Israel vowed on Saturday to find and eliminate the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian movement has suspended evacuations of foreigners and dual nationals to Egypt, the 29th day of a war that has killed thousands.
For the first time since the start of this war triggered by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7, Israeli Chief of Staff General Herzi Halevi visited the besieged Gaza Strip for a visit to the troops who are fighting fierce battles against Hamas fighters. .
Israeli artillery and airstrikes against Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory have not stopped. One of them struck, according to Hamas, a UN school where displaced Palestinians were staying in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 15 people.
“Bombs were falling on us, people were cut to pieces, they all died, they were all injured, we want a truce, please, we are exhausted,” said Sajda Maarouf, a Palestinian who found refuge in a of schools
Israel has rejected calls for “humanitarian pauses” backed by Washington, demanding the release of hostages taken to Gaza on October 7 by the Palestinian movement Hamas during its attack, on a scale not seen since the creation of Israel in 1948.
“We will find Sinouar and we will eliminate him,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, referring to the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinouar.
It reported “difficult fighting inside the Gaza Strip” and claimed troops had entered “residential areas”.
After the evacuation in recent days from Gaza to Egypt of several hundred wounded, foreigners and nationals through the Rafah crossing, the Hamas government suspended the evacuations due to Israel’s refusal to let the wounded Palestinians go in Egyptian hospitals.
“No holder of a foreign passport will be allowed to leave before the wounded who are to be evacuated from hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip can be transported to the Rafah crossing,” an administration official told AFP of security.
“Mother Save Me”
On Friday, the Israeli military announced that it had hit an ambulance in front of al-Shifa hospital, claiming it was being “used” by Hamas. This attack left 15 dead and 60 wounded, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.
The targeted vehicle was part of a convoy of ambulances preparing to transport wounded people to Rafah, according to Hamas.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “horrified” after the attack.
After a stop in Tel Aviv, the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken met in Amman with the heads of diplomacy of Arab countries and reiterated that efforts to spare Palestinian civilians and speed up the delivery of aid would be “facility for humanitarian breaks”.
However, Mr. Blinken reiterated that his country believes that a cease-fire would only “maintain Hamas”, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
The secretary of state is due to travel to Turkey on Sunday, which announced the withdrawal of its ambassador to Israel for consultations because of Israel’s refusal to accept a ceasefire.
According to a report released Saturday by the Hamas government, 9,488 people, mostly civilians, including 3,900 children, were killed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.
In Israel, according to the authorities, at least 1,400 people have died since October 7, most of them civilians massacred on the day of the Hamas attack. Hamas also has 241 hostages, according to the army.
Gathering in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, the families of the hostages demanded their freedom. “Five members of my family were kidnapped, taken from their beds,” including her 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, says Hadas Kalderon. “I hear my son every day screaming in my ear: ‘Mummy save me’, that’s what I hear every day and my heart is broken. »
After the October 7 attack, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas.
The soldiers, intensifying their operations, seek to destroy the Hamas “hub” in Gaza City, according to the army. They suffered several attacks and killed “dozens of terrorists” in the north of the territory. They carried out a “targeted attack” in the southern Gaza Strip killing enemy fighters “emerging from a tunnel”.
At least 29 soldiers have been killed since the Gaza ground operation began on October 27, according to the army.
Hamas claimed to have attacked an Israeli military convoy with shells and inflicted “casualties on the enemy”.
In Israel, particularly in the south bordering the Gaza Strip, rocket warning sirens sounded several times, the military said.
In four weeks, the war has caused immense destruction in Gaza and caused, according to the UN, the displacement of 1.4 million people in the Palestinian territory where the humanitarian situation is catastrophic.
According to a US official, between 350,000 and 400,000 people are still in the north, where most of the fighting is concentrated.
The Gaza Strip, with 362 square kilometers and 2.4 million inhabitants, has been under “total siege” since October 9 by Israel, which has cut off water, electricity and food supplies. This territory had already been subject to an Israeli blockade for more than 16 years.
border between Israel and Lebanon
Tension is also very high in northern Israel, on the border with southern Lebanon, stronghold of Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas and Iran.
The army launched new raids against Hezbollah targets, which it said had targeted Israeli positions on the border.
Since October 7, 72 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, according to an AFP count, including 54 Hezbollah fighters. Six soldiers and one civilian were killed on the Israeli side.
In the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed by fire from Israeli soldiers or settlers since October 7, according to the Palestinian Authority.
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