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Israel targets central Gaza, new international efforts for truce

Photo: Bashar Taleb Agence France-Presse The Israeli army has confirmed that it is carrying out operations in al-Boureij and Deir al-Balah (pictured), claiming to have “eliminated” several Hamas members.

Agence France-Presse à Bureij

Published at 12:39 Updated at 17:52

  • Middle East

Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling targeted the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday, where the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas will enter its ninth month as mediators redouble their efforts to secure a ceasefire. -fire.

Israeli military operations have been concentrated in recent days in the center of the Palestinian territory, after having mainly affected Rafah, in the south, where the army launched at the beginning of May a ground offensive, presented by Israel as the final stage of its war against Hamas launched after an unprecedented attack by the Islamist movement on Israeli soil on October 7.

Loading their meager belongings onto vehicles, carts and wheelchairs, displaced people fled the Palestinian al-Boureij camp on Wednesday in search of a safe place, Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondents reported. 60~/p>

During the night, a strike near the camp entrance and artillery fire southeast of nearby Deir al-Balah caused several deaths, according to witnesses.

“The smell of blood”

Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah has received since Tuesday “at least 70 dead and more than 300 injured, mostly women and children, following Israeli strikes on central areas of the Gaza Strip,” Médecins Sans Frontières said on X.

“The smell of blood in the emergency room this morning was unbearable. There are people lying everywhere, on the ground, outside. Bodies were brought in plastic bags. The situation is unbearable,” said Karin Huster, MSF coordinator for Gaza.

According to hospital sources and Civil Defense, at least eleven people have been killed during the night in the area.

The Israeli army confirmed carrying out operations in al-Boureij and Deir al-Balah, claiming to have “eliminated” several Hamas members .

After almost eight months of war, Egypt, the United States and Qatar, who play the role of mediators, are continuing their efforts to try to convince the belligerents to conclude a ceasefire, a few days after the announcement by American President Joe Biden of a road map proposed, according to him, by Israel.

This provides, initially, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages taken to the Palestinian territory during the Hamas attack in Israel, as well as Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Meeting in Qatar

According to a source close to the negotiations, a meeting took place on Wednesday in Doha “between the Qatari prime minister, the head of Egyptian intelligence and Hamas, to discuss an agreement for a truce in Gaza and an exchange of hostages and prisoners.”

The contradictory demands of the two camps leave little hope of seeing the plan announced by Mr. Biden come to fruition.

Israel says it wants to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union.

The political leader of Hamas, Ismaël Haniyeh, based in Qatar, declared in a statement that the movement would study “seriously and positively” any proposal based on “a complete halt” of the Israeli offensive, “a total withdrawal” of Israeli army from Gaza and “an exchange of prisoners”.

CIA Director William Burns is expected in Doha on Wednesday, according to a source close to the negotiations , while, according to the American site Axios, Joe Biden's special adviser for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, is due to go to Cairo.

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The war was sparked by the attack on southern Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, most of them civilians killed that day, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

Of the 251 people taken as hostages on the day of attack, 120 are still detained in Gaza, of whom 41 died according to the Israeli army. A truce in November allowed the release of around a hundred hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

In response, the Israeli army launched a deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip which has so far killed 36,586 people, mainly civilians, including 36 in 24 hours, according to data from the Gaza government's Ministry of Health. led by Hamas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the “total annihilation of the civilian population” in Gaza on Wednesday during a meeting with agencies press, including AFP.

“Catastrophic” situation

L The offensive on Rafah, which pushed a million Palestinians, according to the UN, to flee the city, also led to the closure of the crossing point with Egypt, essential for the entry of international aid into the territory besieged.

The Israeli army said on Wednesday that it was continuing its activities in the Rafah area, where clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups took place in the center of the city, according to witnesses.

“Conditions are catastrophic in Rafah, where the Israeli army is working to destroy […] everything that allows life in these areas and in the Gaza Strip in general,” assured AFP Moustafa Ibrahim, a 60-year-old displaced Palestinian.

Israeli authorities indicated on Tuesday that the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing, another crossing into the Gaza Strip, was at “full capacity”.

But the humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza remains insufficient and its delivery inside the territory is made almost impossible by the bombings and the fighting, according to humanitarian organizations.

On another front, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel was “ready for a very intense operation” on the border with Lebanon, where the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah exchanges fire daily with the Israeli army. , in support of Hamas.

The US State Department warned after these remarks against an “escalation” in Lebanon, “which would significantly harm security” of Israel.

The UN said it was “very concerned” about tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border and called on the various parties to de-escalate.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116