The Israeli army, which is preparing to attack a land offensive, announced Saturday to intensify its strikes on the Gaza Strip carried out for two weeks in response to the bloody attack by Hamas, a few hours after the entry of a first humanitarian aid convoy, coming from Egypt, into the Palestinian territory.
The Rafah border crossing, the only exit from the Gaza Strip not to be controlled by Israel, closed, according to witnesses, after the passage of this convoy of 20 trucks, largely insufficient according to the UN for whom it would require at least 100 trucks per day to meet the needs of the territory's 2.4 million inhabitants.
Israel, which has promised to “annihilate” Hamas, is meanwhile preparing for an offensive ground in Gaza against the Islamist movement. The army wants to “increase strikes” on the territory, said a spokesperson.
“This is a test for our civilization and we will win,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Saturday evening during a meeting with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni in Tel Aviv.
Saturday, the Israeli bombardment continued on Gaza and rocket fire from Palestinian groups continued to target Israel.
Several Israeli army officials visited the troops, emphasizing the preparedness of the armed forces.
Aerial view of trucks transporting humanitarian aid from Egypt and arriving at a storage area in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on October 21, 2023 © AFP – Belal Al SABBAGH < p>“We are going to enter Gaza, we are going to do it for an operational purpose, to destroy the infrastructure and the Hamas terrorists, and we are going to do it in a professional manner,” declared the head of state during a troop review. Major Herzi Halevi.
“Gaza is complex, Gaza is densely populated, the enemy is preparing a lot of things there, but we are also preparing for him,” warned the senior officer. “And we will keep in mind the photographs and images, as well as the deaths of two weeks ago.”
– “Catastrophic” situation –
In the Gaza Strip, where a million Palestinians according to the UN have fled bombings in the north to mass in the south, near the border with Egypt, the situation is “catastrophic”, five agencies said on Saturday of the United Nations.
“Time is running out before mortality rates skyrocket due to the outbreak of disease and lack of health care capacity,” they warned. agencies.
Palestinians inspect rubble after an Israeli strike near a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Khan Younes, in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 21, 2023 © ; AFP – Mahmud HAMS
“A massive delivery of aid is necessary,” launched UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a “Peace Summit” organized on Saturday in Cairo in the presence of several regional and Western leaders, calling for a “ humanitarian ceasefire” to “end the nightmare” of the population.
US President Joe Biden on Saturday urged all parties to the conflict to continue to let in humanitarian aid, ” a critical necessity,” in the Gaza Strip.
Asked by a reporter whether he encouraged Israel to delay an invasion of the Gaza Strip, Mr. Biden simply responded: “I'm talking to the Israelis.”
Aerial view of trucks transporting humanitarian aid from Egypt and arriving at a storage area in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on October 21, 2023 © AFP – Belal Al SABBAGH < p>Subject to an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since Hamas took power there in 2007, the Gaza Strip, a poor and cramped territory of 362 square kilometers, has been placed under “complete siege” since October 9. by Israel which cut off water, electricity and food supplies.
More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel by Hamas men since October 7, the majority civilians. mowed down by bullets, burned alive or died of mutilation on the day of the attack carried out from the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli army announced that it had found the bodies of 1,500 Hamas fighters in the towns it regained control of after this attack, the deadliest since the creation of Israel in 1948.
L humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip © AFP – Maxence D'AVERSA, Laurence SAUBADU
In the Gaza Strip, 4,385 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the incessant bombings carried out in retaliation by the Israeli army, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
Hamas, classified as an organization terrorist by the United States, the European Union and Israel, also holds 210 hostages, according to the army.
On Friday, the Islamist movement released the first two hostages, an American mother and daughter, Judith and Natalie Raanan, via mediation from Qatar, where the Hamas political office is based.
Qatar considers possible a release “very soon” of the hostages thanks to ongoing discussions, declared the spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an interview on Saturday with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
The UN reiterated its for his part his call for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all those kidnapped by Hamas.
– Conditional agreement –
On Saturday, according to AFP journalists, a first convoy of 20 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent, responsible for delivering aid sent by several UN agencies, was able to enter the Gaza Strip. p>
Visiting Israel on Wednesday, Mr. Biden indicated that this country had given the green light for the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza, thus responding to the request of the international community. The American president also obtained the agreement of Egypt.
“Israel will not prevent humanitarian aid from Egypt as long as it involves food, water and medicine for the civilian population in the south of the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli office later confirmed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel, however, affirmed that it would not allow the entry of basic necessities or humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through its territory as long as Hamas does not would not have released the hostages.
– “44,000 bottles of water” –
King Abdullah II of Jordan during the “Peace Summit” on the 15th day of war between Israel and Hamas, October 21, 2023 in Cairo © AFP – Khaled DESOUKI
The convoy that entered on Saturday, carrying water, canned goods and medical supplies, “is far below the needs of the Gaza Strip”, assured a spokesperson for the Hamas government, Salameh Maarouf, specifying that normally some 500 trucks passed through the Palestinian territory every day.
More than 44,000 bottles of drinking water, “just enough for 22,000 people for a day”, were transported to Gaza, said UN.
The UN particularly insisted on the need to deliver fuel, vital for the Palestinian territory.
On Saturday, the Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian leaders meeting in Egypt, alongside Europeans Charles Michel and Josep Borrell, pleaded for a “ceasefire” and a “solution” to 75 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We will not leave” Palestinian lands, affirmed the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, while Cairo and Amman are up in arms against the evacuation of the inhabitants of Gaza towards the south of the territory claimed by Israel.
Palestinians in the rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, October 21, 2023 in the south of the Gaza Strip © AFP – SAID KHATIB
They see it as a first step towards ” a forced displacement” towards the Egyptian Sinai which would, according to Mr. Abbas, amount to “a second Nakba (catastrophe, in Arabic)”, in reference to the 760,000 Palestinians pushed into exile after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Another source of tension, the northern region of Israel bordering Lebanon is emptying of its inhabitants. Exchanges of fire are increasing between the Israeli army and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas.
Hezbollah announced on Saturday that four of its fighters had been killed. Israel, for its part, indicated that three soldiers had been injured by an anti-tank missile fire, one of them seriously.
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