Thomas Coex Agence France-Presse An Israeli soldier walks near the body of a fighter Palestinian killed Tuesday in Kfar Aza, southern Israel.
Jonah Mandel – Agence France-Presse and Mai Yaghi – Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem and Gaza respectively
- Middle East
Israel bombed Gaza and announced the discovery of the bodies of 1,500 Hamas men in towns across the south recaptured by the army during fierce fighting near the Palestinian enclave, on the fourth day of the war triggered by an offensive by the armed Islamist movement.
After crossing the border barrier that Israel considered impregnable on Saturday morning, Hamas men rushed into Jewish communities in southern Israel, going from house to house, shooting down citizens or kidnapping them to bring them back to the Gaza Strip.
Since then, the Israeli army has been shelling this Palestinian enclave controlled by Hamas, which had launched unprecedented land, air and sea attacks, causing astonishment in Israel where they are compared to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
More than 900 people have been killed in Israel since the offensive began on Saturday, the worst attack in the country's 75-year history. On the Palestinian side, 687 people were killed, according to local authorities. Three Palestinian journalists were killed on Tuesday by an Israeli strike in Gaza.
“We are already in the heart of the campaign, but this is only the beginning, we will defeat (Hamas) with force, enormous force,” warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening.
- The war between Israel and Hamas in maps and data
- Hamas attacks against Israel will have repercussions on all fronts
- A look back at an eventful history
“Approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas (fighters) have been found in Israel around the Gaza Strip,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli army spokesman, said Tuesday, reflecting the scale of the attack. the Hamas attack in southern Israel.
The army, which had until then mentioned a thousand infiltrated Palestinian fighters, has “more or less regained control of the border fence » with Gaza, “but infiltrations can still happen,” added Colonel Hecht.
Mr. Netanyahu compared Hamas's large-scale massacre of Israeli civilians to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) group when it controlled vast territories in Syria and Iraq: “Hamas terrorists tied up, burned and executed children […]. They are savages. Hamas is IS.”
Number of nationals of other countries, some also having Israeli nationality , were killed in the Hamas offensive, including 18 Thais, 10 Nepalese, 11 Americans, four French, seven Argentinians, two Ukrainians, two Russians, a British, a Cambodian and a Canadian, according to the authorities of these countries.< /p>
The United States, which began sending military aid to Israel on Sunday with new munitions and bringing its carrier strike group closer to the Mediterranean, said Monday evening that it had “no intention of sending troops,” according to a spokesperson for the US National Security Council.
Israel imposed a “total siege” on the Gaza Strip on Monday, while Hamas threatened to execute hostages kidnapped in Israel in response to Israeli strikes on the cramped strip of land crammed with 2.3 million people. residents.
The UN said Tuesday that the total siege of the Gaza Strip was “prohibited” by international humanitarian law, and that the war between Hamas and Israel had displaced more than 187,500 people. inside the Gaza Strip.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to the sealed-off Gaza Strip, around which tens of thousands of Israeli troops have been deployed.
Israel withdrew its troops and evacuated settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 after occupying that territory since 1967. But it retained control of the airspace and territorial waters and imposed a blockade since 2007, strictly controlling the passage goods and people between Israel and the Palestinian enclave.
Following the announcement of the “siege” of Gaza, Israel ordered the “immediate cutoff” of water supplies to the enclave, following suspensions of electricity and food deliveries.
< p>The army also announced that it had killed “several armed suspects” who had infiltrated Israel from Lebanon.
Lebanese Hezbollah, Israel's nemesis, claimed Monday to have bombed two Israeli barracks, in response to the deaths of three of its members by Israeli bombings on a border area in southern Lebanon, amid fears of escalation on another front.
“Jerusalem, ghost town”
Since the Hamas attack, “Jerusalem is a ghost town,” laments Mary Bahba, a Palestinian forty-year-old visibly very worried about the following events. “People are afraid, they have to go to work, but they fear being mistreated in Israeli streets because of the war.”
The Hamas offensive was launched 50 years and one day later the Israeli-Arab war of 1973 which took Israel completely by surprise and left 2,600 dead on the Israeli side in three weeks of fighting.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military branch of Hamas, announced that they had launched this offensive major effort to “end the crimes of the occupation”, in reference to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The Hamas attack was condemned by many Western countries. French President Emmanuel Macron denounced on Tuesday “unbearable blackmail” by Hamas over hostages held in Gaza.