France Media Agency “We clearly said that the intensive stage of operations would last approximately three months,” “in the south we will achieve this and it will end soon,” said the Israeli Defense Minister. Smoke and light are seen here on Monday above Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, during Israeli bombardments.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Marc Jourdier – Agence France-Presse in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem respectively
January 15, 2024
- Middle East
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, where the “intensive” phase of the war against Hamas “will end soon” in the south of the Palestinian territory, announced Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
One of the four Israeli divisions engaged in the Gaza Strip since the start of the ground offensive on October 27 withdrew in the evening, the army said.
“We have clearly said that the intensive stage of operations will last approximately three months,” “in the south we will achieve this and it will end soon,” Minister Gallant said. “The time will come when we will enter the next phase” of the war in Gaza, he added.
The Israeli cabinet previously approved an amended budget for 2024, adding $15 billion US (just over $20 billion Canadian) in spending to meet the cost of the war in Gaza.< /p>
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Hamas, for its part, reported on Monday the death of two Israeli hostages, broadcasting a video in which we see a young woman – also a hostage and visibly under pressure – announcing the deaths. No indication of the filming date is given in the video.
“They were killed in Zionist bombings on Gaza,” Hamas’ military wing said in a statement. The Israeli military has rejected what it calls “lies” and denounced the “brutal use of hostages of innocent people.”
More than 24,000 dead in Gaza
António Guterres launched a new call for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, necessary according to him to ensure humanitarian aid, but also “to facilitate the release of the hostages”. “We continue to call for rapid, safe, unimpeded, extensive, and continuous humanitarian access into and through Gaza,” he told reporters, adding that “nothing can justify the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian people.” “.
The war was sparked by an unprecedented attack carried out by Hamas on October 7 in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,140 people on the Israeli side, mostly civilians killed the same day, according to a count from Agence France-Presse (AFP) based on official Israeli figures.
Some 250 people were then taken hostage, and among the 132 still in Gaza, at least 25 were killed, according to recent estimates by Israeli authorities. Around a hundred were released during a truce at the end of November.
In the Gaza Strip, more than 24,000 people were killed by Israeli bombings and military operations, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, the ruling movement in Gaza.
Attack near Tel-Aviv
In this context of violence, a woman was killed and at least 13 people were injured at midday in a car attack in Raanana, a suburb of Tel Aviv, said Israeli police say they have arrested two Palestinian suspects. Two young French people are among the injured, according to Paris.
The 2.4 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, a small, overpopulated, besieged and shelled territory, 1.9 million of whom had to leave their homes according to the UN, lack everything. The cold further complicates their daily survival.
Photo: Agence France-Presse A Palestinian warms himself by the fire in a makeshift camp west of Rafah on Sunday.
In Rafah, at the southern tip, not far from the Egyptian border, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans have flocked fleeing the fighting initially concentrated in the north, smoke and an acrid smell emanate of the fire that Ismaïl Nabhane's family lit with firewood and plastic in front of their makeshift shelter.
“Children are constantly sick. They keep coughing and getting colds, their clothes are not thick enough to warm them,” describes his wife, Raidah Aouad, to AFP.
Risk of famine and epidemics
In a joint statement, UNICEF, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization warned Monday of a “risk of famine” and “epidemics of deadly diseases.”
The war is also exacerbating tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border, where exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces are daily.
On Sunday, the pro-Iranian Islamist movement said it had carried out six attacks on Israeli soil, including one on a village which, according to the Israeli army, killed two civilians, a mother and son.
In the occupied West Bank, another area of tension, three Palestinians were killed Monday in clashes with Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. More than 340 Palestinians have died in violence there since October 7, according to Palestinian authorities.
The Israeli army claimed to have been attacked near Hebron by around a hundred people who “threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police” and to have killed a man who “threw a firebomb.”