France Media Agency The Israeli offensive has left 22,835 dead in the besieged Gaza Strip, mainly civilians, according to a latest report from Hamas. The bombings there destroyed entire neighborhoods, forced 85% of the population to flee and caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis according to the UN.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Joseph Boyle – Agence France-Presse respectively in Gaza and Jerusalem
January 7, 2024
- Middle East
The war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas entered its 4th month on Sunday with no sign of respite, with the Israeli army carrying out deadly new strikes in Gaza and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken working to avoid a regional conflagration.
Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after its unprecedented attack on its territory on October 7, which killed around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of the Israeli toll. Around 250 people were kidnapped, including around a hundred released during a truce at the end of November.
The Israeli offensive has left 22,835 dead in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the latest Hamas report. Bombings there razed entire neighborhoods, displaced 85% of the population and caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis according to the UN.
Al Jazeera announced the death of two of its journalists in Gaza, Moustafa Thuraya, a freelance videographer also working with the AFP, and Hamza Waël Dahdouh, killed according to it on Sunday by an Israeli strike on their car .
The Qatari channel accused the Israeli army of “targeting” Palestinian journalists in Gaza, after the deaths of the two reporters, including the son of the head of its bureau in the Palestinian territory, Wael Dahdouh, who had already lost his wife and two of his children at the end of October in an Israeli strike.
Photo: Agence France-Presse Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh and his daughter at the funeral of journalist Hamza Waël Dahdouh.
“The world should see with two eyes, not with one Israeli eye, it should see everything that happens to the Palestinian people […], but the world turns a blind eye to what is happening in the Gaza Strip,” denounced this last, in tears, after the funeral of his son in Rafah.
During the night, the Israeli army carried out several strikes, including at least six in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, noted an AFP correspondent. According to the Hamas Minister of Health, at least 64 people were killed in these bombings.
According to witnesses, Khan Younes, the main town in southern Gaza and the new epicenter of the fighting, was also bombed.
In the occupied West Bank, eight Palestinians were killed on Sunday, including seven in a new Israeli raid in Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions in this territory where the violence also left two Israelis dead, a policewoman and a civilian, Palestinian sources said. and Israeli.
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“Never Again” October 7
The army, which launched its ground offensive on October 27 in the Gaza Strip, announced on Saturday that it had “completed the dismantling of the Hamas military structure in the North”, specifying that it was focusing “from now on in the center and south” of the territory.
Classified as a “terrorist group” by the United States and the European Union, Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, two years after Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the territory, which it then subjected to a blockade for 16 years old and under siege since October 9.
Despite international pressure and calls for a ceasefire, Israel remains inflexible.
“I have a clear message to our enemies: what happened on October 7 will never happen again,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.
“This is my government’s commitment […]. We must continue until total victory,” he continued.
In this context, Antony Blinken, whose country is Israel's primary political and military supporter, spoke near Doha with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
The wealthy Gulf state, where Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is based, played a key role in brokering a week-long ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages and of Palestinian prisoners at the end of November.
“Negotiations between the Qataris, Israel and Hamas regarding the release of hostages in Gaza continue,” a well-informed source told AFP.
Mr. Blinken, who is starting a new tour of Arab countries and Israel, had previously met King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman.
According to a Royal Palace statement, the Hashemite ruler called on the United States to pressure Israel for an “immediate ceasefire,” warning of “catastrophic repercussions” of continued hostilities.
He hammered home “Jordan's total rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”, after statements by Israeli ministers advocating a return of Jewish settlers to Gaza.< /p>
Anthony Blinken reaffirmed the United States' opposition to such a design, according to a statement from the US State Department.
“Endless cycle of violence”
Visiting a World Food Program (WFP) center in Jordan, he also stressed that it was “imperative to maximize humanitarian assistance to Gaza”.
On Saturday, Anthony Blinken called for avoiding at all costs a conflagration in the region and preventing “an endless cycle of violence”, stressing in particular the need “to work towards lasting regional peace and to move towards the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Since October 7, there have been almost daily exchanges of fire between Lebanese Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and Israeli forces on the Israeli-Lebanese border. In Syria and Iraq, attacks on US military bases have also increased, while Houthi rebels in Yemen are carrying out attacks on ships in the Red Sea in support of the Palestinians.
Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets on Saturday at a military base in northern Israel, an attack presented as its first response to the elimination, attributed to Israel, of Hamas number two Saleh al -Arouri, killed Tuesday in a strike in Beirut.
In the Gaza Strip, which according to the UN has become “simply uninhabitable”, “a place of death and despair”, the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that it had evacuated its staff from a hospital in the center of the Gaza Strip on Sunday. territory.
“Some of our team members living in the neighborhood were not even able to leave their homes due to the constant threats from drones and snipers,” said Carolina Lopez, a member of MSF.