France Media Agency The UN estimates that 1.9 million people, or nearly 85% of the population of the Gaza Strip, have had to leave their homes.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Joseph Boyle – Agence France-Presse respectively in Gaza and Jerusalem
January 14, 2024
- Middle East
Israel bombed the Gaza Strip on Sunday on the 100th day of war against the Palestinian movement Hamas, which is plunging the population of this territory into a major humanitarian crisis and raising fears of a regional conflagration.
“No one will stop us, neither The Hague nor the “Axis of Evil” nor anyone else,” Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Saturday evening, while his country rejects accusations of genocide before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, seized by South Africa.
Israel is also facing attacks on its northern border from the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah, which is part of the “axis of resistance” set up by Iran and including groups armed forces hostile to Israel and its ally, the United States.
The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israeli soil from the Gaza Strip, killing around 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally at from the Israeli record.
Some 250 people were taken hostage during this attack, according to Israeli authorities. About a hundred were released under a truce at the end of November, and relatives of those still captive are increasing pressure for them to be released.
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In retaliation for the attack, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, classified as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The incessant bombardments and exchanges of fire on the narrow strip of land have killed at least 23,968 people, mainly women, adolescents and children, according to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.
“Death” and “destruction”
Thick clouds of smoke rose on Sunday morning above the towns of Rafah and Khan Younes, in the south, according to an AFP correspondent.
Photo: Agence France-Presse
According to the Hamas government media office, more than 100 people were killed in nightly Israeli bombardments across the territory, including in Khan Younes.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, spoke of fighting in particular in Al-Maghazi, Deir Al-Balah (center) and Khan Younès.
The Israeli army has said in recent days that it is concentrating its operations against Hamas on this last town located in the south of the territory where hundreds of thousands of civilians are massed after fleeing massive bombings in the north territory at the start of the war.
She reported the death of a soldier on Sunday, bringing to 188 the number of soldiers killed since the start of ground operations in Gaza on October 27.
The Israeli blockade, reinforced with the war, is causing serious shortages of food and fuel throughout the Gaza Strip.
“The massive death, destruction, displacement, hunger, loss and grief of the past 100 days taint our common humanity,” said the head of the UN's Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA). ), Philippe Lazzarini, visiting the besieged coastal territory.
The rain and the cold complicate the daily survival of families, who camp in the courtyard of the al-Nasser medical complex, in Khan Younes.
The UN estimates that 1.9 million people, almost 85% of the population, have been forced to leave their homes.
Many are seeking refuge in the south of the territory, while the local Ministry of Health repeats that there is no infrastructure to accommodate them.
Moreover, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than half of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip are functioning, and often only partially.
Outside Gaza, fears of a regional conflagration are growing, with attacks in the region by armed groups supporting Hamas.
A man died Sunday in northern Israel, killed by an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon at a house in a border village, according to Israeli emergency medical services and the army. Hezbollah, for its part, said it had carried out six attacks on Israeli soil.
The Israeli army said earlier that it had killed “three terrorists” during the night who had infiltrated Israel from southern Lebanon, according to a lower toll.
Exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces have been almost daily since October 7.
Tensions have also increased in the Red Sea after new strikes against the Houthis, Yemeni rebels supported by Iran who are increasing attacks against ships allegedly linked to Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians.
The United States said its forces had reached a “radar site in Yemen” after rebel sites were hit by American and British strikes.
In the occupied West Bank, where violence has been on the rise since October 7, the Israeli army reported the arrest, for “incitement to terrorism”, of two sisters of Hamas's number two, Saleh al-Arouri, killed on January 2 in Lebanon in a drone attack attributed to the Israeli army.
Mobilization on the “place des otages”
In Israel, families and relatives of hostages continue their mobilization to obtain the return of their loved ones, trying to put pressure on the government.
Hundreds of thousands of people observed a 100-minute strike in the morning to mark 100 days of detention of the hostages, announced the major trade union center Histadrout.
“We are here to remind the whole world that 136 brutally abducted men and women are still in captivity […] in Gaza, in tunnels and cellars,” declared its leader Arnon Bar-David, during a rally in Tel Aviv.
Dozens of people gathered in a square renamed “hostage square”, some carrying yellow balloons, the color that has become the symbol of the captives, others carrying signs with their photos.
Concerts that began on Saturday evening continued on Sunday.
Bashir al-Zayadna, 27, whose uncle and cousin, Youssef and Hamza al-Zayadna, 53 and 22, are hostages, says he only hopes for one thing: to be able to hold his loved ones in his arms and “tell them it’s all over.”
On Sunday in Cairo, Egyptian and Chinese foreign ministers jointly called for a ceasefire and the creation of a “State of Palestine”.