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New deadly Israeli strikes in Gaza

Photo: Agence France-Presse A Palestinian man sits in front of a destroyed building in the town of Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip.

Sophie Makris – Agence France-Presse and Mohammed Abed respectively in Gaza and Jerusalem

Posted at 2:46 p.m.

  • Middle East

The Israeli army carried out new raids in Gaza on Thursday which killed dozens of Palestinians including women and children, Hamas said, the day Western powers strengthened sanctions against 'Iran after its attack on Israel.

Alarming statements have multiplied after Israel's threat to respond to Iran's first direct drone and missile attack against Israeli territory launched on April 13 in response to a deadly strike blamed on Israel against its consulate in Damascus.

In Tehran, a senior official of the Revolutionary Guards, General Ahmad Haghtalab, warned Israel against the possibility of an attack on its nuclear sites, saying that his country was ready to launch “powerful missiles” at “enemy nuclear installations” in retaliation.

“We are on the verge of a war in the Middle East which will send shock waves through the rest of the world,” warned the head of diplomacy of the European Union Josep Borrell.

The Middle East is on the edge of the “precipice” of a “generalized regional conflict”, added UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres before the Security Council.

While the region is already shaken by the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas in Gaza, Mr. Guterres denounced the “humanitarian hell” created by Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territory which have in more than six months 33,970 deaths, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Israel's campaign of intensive aerial bombardment, followed by a ground offensive, was triggered by an attack on October 7 by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza into southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, majority of civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data.

More than 250 people were kidnapped during the unprecedented attack and 129 remain held in Gaza, 34 of whom died according to Israeli officials.

Before dawn, Israeli strikes targeted the small strip of land besieged by Israel since October 9 and where the majority of 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine according to the UN.

In the last 24 hours, at least 71 additional deaths have been recorded according to the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas took power in 2007.< /p>

“It’s horrible”

“We recovered the remains of 12 people,” said Abdeljabbar al-Arja, after searching the rubble of a house hit by a strike in Rafah where 1.5 million people, the majority displaced by the war, were crowded together.

“There were women and children, we found arms and feet. They were all torn to pieces. It’s horrible,” he exclaimed.

Bombardings also hit the Al-Mawasi camp, near Rafah, which has become a camp with thousands of tents sheltering displaced people.

“Our land has been razed, our house destroyed […] Our hopes and dreams have been shattered,” said Shams Majid, 22, a displaced person.

The Israeli army said it struck dozens of “targets” in the Gaza Strip, including “terrorists, observation posts and military structures”.

“Death, destruction”

Mr. Guterres spoke to the Security Council of two million Palestinians enduring “death, destruction, denial of vital humanitarian aid”. “And all this is happening with significant limits imposed by Israeli authorities on the delivery of aid to the people of Gaza, who face widespread hunger. »

He reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages.

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Talks on a truce in Gaza combined with the release of hostages have stalled for months, with the protagonists accusing each other of blocking them.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to continue the war until the destruction of Hamas, which he considers a terrorist organization, as do the United States and the EU. He is determined to launch a ground offensive against Rafah, presented as the last great bastion of Hamas.

Mr. Netanyahu rejected “allegations of a famine in Gaza” and affirmed that Israel was doing “everything possible on the humanitarian issue”.

“Different answer”

The Israeli Prime Minister is fighting on another front, against the Islamic Republic of Iran, his sworn enemy.

By attacking Israel, Iran said it was acting in “self-defense” after the attack which destroyed its consulate in Damascus on April 1 and cost the lives of seven of its soldiers, including two senior officers. . Tehran accused Israel, which neither confirmed nor denied.

Iranian leaders then stressed that they were “not seeking an expansion of tensions” with Israel.

Israel said it had intercepted with its allies almost all of the approximately 350 Iranian drones and missiles, and affirmed that the Iranian attack would not go “unpunished”.

According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Netanyahu decided against plans for rapid retaliatory strikes after speaking with US President Joe Biden, who is seeking to avoid further confrontation.

“There will be a response but it will be different from what was initially planned,” a senior official told the channel.

Meanwhile, the United States, Israel's staunch ally, and the United Kingdom announced that they had strengthened their sanctions against Iran, targeting “Iran's drone program, the steel industry and Car manufacturers “. The EU also announced new sanctions against Tehran.

“We are holding Iran accountable,” Joe Biden said.

Iran warns Israel against attack on its nuclear sites

A senior Iranian military official on Thursday warned Israel of the possibility of an attack on its nuclear sites, saying Iran was prepared to launch “powerful missiles” at Israeli nuclear facilities in retaliation.< /p>

“If the Zionist regime wants to take action against our nuclear centers and facilities, it will certainly face our reaction. For the counterattack, the regime's nuclear facilities will be targeted with advanced weaponry,” warned General Ahmad Haghtalab, head of the nuclear security division within the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), quoted by the official agency Irna.

General Haghtalab specified that “the nuclear centers of the Zionist enemy” were “identified” and that Tehran had “the necessary information on all targets”. “Hands are on the trigger to fire powerful missiles for the total destruction of determined targets,” he warned, according to Irna.

Israel accuses Iran – which denies it – of wanting to acquire an atomic bomb and says it is seeking by all means to prevent it. For its part, Israel is considered a nuclear power but it has never confirmed or denied its capacity to use the atom for military purposes.

The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said on Monday that Iran had closed its nuclear facilities “for security reasons” on the day of its attack against Israel.

Another senior Iranian officer said Thursday that his country had used only “old weapons and minimal power” for its attack last weekend. “We have overcome the maximum capacity of the Hebrew and Western camp with minimal power at this point,” said General Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Forces, which led the operation.

“At this stage, we have not used the Khorramshahr, Sajil, Haj Qasem, Kheibar and Hypersonic II missiles,” he clarified.

Iran has so far not specified the number of drones and ballistic missiles fired towards Israel, nor their type.

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