Israel and Hamas at war, day 225 | Violent fighting in Jabalia and Rafah, dissensions at the summit in Israel

(Rafah) Violent fighting pitted Israeli troops against Palestinian fighters on Saturday in Jabalia, in the north of the Gaza Strip, and in Rafah, in the south, while in the eighth month of the war against Hamas, dissensions continue are digging at the top of the Israeli state.

Benny Gantz, member of the war cabinet, threatened to resign if a strategic “action plan”, particularly for the post-war in Gaza, was not adopted within three weeks. Before him, the Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, had already ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 15 to “immediately prepare” a “governmental alternative to Hamas” in Gaza.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has so far refused “any discussion” on the future before “Hamas is wiped out”, accused Mr. Gantz, a political rival of the center right, of risking “the defeat of Israel”, and wanting to “overthrow the government”.

On the ground, the Israeli army claimed on Saturday to have “eliminated around fifty terrorists” in the east of Rafah, the southern Gazan city adjoining Egypt, where its troops entered on May 7, causing a flight since of 800,000 people, according to the UN agency Unrwa.

According to AFP journalists, artillery fire and airstrikes continue in the east and northeast of Rafah.

The al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, also claimed to be confronting Israeli troops in the east of the city, who entered this sector on May 7.

Evacuation orders in Jabalia

In the north of the Gaza Strip, the army ordered in the evening the “immediate” evacuation of western neighborhoods of the town of Jabalia, from where it said rockets were fired at Israeli towns.

At the beginning of January, Israel announced that it had neutralized Hamas in the north of the Palestinian territory, but according to the army, the movement – considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the EU – “totally controlled” Jabalia “it a few days ago.”


These satellite images from Planet Labs PBC and CENTCOM showing the Israeli military road in the central Gaza Strip as well as strategic locations nearby

Hamas reported “dozens” of deaths and “hundreds of wounded”, accusing the Israeli army of targeting “residential buildings” as well as “schools and shelters”.

The Al-Quds Brigades claimed to have targeted an Israeli command center in Jabalia.

The conflict was triggered on October 7 by the Hamas attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data. . Of the 252 people taken as hostages on October 7, 125 are still detained in Gaza, including 37 dead according to the army.

The military operation launched in retaliation by Israel in Gaza left 35,386 dead, mainly civilians, according to data from the Ministry of Health of the Gaza government led by Hamas, in power in the territory since 2007.

An American envoy expected Sunday


800,000 people have fled Rafah since May 6 according to the UN.

After months of bombings and operations which ravaged the north and center of the Gaza Strip, and pushed hundreds of thousands of displaced people to Rafah, the Israeli army announced on Thursday that it was intensifying its operations in this city, with the objective announced to annihilate the last Hamas battalions there, despite international concerns.

On Friday, 13 countries – Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea and seven EU member states including France – sent a joint appeal to Israel not to launch a military offensive. large scale on Rafah.

Israel’s primary supporter, the United States, which also opposes a major offensive in Rafah, announced the visit to Israel on Sunday of the White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Since Israel ordered the evacuation of the eastern sectors of Rafah on May 6, “800,000” people have “been forced to flee”, piling up in particular in Khan Younès, further north, indicated on X Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

Displaced from Rafah, Mohammad Baroud, who is waiting in line at a water point, describes a “very difficult situation” in Khan Younes. “Everything is destroyed in the region. All the houses are destroyed. There are no basic amenities for life,” he told AFPTV.

While the delivery of humanitarian aid has been almost at a standstill for days, “more than 300 pallets” of material were sent for the first time on Saturday via a temporary floating jetty built by the United States, announced Saturday the Israeli army.


View of the floating pier installed on the coast of the Gaza Strip

But the UN and humanitarian organizations repeat that only the opening of road crossings can guarantee the necessary large-scale deliveries, in the small overpopulated territory, besieged and threatened with famine.

Since the deployment on May 7 of the Israeli army on the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, Israelis and Egyptians have blamed each other for the paralysis of this crossing through which most of the fuel essential to hospitals and humanitarian logistics entered. .

Deliveries are also largely hampered at the Israeli-side crossings of Kerem Shalom and Erez.


Displaced Palestinians walk on a devastated street in Khan Yunes, southern Gaza Strip, on May 18.

Many Israelis demonstrated Saturday evening in Tel Aviv against Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding the return of the hostages.

“Take him home” could be read on signs.

The Israeli army announced earlier that it had repatriated the body of a hostage, Ron Benjamin, 53, recovered in Gaza, where he had been taken dead on October 7. His remains were found with those of three other hostages whose repatriation had been announced on Friday.

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