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No respite in Gaza where the war has entered its 200th day

Photo: Agence France-Presse A man carries humanitarian aid parachuted into the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

France Media Agency

Posted at 8:07 a.m. Updated at 1:10 p.m.

  • Middle East

Deadly Israeli bombings targeted the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the 200th day of the war between Israel and Hamas which shows no sign of respite, despite multiple calls for a truce and the release of hostages.

Many foreign capitals and humanitarian organizations are concerned about the ongoing preparations for an Israeli offensive on the city of Rafah, in the south of the besieged Palestinian territory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated objective despite the presence of a million and a half people, residents and displaced people.

“After 200 days, the enemy remains trapped in the sands of Gaza. Without a goal, without a horizon, without the illusion of victory or the release of prisoners,” said the spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing, Abou Obeida, on Tuesday.

“We will continue to strike and resist as long as the occupation's aggression continues on a single centimeter of our land,” he added in a televised statement.

< p>Benjamin Netanyahu assured him on Monday that his “determination” to obtain the release of the hostages held in Gaza remained “unshakeable”.

The Ministry of Health of Islamist movement counted 32 deaths in 24 hours across the Gaza Strip, where airstrikes and artillery fire targeted the Boureij and Nousseirat sectors in the center, according to an AFP correspondent.

Images shot by AFP also showed bombings on Jabaliya in the north, while the army said it had struck several Hamas positions in the south of Gaza.

No respite in Gaza where the war has entered its 200th day

Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg Associated Press Relatives of Israeli hostages still held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip lay on the ground, their hands painted red, to demand their release on Tuesday in Tel Aviv.

Passover “Pain”

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza, which led to the death of 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report established using official Israeli data.

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

Assuming “responsibility” for the failure to prevent this attack, the bloodiest in Israel's history, the head of Israeli military intelligence, General Aharon Haliva, announced his resignation on Monday.

In response, Israel has promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, and is leading a military offensive that has so far killed 34,183 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for the release of the hostages. “For 200 days, the world stopped for their families […],” she wrote on X. “Until the hostages are freed, we will not let go.”

Qatar, which along with Egypt and the United States is trying to secure a truce associated with the release of the hostages, said on Tuesday that the Hamas political office would remain based in Doha as long as its presence was “useful and positive” in the mediation effort.

Faced with stalled negotiations, the Gulf emirate said last week “reassess” its role as mediator, fueling speculation about a possible departure from Hamas.

Monday evening, the traditional Seder meal, which marks the start of the Jewish Passover, was overshadowed by the absence of the hostages.

“I can’t imagine celebrating Passover, the holiday of freedom, without my son,” said Dalit Shtivi, the mother of a hostage, quoted by the forum families of hostages and the missing. “It’s so hard. I can’t explain the pain,” she added.

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“In the line of fire”

To defeat Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States United and the European Union in particular, and free all the hostages, Benjamin Netanyahu continues to announce an upcoming offensive on Rafah.

Israel considers this border town with Egypt as the last major bastion of the Islamist movement, which maintains four battalions there.

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

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

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he was studying a “series of measures to be taken in preparation for operations in Rafah, in particularly on the evacuation of civilians”.

But the planned offensive arouses the disapproval of the international community, starting with Washington, which fears a bloodbath.

The British organization Oxfam published on 3 April, with twelve NGOs, a call for a ceasefire, recalling that 1.3 million civilians, including at least 610,000 children, were in Rafah “directly in the line of fire”.

Others are concerned about the delivery of humanitarian aid, which arrives mainly from Egypt in the territory threatened by famine. An offensive “would cut us off from our vital artery: the Rafah crossing,” explained Ahmed Bayram, spokesperson for the NGO Norwegian Refugee Council in the Middle East.

“Climate of impunity”

On Tuesday, the UN called for an international investigation into mass graves discovered at Gaza's two main hospitals, al-Chifa and Nasser, stressing the need for an independent investigation in the face of the current “climate of impunity.”< /p>

Gaza Civil Defense claimed to have exhumed in recent days 340 bodies of people killed and buried by Israeli forces in mass graves inside Khan's Nasser Hospital Younès.

The army denied on Tuesday having buried bodies, saying that it had, during its operations in the Nasser hospital, examined bodies “buried by Palestinians”. to determine if any hostages were among them.

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