Urging calls to protect civilians in Gaza, where Israeli raids have resumed

Israel carried out new strikes on the Gaza Strip on Sunday, with the toll of Palestinian casualties rising since the end of a truce with the Islamist movement Hamas, amid increasingly pressing calls to protect civilians.

The Health Ministry of Hamas, in power in the overpopulated Palestinian territory, deplored on Saturday more than 240 dead and 650 injured since the resumption of fighting on the 1er December after a seven-day truce.

In the far north of Gaza, along the border with Israel, the Israeli army carried out airstrikes on Sunday followed by artillery fire, causing thick plumes of smoke and dust.

Engaged in a ground offensive since October 27 in the north of Gaza, the army has also increased air raids in the south of this territory where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced by the conflict triggered on October 7 by an attack unprecedented from Hamas in Israel.

She said on Saturday that she had carried out more than 400 strikes on Gaza in nearly 48 hours, with the Khan Younes region in the south having been particularly targeted.

And on Sunday, she claimed, on the social network

According to the UN, the army’s evacuation orders to Palestinians before strikes affected a quarter of the Gaza Strip on Saturday. These orders, “without guarantees of security or return”, are “equivalent to a forced transfer of population”, judged the NGO Norwegian Refugee Council.

Rockets towards Israel

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after the October 7 attack which left 1,200 dead, mostly civilians, while some 240 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza, bordering the south of Israeli territory, according to Israeli authorities. .

Israeli retaliatory bombings on Gaza have left “more than 15,200 dead, 70% of them women and children” since the start of the war, according to the Hamas government.

They destroyed or damaged more than half of the homes in the territory, according to the UN, whose leader spoke of “a monumental humanitarian catastrophe”.

On Sunday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, like the day before, announced new rocket attacks towards Israel. Most of the devices are intercepted by the Israeli anti-aircraft defense system.

Israeli authorities also announced the death of two soldiers killed during ground operations, bringing to 398 the number of soldiers killed since October 7.

“By expanding our military operations, we accomplish two objectives. First, we strike Hamas, eliminate more terrorists, commanders, terrorist infrastructure, […] and we are creating the conditions to force “Hamas” to pay a heavy price: the release of the hostages,” declared Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The United Kingdom announced its intention to carry out surveillance flights over Israel and Gaza to help locate the hostages, some of whom are British.

“Too many” victims

According to the army, 137 hostages are still in the hands of Hamas or affiliated groups, after the release during the truce of around a hundred hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

“There is no other way to win than by continuing our ground campaign,” stressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Opposite, the number two of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, declared: “the price to pay for the release of Zionist prisoners will be the release of all of our prisoners, after a ceasefire” .

Without calling into question the right of its ally “to defend itself”, the United States warned Israel of the increase in civilian victims in Gaza.

“Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed” insisted American Vice-President Kamala Harris since COP28 in Dubai, alarmed by “devastating” images from Gaza and calling on Israel to “do more to protect innocent civilians”.

“Blood on my hands”

The belligerents blame each other for the end of the truce.

Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel among others, of having “violated the agreement” by “firing rockets” towards Israel.

The Palestinian Islamist movement, for its part, claimed responsibility for an attack in Jerusalem, which killed four Israelis, and accused Israel of having imposed new conditions on the release of hostages, including Israeli soldiers.

On Saturday evening, hundreds of people, including recently released ex-hostages, demonstrated in Tel Aviv to demand the immediate release of all captives remaining in Gaza.

At another rally in Tel Aviv, hundreds of people protested against Benjamin Netanyahu.

“He is weakening our country,” said protester Sharon Huderland, “the horrible massacre of October 7 is our price and he has blood on his hands.”

“Don’t they have pity? »

In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Red Crescent received the first “aid trucks” on Saturday since Friday, via the Egyptian Rafah terminal.

According to the UN, 880 foreigners and dual nationals were also evacuated via Rafah in Egypt, as well as 13 injured.

The needs are immense in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a “complete siege” by Israel since October 9, when 1.8 million people – out of 2.4 million inhabitants – have been displaced by the post-war war. the UN.

The UN commissioner for human rights, Volker Turk, ruled that the evacuation orders given by Israel to Gazans resulted in “hundreds of thousands of people finding themselves confined to increasingly smaller areas”.

He is worried about the lack of water, food and healthcare, especially since there is, according to him, “no safe place in Gaza”.

The Khan Younès sector, in the south of the territory, where some of the displaced people found refuge, was massively bombed.

The local Nasser hospital had “three times its capacity” on Saturday, underlined the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, referring to a “terrifying situation”.

In the same hospital, Ehab al-Najjar, a nearby resident, vents his anger.

“I went home and saw the bomb fall on a house,” he told AFP, describing bodies in the street. “Half were young children. What was their fault? […] Don’t they have pity? »

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