Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

In mourning, Israel investigates on the death of three hostages killed

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Protesters light candles in Tel Aviv after the Israeli army announced it had mistakenly killed three hostages held in Gaza by Palestinian Hamas.

Agence France-Presse

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The Israeli army is investigating on Saturday the death of three hostages killed “by mistake” by its soldiers in the besieged Gaza Strip, where the army is increasing air raids despite pressure from its American ally for more restraint .

The victims, Yotam Haïm, 28, Samer al-Talalqa, 25, and Alon Lulu Shamriz, 26, were killed during #x27;operations in a neighborhood of Gaza City, according to the army.

All three were among some 250 people taken hostage during the unprecedented attack launched on October 7 by Hamas on Israeli soil, which left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to authorities. To date, 129 hostages remain held in Gaza.

In retaliation, Israel has promised to destroy Hamas and is relentlessly bombing the Gaza Strip. Since October 27, the army has been leading a ground offensive against the Palestinian Islamist movement, which has now extended to the entire territory, including in the south where hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced by the war have gathered.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">According to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health, in power in Gaza, 18,800 people, 70% of them women, children and adolescents, were killed by Israeli bombings.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Shortly after the Israeli army's announcement, families of hostages and supporters marched with photos of captives in front of the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to demand an immediate agreement of their release.

Every day, a hostage dies, we read on a poster while an Israeli flag placed in the street was sprayed with red paint evoking blood.

The only way to free the living hostages is through negotiation, said Motti Direktor, a 66-year-old protester on the spot. We're here after a heartbreaking evening, and I'm scared to death. We demand an agreement now, said Merav Svirsky, whose brother Itay is hostage in Gaza.

Hostage families and supporters plan to meet again on the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has, upon the announcement of the army, regretted an unbearable tragedy which plunges the entire State of Israel in mourning, while in Washington the White House spoke of a tragic error.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Archive photo)

In the meantime, immediate lessons were learned from this event, which were passed on to all troops on the ground, the army said in a statement released Friday evening, explaining that it had launched an investigation.

A week-long truce, which ended on December 1, allowed a break in the fighting and the release of around 100 hostages held by Hamas and 240 prisoners. Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, as well as the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid.

After the announcement of the death of the three hostages, the Axios site indicated that David Barnea, the head of Mossad, the Israeli foreign secret service, is to meet the Qatari Prime Minister, Mohammed ben Abdelrahmane Al-Thani, over the weekend.

The meeting is planned in Europe and must concern a second phase of truce, in order to allow the release of hostages, continues Axios without specifying the location of this meeting or the number of hostages who could thus be freed.

After more than two months of war and a total siege imposed by Israel since October 9, living conditions in the small, overpopulated territory are described as nightmarish by the UN and NGOs for Palestinian civilians forced into areas that are still smaller.

Some 1.9 million people, or 85% of its population, have been displaced, according to the UN , many of whom had to flee several times as the bombings and fighting spread.

Early Saturday, Hamas reported fierce fighting in the Jabaliya sector (north), air strikes and intense artillery fire in Khan Younes, the new epicenter of fighting in the south of the territory.

In the occupied West Bank, where violence intensified after the outbreak of war in Gaza, eight Palestinians were arrested in Nablus where the army Israeli launched an operation, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Warning sirens sounded in Zar'it, in northern Israel, where an unspecified flying device coming from Lebanon was intercepted by the army, he said. -she indicated.

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A photo taken from southern Israel shows Israeli armored vehicles returning from the northern Gaza Strip on December 15, 2023.< /p>

Faced with international pressure, notably from its American ally, Israel authorized the temporary opening of a new crossing point on Friday. entry for humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

This decision aims to decongest that of Rafah, the only entry point for food and medicine, while Israel tightens inspection of trucks delivering aid. It is currently the only entry point for trucks carrying food and medicine into the narrow strip of land, and at a rate much lower than before the war.< /p>

An Al Jazeera journalist was killed on Friday. Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief, Waël Dahdouh, who lost his wife and two of his children at the start of the war, was injured in the arm by shrapnel and transferred to a Khan Younes hospital.

Yesterday he came to say goodbye […] He didn't eat anything. He died on an empty stomach, the mother of Samer Abou Daqa, the Al Jazeera journalist who was buried in Khan Younes, told AFPTV on Saturday, her voice breaking with emotion.

Wrapped in a shroud, his remains were accompanied by a Press bulletproof vest and a protective helmet. p>

More than 60 journalists and media workers have died since the start of the war, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

A journalist from the Turkish Anadolu news agency was also injured in East Jerusalem, annexed and occupied by Israel. In images recovered by AFP, we see this photographer, Mustafa Alkharuf, first hit in the face then kicked.

An Israeli police spokesperson said the officers seen in the video were placed on immediate operational suspension.

Visiting Israel on Thursday and Friday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan asked Israeli officials to move to a lower intensity phase in the short term.

In an unprecedented sign of tension in the face of the scale of Palestinian losses, American President Joe Biden had also denounced indiscriminate bombings, warning his Israeli ally that #x27;he risked losing his international support.

The head of French diplomacy Catherine Colonna is expected in Lebanon on Saturday and in Israel on Sunday to try to #x27;avoid a regional conflagration at a time of growing tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border and in the Red Sea where the Yemeni Houthi rebels, close to Hamas, threaten maritime traffic.

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