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Israeli bombings and fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip

Photo: Mohammed Abed Agence France-Presse Israel continues to consider a ground offensive on Rafah, refuge for a million and a half Palestinians, despite warnings from many foreign capitals and humanitarian organizations.

France Media Agency in the Gaza Strip

Posted at 12:54 p.m. Updated at 5:56 p.m.

  • Middle East

Israel on Thursday bombed several areas of the Gaza Strip, such as the town of Rafah where the army is preparing for a ground operation in its war against Hamas, despite warnings from the international community .

Many foreign capitals and humanitarian organizations fear, in the event of an offensive, a bloodbath in this town in the south of the Gaza Strip bordering Egypt , refuge for nearly a million and a half Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says an offensive on the city is necessary to defeat Hamas and free hostages held in Gaza, the two main stated objectives of the war launched on October 7 in the Palestinian territory.< /p>

After six and a half months of bombing and ground fighting, Israel estimates that the Palestinian Islamist movement has four battalions grouped in Rafah.

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Government spokesman David Mencer announced Thursday that the war cabinet had met “to discuss ways to destroy the remaining Hamas battalions.”

Several Israeli media outlets, quoting officials without giving their names, reported that the cabinet had discussed a new truce plan combined with a hostage release, ahead of a planned visit Friday by an Egyptian delegation.

A Hamas political leader, Ghazi Hamad, for his part assured AFP on Thursday from Qatar that an assault on Rafah would not allow Israel to obtain “what 'he wants', 'eliminate Hamas or recover' the hostages.

Hamas warned 'Egypt, Qatar', two of the countries mediating in the conflict with the United States, as well as “other countries” of “the danger posed by an invasion of Rafah”, underlined Mr. Hamad.

“It’s gone too far”

The Israeli army announced Thursday that its planes had struck “30 Hamas targets” across the territory the day before and killed several fighters from the Islamist movement. The Hamas Health Ministry counted 43 deaths in 24 hours.

Fighting took place north of the Nousseirat refugee camp in the center of the strip of Gaza, according to witnesses.

AFP correspondents and witnesses also reported artillery fire and airstrikes on the Zeitoun neighborhood , in the south of Gaza City.

Airstrikes also hit Rafah, where survivors were trying to salvage items from the rubble on Thursday.

“Enough destruction, enough war. Enough bloodshed from children, women, the elderly and unarmed civilians […] it has gone too far. […] Let people live,” said one of them, Samir Daban, in the middle of the rubble.

“A hostage deal now »

According to Egyptian officials, cited by the Wall Street Journal, Israel is preparing to move civilians from Rafah to the nearby town of Khan Yunis, in particular, where it plans to set up shelters and food distribution centers.

This evacuation would last two to three weeks and would be carried out in particular in coordination with the United States. United States, Egypt and other Arab countries, according to these officials.

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack carried out from Gaza against Israel by Hamas commandos, which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official data

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain captive in Gaza, 34 of whom have died according to Israeli officials.

In retaliation, Israel promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, Canada and the European Union in particular.

Its vast military operation in the Gaza Strip has so far left 34,305 dead, mostly civilians, according to Hamas.

Israeli bombings and fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip

Photo: Leo Correa Associated Press An Israeli tank near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip

On Thursday, relatives of hostages demonstrated once again in Tel Aviv, to put pressure on the government to obtain their release.

Some had their hands tied and stained red, their mouths covered with a plaster marked with the number “202”, the number of days since October 7, or carried a sign with the words “A hostage agreement now.”

Hamas broadcast on Wednesday, on its Telegram channel, a video of a hostage, kidnapped in southern Israel during the Nova music festival. Apparently speaking under duress, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a 23-year-old Israeli-American, accuses Mr. Netanyahu and members of his government of having “abandoned” the hostages.

< p>Leaders of 18 countries, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Brazil, called on Hamas on Thursday for “the immediate release of all hostages.”

< p>“The agreement on the table to release the hostages would allow for an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza,” the text states.

A port under construction

As the besieged territory's 2.4 million residents face a humanitarian disaster, the United States has begun to build a temporary port and a pier facing the Gaza coast, which will allow military or civilian ships to drop off their aid cargoes.

American President Joe Biden announced in early March the construction of an artificial port in the face of difficulties in transporting international aid by land from Egypt, due to very strict controls imposed by Israel.

“Just 50 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, vital aid and equipment, including water desalination equipment, first aid kits, water canisters “Oxygen and mobile toilets […] remain outstanding in warehouses, banned from entering Gaza under the pretext that they can be used by fighters”, Francesca Albanese, UN special rapporteur for the Territories, said on Thursday. Palestinians.

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