Abed Khaled Associated Press In the Gaza Strip, thousands of buildings have been razed by the Israeli army and 1.4 million Palestinians have left their homes since Israel began its response to the Hamas massacres on October 7 .
Jonah Mandel – Agence France-Presse and Mai Yaghi – Agence France-Presse respectively in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip
- Middle East
Violent ground fighting pitted Hamas fighters against the Israeli army on Monday in the Gaza Strip, whose tanks carried out an operation on the edge of Gaza City, on the 24th day of the conflict triggered by the bloody attack of Palestinian Islamist movement in Israel.
The Gaza Strip, bombarded relentlessly by the Israeli army in retaliation for this attack which also saw Hamas take more than 230 people hostage, has been subjected since October 9 to a “complete siege” which deprives its 2.4 million inhabitants without water, food and electricity, which could constitute “a crime” according to the International Criminal Court.
This conflict has already left thousands dead, mostly civilians, and threatens to set the entire region ablaze.
Since Friday, Israel has intensified its bombings on Palestinian territory and its soldiers are also operating on the ground there. On Sunday, he announced that he had increased the number of troops and the scale of his operations with the aim of “annihilating” Hamas, which the Jewish state but also the United States and the EU consider to be a “terrorist” organization.
In this context, “more than 600 targets” have been struck in Gaza in the last 24 hours, the Israeli army announced Monday morning. Among these are “weapons depots” and dozens of anti-tank missile launch positions, according to the same source.
- 33 humanitarian aid trucks entered Gaza on Sunday, UN says
- The war against Hamas will be “long and difficult”
- For journalists in Gaza, “there is no place to run”
Shortly before, the Israeli army had claimed to have killed “dozens of terrorists who had barricaded themselves in buildings and tunnels and tried to attack them” during the night. A plane guided by soldiers on the ground targeted a building “with more than 20 Hamas terrorists inside,” according to her. Hamas reported “intense fighting” in the north of the Gaza Strip, without giving any figures.
Due to a lack of journalists in this sector, it was impossible for AFP to establish any. one from an independent source.
Hamas publishes a video of three women presented as hostages
Palestinian Hamas on Monday published a video of three women presented as hostages among those it he has been detained in the Gaza Strip since the bloody attack on an unprecedented scale perpetrated in Israel on October 7.
In this 76-second video, broadcast by Hamas media with the title “a number of Zionist detainees send a message to (Benjamin) Netanyahu and his government”, the three women can be seen sitting on plastic chairs.< /p>
One of them, seated in the middle, calls in an angry tone on the Israeli Prime Minister to conclude an exchange of prisoners with the Islamist movement to obtain their release.
Several Israeli media outlets published a screenshot of this video on their site, indicating that they would not broadcast it, judging that the comments made were dictated by Hamas.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday accused Hamas of “psychological manipulation” over the hostages it is holding after the Islamist movement said it was ready to release them in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners incarcerated by Israel.
“Dozens of Israeli tanks” near Gaza City
In the morning, witnesses told AFP by telephone that they had seen “dozens” of Israeli tanks carrying out an incursion into a neighborhood on the edge of Gaza City, 1.5 to 2 km inside Palestinian territory.
According to these sources, tanks, but also Israeli aircraft, bombed the Salaheddine road, a north-south road axis, over approximately one kilometer. After an hour, these forces withdrew towards the border, again according to witnesses.
Hamas tried to downplay it, its military wing adding that it responded by firing anti-tank shells in the direction “of two armored vehicles.”
In Jerusalem, rocket warning sirens sounded in the afternoon, and five detonations were heard without further information at this stage.
A few hours earlier, in the eastern part of the city, an area occupied and annexed by Israel, a Palestinian assailant was killed after a stabbing attack in which an Israeli police officer was seriously injured, according to Israeli police.
In Israel, according to the authorities, more than 1,400 people have died since October 7, mainly civilians killed on the day of the Hamas attack. The Islamist movement for its part affirms, in a latest report provided on Monday, that 8,306 people, mainly civilians, have been killed in Israeli bombings since that same date.
“Disastrous” humanitarian situation
In the Gaza Strip, thousands of buildings have been razed and more than half the population (around 1.4 million) has been forced to move, according to the same source.
The humanitarian situation is “disastrous”, warned the UN, and calls are increasing to allow aid to pass to this territory already subject to an Israeli blockade since 2007 and the capture of power of Hamas.
On Sunday, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan said “that preventing the delivery of aid can constitute a crime.”
“Israel must ensure without delay that civilians receive food, medicine,” added Mr. Khan, after going to the Rafah border post, separating Egypt from Gaza, where international aid is piling up.
A total of 117 trucks have passed since October 21, according to a report released Monday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), including 33 on Sunday — the largest convoy to date.
But this aid is insufficient, added OCHA. The day before, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) had warned of a collapse of “public order” in the Gaza Strip, after the looting of warehouses and distribution centers of food aid.
Humanitarian concern also concerns the situation in hospitals in Gaza where, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the bombings are endangering patients and the thousands of civilians who are refugees there.
Israel accuses Hamas to use hospitals to hide weapons or fighters, which Hamas denies.
In any case, “we reiterate that it is impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without putting their lives in danger,” wrote World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Fear of “escalation” in Lebanon
On Saturday, Benjamin Netanyahu announced the start of a “second stage of the war” aimed at “destroying” Hamas and recovering the hostages. Four women who were in Hamas custody have been released to date.
On October 7, in the middle of Shabbat, the weekly Jewish rest, hundreds of Hamas fighters infiltrated from Gaza onto Israeli soil, where they carried out the deadliest attack since the creation of Israel in 1948. They kidnapped 239 people including “many foreign workers”, according to the latest figure provided by Israel.
Since that date, the conflict has also exacerbated tensions in the occupied West Bank. On Monday, five Palestinians were killed at dawn during an Israeli army raid in Jenin (north), according to the local Health Ministry.
According to this same source, nearly 120 Palestinians have been killed since October 7 in the West Bank by fire from soldiers, but also from Israeli settlers. On Monday, Germany urged Israel to “protect” the Palestinians from these “extremist settlers.”
While the international community fears a regional conflagration, tensions also remain very high on the Israeli-Lebanese border. between the Israeli army and pro-Palestinian armed groups, including Hezbollah.
The latter announced on Monday the death of another of its fighters, bringing to 47 the total of its members killed since October 7 .
In an interview with AFP on Monday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati assured him that his country was doing its best not to be drawn into the conflict. “I fear that an escalation will encompass the entire region,” he said.
Also Monday, the Israeli army announced that it had struck several targets in Syria, in response to rocket fire of rockets.
For its part, Iran has justified the attacks carried out in recent days against bases of American forces in Syria, but also in Iraq, by evoking the aid provided by Washington to Israel in the conflict.