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Israel and Hamas multiply signals in favor of a new truce | Middle East , the eternal conflict

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Israeli soldiers in action in the Gaza Strip, December 17, 2023.

Agence France-Presse

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Hamas leader to visit Egypt on Wednesday to discuss a ceasefire in Gaza, after Israel indicated readiness to accept a new break in exchange for hostages.

After more than two months of war, the two camps seem to be increasing the signals in favor of a second truce, after that of a week which allowed the release of 105 Hamas hostages against 240 Palestinians detained in prisons Israelis.

The leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement, Ismaïl Haniyeh, must go to Egypt with a Hamas delegation to meet the head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel.

The discussions must focus on stopping the aggression and the war to prepare an agreement for the release of [Palestinian] prisoners, the end of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, explained to the AFP a source within Hamas.

For his part, Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared on Tuesday that Israel is ready for a new break humanitarian and additional humanitarian aid to enable the release of the hostages.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Israel has promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, after the attack carried out by the Palestinian movement on Israeli soil on October 7 which left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to an Israeli count. #x27;AFP based on the latest official Israeli figures.

Some 250 people were taken hostage in the attack, 129 of whom are still in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

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People gather to inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli bombing in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on December 19, 2023.

In the Palestinian territory, 19,667 people, mostly women, children and adolescents, were killed by Israeli bombings, according to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health.

A first truce, in place from November 24 to December 1, allowed the release of 105 hostages in Gaza, including 80 in exchange for 240 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

During a meeting with the families of the hostages on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that he had recently sent the head of Mossad to Europe twice to promote a liberation process.

Our duty is to bring them all back, he insisted.

To be informed of the latest developments in the conflict igniting the Middle East, consult our live coverage.

Other negotiations seem to take place behind the scenes.

According to the Axios site, Israel proposed through Qatar – which had already served as mediator to achieve the first truce – a new pause in x27;at least a week in the fighting in Gaza to organize the release of several dozen hostages.

Until now, Hamas has put an end to the fighting as a prerequisite for any new negotiations on this subject.

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Members of the UN Security Council hold side meetings as they take a break at the United Nations headquarters on December 19, 2023 in New York. The Security Council meets to vote on a resolution proposed by the United Arab Emirates on behalf of Arab and Muslim states calling for limiting fighting and significantly increasing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

On Tuesday, Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas, increased the pressure by publishing a video of two living hostages, pleading for a compromise that would allow them to return to Israel.

Tough negotiations must also continue on Wednesday at the United Nations: since Monday, the Security Council has been unable to adopt a resolution to speed up the delivery of the goods. x27;humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The vote has been postponed twice and members are looking for the right formula to avoid a veto from the United States, Israel's main ally. The text, which initially called for an urgent and lasting cessation of hostilities in Gaza, now refers to a suspension of fighting.

Hamas government sources reported Wednesday of Israeli strikes in Rafah, Khan Younes (south), Deir el-Balah (center), in the northern sector of Gaza City, which left at least 11 dead, according to initial estimates.Open in full screen mode

Funeral of bombing victims in Rafah

The Israeli army explained that it was intensifying its operations in Khan Younes. She also indicated that she had discovered explosives in a medical center in Choujaiya, on the outskirts of Gaza City, destroyed Hamas tunnels and killed senior members of the movement during recent operations.

The army announced the death of a new soldier on Wednesday. A total of 133 Israeli soldiers have been killed since its ground offensive in Gaza began on October 27.

Subjected by Israel to a total siege since October 9, the Palestinian territory is facing a profound humanitarian crisis: most of its hospitals are out of service and 85% of its population, 1.9 million people, fled the destruction in the north of the enclave to take refuge in the south.

According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released Wednesday, half of the population suffers from extreme or severe hunger, and 90% regularly go without food for an entire day.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Although 127 trucks of aid and goods still entered the territory on Tuesday through the Rafah crossings, via Egypt, and Kerem Shalom, in southern Israel, these supplies are very far from meeting the most basic needs of the population.

Only 10% of the food currently needed has entered the Gaza Strip during over the past 70 days, according to the report.

Without the clean water, food and sanitation that only a humanitarian ceasefire can provide, child deaths from disease could exceed those killed in bombings, warned a UNICEF spokesperson on Tuesday.

We don't know where to go. Today, there is no water, no food, there is nothing, Nizar Chahine, a 15-year-old displaced by the fighting in Rafah, told AFP , a southern city where hundreds of thousands of people are crowded.

In Deir el-Balah, in the center of the territory, Youssef Journi despairs in front of the empty shelves of grocery stores.

If the war continues, you will not find nothing in the stores, people won't even find a grain of flour to eat, he sighs.

In addition to the situation in Gaza, the international community also fears an extension of the conflict in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army said it had targeted positions of Hezbollah, Hamas' Islamist ally in Lebanon, after intercepting fire from the neighboring country. Two reservists were lightly injured after shooting at an Israeli position near the border, she said in a statement.

In Yemen, the Houthi rebels, allies of Iran, have vowed to continue their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, which they consider linked to Israel, despite the launch of a new multinational force maritime protection including 10 countries.

These attacks threaten the free movement of goods, US Defense Secretary Lloyd worried on Tuesday Austin, during a virtual meeting with senior representatives from 43 countries organized with the hope of mobilizing other partners.

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