Mahmud Hams Agence France-Presse Israel rejected calls for “humanitarian pauses” backed by Washington, demanding a release of hostages taken to Gaza on October 7 by the movement Palestinian Hamas during its attack.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse, Rosie Scammell – Agence France-Presse, Léon Bruneau – Agence France-Presse Respectively in Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and Amman
- Middle East
Fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters raged on Saturday in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian Islamist movement announced the suspension of evacuations of foreigners and dual nationals to Egypt.
US President Joe Biden on Saturday reported progress in securing a humanitarian pause in the war sparked by an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7. Asked if there was progress on this subject, Joe Biden responded “yes” with a thumbs up as he left the church.
Its head of diplomacy Antony Blinken met his counterparts from Arab countries in Amman, after a visit to Israel, and reiterated his call for “humanitarian pauses”, supposed to help protect civilians and channel more aid to the Strip of besieged Gaza.
He nevertheless reiterated that his country considered that a ceasefire would only “keep Hamas” in place, considered a “terrorist” group by the United States, the European Union and Israel. Mr. Blinken is due to travel to Turkey on Sunday, which has recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations.
Israel has rejected calls for “humanitarian pauses” backed by Washington, demanding a release of hostages taken to Gaza on October 7 by the Palestinian movement Hamas during its attack, on a scale unprecedented since the creation of Israel in 1948.
- Protesters take to the streets across Canada in support of the people of Gaza
- Giving birth in Gaza under “occupation”
- Israeli army carries out raids on Lebanese Hezbollah targets
In addition to ground fighting, Israeli aerial and artillery bombardments against the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas have not stopped, on the 29th day of the war, which has left thousands dead.
Israeli Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi inspected troops in the Gaza Strip, a first since the start of the war, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed to “find” and “d 'eliminate' the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinouar.
Mr. Gallant reported “difficult fighting inside the Gaza Strip” and said troops had entered “residential areas.”
“We are exhausted »
On Saturday, one of the Israeli bombings hit, according to Hamas, a UN school where displaced Palestinians were sheltering in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 15 people.
“The bombs fell on we people were cut into pieces, they are all dead or injured, we want a truce, please, we are exhausted,” said Sajda Maarouf, a Palestinian who found refuge in one of the schools.
After the evacuation in recent days from Gaza to Egypt of several hundred wounded, foreigners and dual nationals via the Rafah crossing point, the Hamas government suspended the evacuations due to Israel's refusal to let departure of the wounded Palestinians.
“No foreign passport holder will be able to leave until the wounded who need to be evacuated from hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip can be transported to the Rafah crossing,” he said. a crossing point administration official told AFP.
On Friday, the Israeli army announced that it had struck an ambulance in front of al-Shifa hospital, claiming it was being “used” by Hamas. This bombing left 15 dead, according to the Palestinian movement.
The targeted vehicle was part of an ambulance convoy which was preparing to transport the wounded to Rafah, according to Hamas.
UN boss Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” after this bombing.
“Mom save me”
According to a report published on Saturday by the Hamas government, 9,488 people, mainly civilians including 3,900 children, were killed by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip.
In Israel, at least 1,400 people were killed. killed according to the authorities since October 7, the majority of civilians massacred on the day of the Hamas attack. Hamas also holds 241 hostages, according to the army.
Gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, families of hostages demanded their release. “Five members of my family were kidnapped, taken from their beds,” including her 16-year-old daughter and her 12-year-old son, says Hadas Kalderon. “I hear my son every day shouting in my ear “Mommy save me”, that’s what I hear every day and I’m heartbroken. »
After the October 7 attack, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas.
On the ground, soldiers intensified their operations, seeking to destroy the Hamas “center” in Gaza City, according to the army. They suffered several attacks and killed “dozens of terrorists” in the north of the territory. They carried out a “targeted raid” in the south of the Gaza Strip killing enemy fighters “who were emerging from a tunnel”.
At least 29 soldiers have been killed since the start of the operation ground in Gaza on October 27, according to the army.
Hamas claimed to have targeted an Israeli military convoy with shells and inflicted “casualties on the enemy.”
< p>In Israel, particularly in the south bordering the Gaza Strip, rocket warning sirens sounded several times, the army said.
Demonstrations of support
In four weeks, Israeli bombings have caused immense destruction in Gaza and led, according to the UN, to the displacement of 1.4 million people.
D' according to an American official, 350,000 to 400,000 people are still in the north, where most of the fighting is concentrated.
The Gaza Strip, 362 square kilometers and 2.4 million inhabitants, has been placed under “complete siege” since October 9 by Israel, which has cut off supplies of water, electricity and food. This territory had already been subject to an Israeli blockade for more than 16 years.
On Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated in Europe, the United States and Canada, in support of the Palestinians. In London, 30,000 people according to the police demonstrated in Trafalgar Square to demand an “immediate ceasefire”.
On the Israeli-Lebanese border, several exchanges of fire took place, the army launching raids against Hezbollah targets and the Lebanese movement firing towards Israeli positions.
Since October 7, 72 people have died on the Lebanese side, according to an AFP count, including 54 fighters of Hezbollah. Six soldiers and one civilian were killed on the Israeli side.
In the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed by fire from Israeli soldiers or settlers since October 7, according to the Palestinian Authority.