Said Khatib Agence France-Presse The Gaza Strip, a poor and cramped territory crowded with 2.4 million Palestinians who have suffered a land, air and sea blockade since 2007, is deprived by Israel of water and electricity supplies and in food.
Shaun Tandon – Agence France-Presse and Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse respectively in Tel Aviv and Gaza
- Middle East
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Thursday that the Palestinian movement Hamas would be “crushed” like the jihadist group Islamic State, after receiving strong support from the United States in the war which has already left thousands dead.
“We will always be at your side,” assured American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after an interview with the Prime Minister, while considering that the “legitimate aspirations” of the Palestinians were not represented by the Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip.
“Just as ISIS was crushed, Hamas will be crushed,” said Mr. Netanyahu, suggesting a ground offensive in Gaza against Hamas, which launched a bloody attack of unprecedented scale on October 7 on Israeli territory and has since held 150 hostages.
Around 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed in this Hamas offensive, and 1,354 Palestinians according to local authorities, including many civilians, died in six days in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli strikes launched in response have transformed entire buildings into ruins.
An Israeli army spokesperson explained Thursday that it was preparing for a “ground maneuver” in Gaza, but that nothing “has yet been decided.”
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During the night, Israel again shelled the Gaza Strip, from which several salvos of rockets launched towards the south of the country then towards Tel Aviv. Hamas claimed to be responding to strikes targeting “civilians” in two refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.
AFP correspondents witnessed dozens of airstrikes targeting the camp of Al-Shati and northern Gaza.
A great ally of Israel, American President Joe Biden had, however, asked the country to respect “the laws of war” in its response, while Washington has already provided it with additional military aid.
“You You may be strong enough to defend yourself, but as long as the United States exists, you will never have to do that,” Antony Blinken told Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.
Secretary of State must also meet Friday in Jordan with King Abdullah II and the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.
Momentum of solidarity
At dawn on October 7, in the middle of Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest, and on the last day of the Sukkot holiday, hundreds of Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip in vehicles, by air and by sea. sea, sowing terror under a deluge of rockets.
In the streets, in the houses, even bursting into a music festival, they killed more than a thousand civilians during this attack. 'extreme violence on a scale not seen since the creation of Israel in 1948.
Israel responded by declaring a war to destroy Hamas's capabilities, relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip and deploying tens of thousands of troops around the territory, in the south of the country, and on its northern border with Lebanon. p>
Photo: Erik Marmor Associated Press Israeli tanks on the move near the Gaza Strip
After the attack, the army claimed to have recovered the bodies of 1,500 infiltrated Palestinian fighters.
Sign of tensions around 'Israel, exchanges of fire are frequent on both sides of the Lebanese border with pro-Iranian Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas and Syria.
And Israeli airstrikes on Thursday knocked out Syria's two main airports, that of the capital Damascus and that of Aleppo in the north, according to Syrian media.
The Hamas offensive triggered an immense outpouring of solidarity in Israel. “Everyone is affected in Israel, in the north, in the south, in Tel Aviv,” confides Joanna Ouisman, a 38-year-old finance executive, as she drops off two huge bags filled with children's books in a shopping center in Tel Aviv.
“No one,” she said, “can witness this barbarity and remain indifferent.”
The threatened hostages
At the entrance to the kibbutz Beeri, less than five kilometers from the border with Gaza, a pile of corpses testifies to the scale of the attack where more than a hundred residents were killed, according to the army.
“The devastation here is absolutely immense,” laments Doron Spielman, spokesperson for the Israeli army. “And that’s without counting the many members of the kibbutz who were taken hostage and taken to Gaza,” added another spokesperson, Jonathan Cornicus.
During this offensive, Hamas kidnapped several dozen Israeli, foreign and binational hostages, whom he threatened to execute.
Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said Thursday that his country would not authorize the entry of basic necessities or humanitarian aid into Gaza, placed in a state of siege, until Hamas frees the hostages.
“No electrical switches will be turned on, no water taps will be turned on and no fuel trucks will enter until the kidnapped Israelis return home,” he said.
Israeli authorities identify 150 hostages, while hundreds of people are still missing and bodies are being identified.
Among these hostages are young people captured during a music festival where Palestinian fighters broke into Saturday, killing 270 people according to authorities.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday that he was in contact with Hamas to work for the release of the hostages.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also launched a process of negotiations with the Islamist organization, according to an official source.
The Gaza Strip, a poor and cramped territory crowded with 2.4 million Palestinians who have suffered a land, air and sea blockade since 2007, is now deprived of water, electricity and food supplies, cut off by Israel .
The territory's only power plant is shut down due to lack of fuel.
Hospitals in danger
Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC's regional director for the Near and Middle East region, called on both sides to “reduce the suffering of civilians”, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
“Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues,” he said, saying he feared in particular for newborns placed in incubators and patients on oxygen or dialysis.
To Gaza, where more than 338,000 people were displaced by strikes according to the UN, bombings hit dozens of buildings, factories, mosques and stores, according to Hamas.
Concentrations of troops on the border raise fears of a ground offensive on the territory, from which Israel unilaterally withdrew in 2005 and which has been governed by Hamas since 2007.
A terrifying prospect of fighting in the heartland of a city with an extremely dense population, in underground passages and in the presence of hostages.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi called on “Muslim and Arab countries” to “coordinate” to “ stop Israel's crimes against Gaza. Iran supports Hamas financially and militarily but insists it was not involved in the October 7 attack.