to go,” laments Juma Nasser, a forty-year-old.
– Call for a ceasefire –
In front of the hospital, sitting on the ground, entire families are left to their own devices, some crying, others showing frightened and shocked faces.
More than 423,000 Palestinians have already left their homes, and 5,540 homes destroyed, according to the UN.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Saturday for the war against Hamas to be fought with “the greatest respect” for the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
King Abdullah II of Jordan began a European tour on Saturday “in order to rally an international position to stop the war against Gaza”. He must go to France, Great Britain, Germany and Italy
Anger is also expressed in public opinion in the countries of the region, where thousands of people demonstrated on Friday, notably in Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Bahrain in support of the Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia, where American Secretary of State Antony Blinken is continuing a regional tour, called for an “immediate ceasefire” after announcing that it was suspending discussions on possible normalization with Israel.
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