The French President, Emmanuel Macron, visiting Israel on Tuesday, expressed his support for this country after the bloody attack carried out by Hamas and must also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip which left 140 dead according to the Islamist movement .
Israel, which is relentlessly shelling the Palestinian territory in response to the unprecedented Hamas attack launched on October 7 on its soil, has intensified its bombings as a prelude to a probable ground offensive.
After a visit to Israel where he affirmed that the first objective should be the release of hostages held by Hamas and called “not to widen” the conflict, Emmanuel Macron will go to Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, where he will be the first Western leader to meet Mahmoud Abbas at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority since the start of the war.
In Israel, the French president was to meet the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as his counterpart Isaac Herzog.
On Monday evening, Hamas released two of the hostages kidnapped on October 7 in Israel, while the United States ordered the Palestinian movement to release its hostages before any discussion on a truce.
p>The two women released, Yocheved Lifschitz, 85, and Nourit Kuper, 79, are of Israeli nationality and originally from Kibbutz Nir Oz.
This release comes three days after that of an American woman and her daughter.
Around 220 Israeli, foreign or binational hostages were identified by Israel, taken by Hamas to the Gaza Strip after their attack in full Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest, and on the last day of the Sukkot holidays.
Hundreds of Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel from Gaza, spreading terror in this unprecedented attack since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel , most civilians mowed down by bullets, burned or mutilated on the day of the attack, according to the authorities.
On Monday, Hamas claimed that 5,087 Palestinians, mostly civilians including 2,055 children, had been killed by Israeli retaliatory bombings since the start of the conflict, which destroyed entire neighborhoods and led to massive population displacement. This assessment could not be independently verified by AFP.
– “Complete dismantling” –
Israel has promised to “annihilate” Hamas, which took power in 2007 in the Gaza Strip, a poor territory subject to an Israeli land, air and sea blockade.
“We want to completely dismantle Hamas, its leaders, its military branch and its operating mechanisms,” declared Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, surrounded by several armed men, in a video posted on X by the Israeli army on the night of Monday to Tuesday.
The strikes have intensified in recent days on the territory of 362 square kilometers where 2.4 million Palestinians are crowded together, also subject to a siege which deprives them of food, water and electricity, imposed since October 9 by Israel.
Hamas announced Tuesday morning that at least 140 people had been killed during another night of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which also left “hundreds injured” and destroyed “dozens of homes.” /p>
The Israeli army announced that it had struck “more than 320 military targets” during the night from Sunday to Monday, infrastructure of Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad. These two groups are classified as “terrorists” by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
International aid began to arrive in dribs and drabs since Saturday via Egypt. On Monday, a third convoy crossed the border at Rafah, the only crossing point into Gaza that is not under Israeli control.
In total, around fifty trucks were able to enter in three days, while According to the UN, at least 100 are needed per day.
– 35 humanitarian workers killed –
Palestinian children at a food distribution at a UN-run school in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, on October 23, 2023 © AFP – MOHAMMED ABED
The United States, which obtained the agreement of Israel and Egypt to allow the aid to pass, announced on Sunday “that there would henceforth be a continuous flow”. But for the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, we need “more aid, more quickly” as well as a “humanitarian pause” to allow its distribution.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also called on Monday for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, where 35 employees of humanitarian organizations have died since the start of the conflict , including six in the last 24 hours, according to the UN.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, whose country has not explicitly condemned the Hamas attack, told his Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, in a telephone interview on Monday that “all countries (have) the right to defend oneself.” “The most urgent task now is to prevent the situation from getting worse,” he added.
Humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip © AFP – Maxence D'AVERSA, Laurence SAUBADU
The Israeli army continues its preparations for a ground offensive, massing soldiers on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and carrying out limited incursions there to target Hamas infrastructure and seek to locate missing or kidnapped people.
This prospect worries the international community which fears an escalation of the conflict.
Iran, ally of Hamas, warned that the situation risked becoming “uncontrollable” in the Middle East while the United States has strengthened its military presence in the region.
– Strikes on the south –
Since October 15, the Israeli army has called on civilians in the north of the Gaza Strip, where the bombardments are most intense, to flee to the south.
Victims of Israeli bombings buried on October 23, 2023 in Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip © AFP – Mahmud HAMS
However, the strikes also continue to affect the south, close to the Egyptian border, where the displaced are massed by the hundreds of thousands.
The humanitarian situation is “catastrophic”, warned the UN, in the territory where at least 1.4 million Palestinians have fled their homes.
“They put the torn body of my son in a blue bag, Cham was charred,” testified Ayman Abou Chamalah, a 34-year-old Palestinian survivor of a bombing in Rafah that killed two of his children and his wife.
In Lebanon, more than 19,000 people were displaced after an increase in clashes between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah, supported by Iran and ally of Hamas, at the border between the two countries, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The border area on the Israeli side was also evacuated.
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