Violent ground fighting broke out inside the Gaza Strip on Monday between Hamas fighters and the Israeli army, whose tanks reached the outskirts of Gaza City on the 24th.e day of the conflict triggered by the bloody attack of the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israel.
The Gaza Strip, relentlessly bombarded by the Israeli army in retaliation for this attack which also saw Hamas take more than 230 people hostage, has been under a “total siege” since October 9 that deprives its 2.4 million inhabitants of water, food and electricity, and could constitute “a crime” according to the International Criminal Court.
This conflict has already left thousands dead, mostly civilians, and threatens to engulf the entire region.
Since Friday, Israel has intensified its bombings in Palestinian territory and its soldiers are also operating on the ground there.
On Sunday, the Jewish state even announced that it had increased the number of its troops and the scale of its operations inside the territory, with the aim of “exterminating” Hamas, Israel but also the United States and the EU considers it a “terrorist” organization.
And “more than 600 targets” have been hit in the past 24 hours, the Israeli military announced Monday morning.
Among these are weapons depots and dozens of anti-tank missile launch positions, according to the same source.
“Dozens of tanks” near Gaza City
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” overnight. A plane guided by soldiers on the ground targeted a building “with more than 20 Hamas terrorists inside,” he added. Hamas reported “intense fighting” in the northern Gaza Strip, without giving any figures.
Due to the lack of journalists on site, it is impossible for the AFP to establish one from an independent source.
During the morning, witnesses told AFP that they had seen “dozens” of Israeli tanks enter a neighborhood on the edge of Gaza City, 1.5 to 2 km inside Palestinian territory.
“They cut off the Salahedine road (which links the north to the south of the territory) and are shooting at any vehicle traveling on it,” one of them said.
In Israel, according to the authorities, more than 1,400 people have died since October 7, mostly civilians killed on the day of the unprecedented attack by Hamas.
The Islamist movement, for its part, claims that since that date more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the Israeli bombings.
In the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is “disastrous” according to the UN, thousands of buildings have been razed and more than half of the 2.4 million inhabitants (approximately 1.4 million) forced to move according to the same source.
Calls are growing to allow aid to flow to this territory, which had already been subject to an Israeli blockade since 2007, when Hamas took over.
On Sunday, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan said that “preventing the delivery of aid can constitute a crime.”
Sunday 33 aid trucks
“Israel must ensure without delay that civilians receive food and medicine,” Khan added, after going to the Rafah border crossing that separates Egypt from Gaza, where international aid has been piling up.
Thirty-three aid trucks entered Gaza on Sunday, the largest convoy since the first trucks arrived on October 21, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. A total of 117 trucks have passed since that date, according to a report released Monday.
But this aid is insufficient, underlines OCHA, which fears “a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation” and “civil unrest”.
The United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) warned of a collapse of “public order” in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, a day after warehouses and aid distribution centers were looted food
In Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Souleiman al-Houli, interviewed by AFP, can only lament his helplessness in the face of the long queue outside his bakery. “I can’t give bread to everyone. The bakery only produces 30 batches per hour. »
Humanitarian concern also affects the situation of hospitals in Gaza. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the area around one of its clinics was bombed several times, endangering patients and the thousands of civilians who took refuge there.
“We received threats” from Israel to “immediately evacuate al-Quds hospital” in Gaza City “because it was going to be bombed,” its director, Bachar Mourad, told AFP.
Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals to hide weapons or fighters, which Hamas denies.
Regardless, “we reiterate that it is impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without putting their lives at risk,” wrote the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Four Palestinians killed in the West Bank
On Saturday, Netanyahu announced the start of a “second stage of the war” aimed at “destroying Hamas’ military capabilities and leadership” and recapturing the hostages, whose families are living in “absolute uncertainty” of his fate, according to his spokesman Haim Rubinstein.
Four women who were in Hamas custody have been released so far.
On October 7, in the middle of Shabbat, the Jewish weekly rest, hundreds of Hamas fighters infiltrated from Gaza into Israeli soil, where they carried out the deadliest attack since Israel’s creation in 1948 They kidnapped 239 people, including “many foreign workers”. ”, according to the latest figure provided by Israel.
While the international community fears a regional conflagration, the Israeli military announced on Monday that it had struck several targets in Syria in response to the rocket fire.
Tensions are also high on the Israeli-Lebanese border, where there are almost daily exchanges of fire between Israel and pro-Palestinian armed groups, including Hezbollah.
Allied to Hamas, the movement said on Sunday it had shot down an Israeli drone over Israeli territory and on Monday announced the death of another of its fighters, bringing the total of its members killed since the start of the conflict at 47.
The Israeli military reported new fire coming from Lebanon towards the area of Har Dov and Kiryat Shmona and said it had responded.
Tension is also very high in the occupied West Bank. Four Palestinians were killed early Monday during an Israeli army raid in Jenin, according to the local Health Ministry.
According to this same source, nearly 120 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by fire from Israeli soldiers or settlers since October 7.
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