France Media Agency On the ground in Gaza, an AFP correspondent reported intense nighttime bombings in the South, in Khan Younes, which had become the epicenter of the fighting.
Adel Zaanoun – Agence France-Presse and Anne-Sophie Labadie – Agence France-Presse Respectively to the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem
- Middle East
Dozens of people, according to Hamas, were killed in the Gaza Strip, the south of which was shelled on Saturday by the Israeli army, on the 99th day of the war between Israel and the Islamist movement Palestinian.
Since Friday, the conflict has spread to Yemen, with two episodes of US and British strikes against Houthi rebels who are attacking shipping in the Red Sea in “solidarity” with Gaza. China denounced the US-British operations on Saturday, saying through its representative to the United Nations that “this does not contribute to the protection of the safety and security of commercial ships and the freedom of navigation”.
On the ground in Gaza, an AFP correspondent reported intense nighttime bombings in the South, in Khan Younes, which has become the epicenter of the fighting, and in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of Gazans have fled clashes further north.
Israeli strikes left more than 60 dead, mostly women and children, and dozens injured, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, the movement which has controlled the small, besieged and overpopulated Palestinian territory since 2007.
At Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, bereaved residents try to identify their loved ones, in an improvised morgue, on the ground. In front of the alignment of bodies, a man holds the remains of a small child, wrapped in a white shroud.
“This is happening in an area that the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom present as safe,” complains Abu Saif, displaced “three or four times” since the start of the conflict .
Bassam Arafa, who fled the Bureij refugee camp, in the center of the coastal strip, holds up a photo of a little girl on his phone: “this little girl, what did she do to them? She died hungry, with a piece of bread in her hand.”
The Israeli army announced that it had destroyed dozens of rocket launch sites and killed four “terrorists” in Khan Yunis with airstrikes. In the center of the Gaza Strip, it also says it “eliminated armed terrorists” in a “Hamas command post”.
In Khan Younès, “the night was very difficult” told AFP forty-year-old Nabila Abu Zayed, who spent it “crowded with hundreds of displaced people in the corridors of the maternity ward” Al-Nasser hospital.
The rain and cold, which fell on the region, made the daily survival of her family, who camped in the hospital courtyard, even more difficult, she explains. “But where to go?”
Partial return of communications
International organizations tirelessly denounce the humanitarian disaster endured by the 2.4 million Gazans, 1.9 million of whom have had to flee their homes.
On Friday, communications and Internet services were also completely cut off, due to the Israeli side according to the Palestinian operator Paltel. Communications were partially restored on Saturday afternoon, according to an AFP journalist.
The lack of fuel also led to the shutdown of the main generator at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah (center), according to a source at the Ministry of Health Hamas.
Israel opposes the entry of fuel as humanitarian aid, citing the risk of diversion by Hamas, which it classifies as “terrorist” like the European Union and the United States.
Entering its 99th day on Saturday, the war was triggered by the unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 on Israeli soil, which left around 1,140 dead, mainly civilians, according to a count from AFP based on the Israeli assessment.
Some 250 people were taken hostage by Hamas, including around a hundred released during a truce at the end of November.
Military operations since then carried out in the Gaza Strip by Israel, which has sworn to annihilate the Palestinian Islamist movement, have killed 23,843 people and injured more than 60,300, according to the latest report on Saturday of the Hamas Ministry of Health.
In Rafah, strikes and deprivations did not prevent Afnan and Moustapha from uniting their destiny, even if the ceremony was kept to a minimum. “We are all experiencing the same tragedy. But we must continue to live, and life must continue,” Ayman Shamlakh, uncle of the groom, told AFP.
At the same time, negotiations continue on the fate of the hostages. Their relatives held a new gathering in Tel Aviv on Saturday, around a simulation of the tunnels peppering Gaza and used by Hamas for its operations.
Those detained will receive medication “in the coming days” under a deal brokered through Qatar, the Israeli prime minister's office announced Friday. A source close to Hamas confirmed to AFP that talks were held, but not their conclusion.
“It’s not enough,” judges Ella Ben Ami, mobilized in Tel Aviv for her father: “I want him at home, in a good care service, not treated by Hamas.”
The war in Gaza is also fueling violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border, in the occupied West Bank and in Syria and Iraq, where attacks on American bases have increased.
In the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said it had killed three people on Friday who attacked the Jewish colony of Adora, about twenty km from Hebron. According to the Palestinian Wafa agency, they are a 19-year-old and two teenagers.
In a separate incident in the northern West Bank, a 19-year-old Palestinian died after an Israeli army strike in the Tulkarem area, according to Wafa.
After two historic days of hearings, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands, must also render its decision, possibly in the coming weeks, after accusations of “genocide” were made by South Africa against Israel for its operations in the Gaza Strip.
Israel dismissed them as “totally distorted” and “malicious” on Friday.
The Court will initially rule only on the question of whether the fundamental rights of the inhabitants of Gaza are currently threatened.