The UN affirmed Friday that "much more" of people were "soon to die" à Gaza in because of the imposed seat by Israel, who led the a new ground raid in the Palestinian territory with a view to a ground offensive in response to; the bloody Hamas attack.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped, in disastrous humanitarian conditions, in the small territory relentlessly bombarded by Israel since the attack, unprecedented in its history, carried out on October 7 on its soil by the Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip.
“Many more” people “will soon die” in the Gaza Strip, warned Friday in Jerusalem the director of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, due to the siege imposed by Israel in retaliation for the attack, which deprives the territory of water, electricity and food.
Gaza is in urgent need of “significant and continuous” humanitarian aid, added Philippe Lazzarini, confirming the death of 57 of its employees in the Palestinian territory since the start of the war.
More than 7,000 people, according to Hamas, mostly civilians including around 3,000 children, have been killed by bombings in the Gaza Strip over the past three weeks. Around 1,400 people were killed in Israel, according to authorities, including a thousand civilians killed by Hamas commandos on the day of the attack.
– Hamas sites destroyed –
The Israeli army announced Friday that it had carried out a new “targeted raid” against Hamas with ground forces supported by combat aircraft and drones in the center of the Gaza Strip, before leaving the territory.
The incursion took place overnight according to black and white images released by the army showing a column of armored vehicles as a thick cloud of smoke rose into the sky after strikes.
< p>Hamas sites were simultaneously bombed “across the Gaza Strip”, where rocket launch pads and Hamas command centers were destroyed, according to the army.
A first night incursion with tanks had been carried out the day before in the north of the Gaza Strip.
The army is carrying out these incursions in anticipation of a probable ground offensive against Hamas, mentioned on multiple occasions by Israeli political and military leaders.
The prospect of such an offensive in this overpopulated territory worries the international community and calls for Israel to spare civilians are increasing.
Israel said it wanted to “annihilate” Hamas after the October 7 attack. That day, in the middle of Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest, and on the last day of the Sukkot holiday, hundreds of fighters from the Islamist movement infiltrated Israeli soil from the Gaza Strip, sowing terror.
According to the Israeli army, 229 hostages, Israeli, binational or foreign, were kidnapped during this attack by Hamas, which has released four women to date.
Hamas estimated Thursday that “nearly 50” hostages had been killed in the Israeli bombings.
– “Humanitarian corridors” –
In the Gaza Strip, populated by 2.4 million inhabitants, humanitarian aid is arriving in trickles, in very insufficient quantities according to the UN.
The United Nations is calling for urgent delivery of fuel to operate hospital generators, overwhelmed by the influx of thousands of injured people, who lack medicines and anesthetics in particular.
Since October 21, 74 aid trucks have arrived from Egypt, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) on Thursday evening. Much less than the 500 trucks daily that reached Gaza before the conflict.
This poor territory of 362 square kilometers, subject to an Israeli land, air and sea blockade since Hamas took power there in 2007, has been placed since October 9 under a state of “complete siege” by Israel, which has cut off water, electricity and food supplies.
Faced with this situation, European Union leaders on Thursday called for “breaks” in the conflict as well as the opening of humanitarian corridors to facilitate the delivery of international aid.
The The White House also suggested “pauses” on Tuesday, rather than a ceasefire which “at this stage would only benefit Hamas”, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. /p>
An Israeli soldier places a flag on a tank during a military exercise in the Galilee, near the border with Lebanon, October 26, 2023 © AFP – Jalaa MAREY
According to Ocha, citing the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza, 45% of homes were “damaged or destroyed” in the Gaza Strip, where entire neighborhoods were razed by bombings.
Since October 15, the Israeli army has called on the population of the north of the territory, where the bombings are the most intense, to evacuate to the south. At least 1.4 million Palestinians have fled their homes since the start of the war, according to the UN.
But the strikes also continue to affect the south, where several hundred thousand civilians are massed. near the closed Egyptian border.
According to the UN, however, some 30,000 displaced people have returned to the north of the territory in recent days.
“We are returning to die in our homes. It will be more dignified,” said Abdallah Ayyad, who after taking refuge in a hospital in Deir el-Balah, returns to Gaza City, with his wife and their five daughters, packed in the trailer of a scooter.
– American strikes –
Destructions in the Gaza Strip as of October 24 © AFP – Sabrina BLANCHARD, Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA
The international community fears a conflagration in the region, while Iran, a powerful supporter of Hamas, has issued several warnings to the United States, Israel's ally.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that the United States carried out strikes on Thursday against two facilities used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and “affiliated groups” in eastern Syria.
President Joe Biden had earlier sent a message to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warning him against any attacks targeting American troops.
Thursday, before the United Nations, the minister Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran did not want the conflict to expand. “But I warn that if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” he added, addressing the United States.
Tension is also very high in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, as well as on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where there are daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, supported by the 'Iran and ally of Hamas.
© AFP – MOHAMMED ABED
In the West Bank, more than a hundred Palestinians have been killed in violence since the October 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Calls for demonstrations, after Friday prayers, were launched in several cities, including Nablus and Hebron.
Four Palestinians were killed at dawn on Friday during incursions by the Israeli army into the north of the occupied West Bank, according to the official Palestinian agency Wafa.
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