Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

New strikes on Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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UN calls besieged and devastated Palestinian enclave an “uninhabitable place of death “.

Agence France-Presse

The Israeli air force carried out new strikes Saturday on the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip, where dozens of Palestinians have died in the past 24 hours, with the UN calling the territory a “place of uninhabitable death.”

The relentless war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which will enter its fourth month on Sunday, is raising fears of x27;an overflow with the multiplication of violence not only on the Israeli-Lebanese border but also in Iraq, Syria and the Red Sea.

On Saturday, the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets towards a military base in Meron, in northern Israel, an attack presented as its first response to the elimination, attributed to Israel, of number two of Hamas on Tuesday near Beirut.

Hezbollah announced that five fighters were killed during the day by Israeli strikes. According to the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), these strikes targeted several villages and towns in southern Lebanon, where a Syrian refugee was injured.

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Smoke rises above buildings in the border town of Blida in southern Lebanon following a reported Israeli bombardment on January 6, 2024.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The Israeli military confirmed that a base had been targeted by rockets from neighboring Lebanon. Warning sirens sounded seven times in northern Israeli towns during the day.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas after its unprecedented attack on Israeli soil on October 7, which killed 1,140 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP count based on the Israeli death toll. Around 250 people were kidnapped, including around 100 released during a truce at the end of November.

The incessant Israeli shelling left 22 722 dead in Gaza, mostly women, children and adolescents, and more than 58,000 injured, according to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health. Among them, 122 people were killed in the last 24 hours, according to this source.

In front of his bombed house in Deir el-Baleh, in the center of the territory, Mohammad al-Attar accuses Israel of war crimes. The body of a little girl still lies under the rubble, he says.

They killed our children, they killed our loved ones, laments a woman further south in front of the European hospital of Khan Younès, where the bodies of victims are pouring in, according to images from AFPTV.

Inside the hospital, parents cry near the remains of their children.

According to journalists from the hospital. AFP, strikes also targeted Rafah at night and early Saturday, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have flocked fleeing military operations further north.

The Israeli offensive has razed entire neighborhoods of Gaza and displaced 1.9 million people – 85% of the population, according to the UN – who lack water, food, of medicine and care, with hospitals mostly out of service.

The Gaza Strip has simply become uninhabitable and its inhabitants face daily threats before the eyes of the world, lamented the UN humanitarian affairs coordinator, Martin Griffiths.

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Israeli soldiers walk on the Israeli side of the border with central Gaza amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, January 6, 2024.

According to UNICEF, the fighting, malnutrition and the health situation have created a cycle of death that threatens more than 1.1 million children in this small, overpopulated and impoverished territory, already subjugated by Israel to an air, sea and land blockade since Hamas came to power in 2007.

We continue to call for an immediate end to the conflict, insisted Mr. Griffiths.

Israel proclaimed its goal of eradicating Hamas. There must be another way to eradicate Hamas which would not cause so many deaths, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, also argued on Saturday, visiting Lebanon.

Israel, however, remains inflexible. In a plan he presented Thursday, his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, plans to continue the offensive until the return of the hostages and the elimination of Hamas' military capabilities, classified as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

2024 will be a year of fighting, Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari warned on Friday, as rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel continues, even if less. intense.

As for the border with Lebanon, Mr. Hagari reported a very high level of troop preparation there.< /p>

Since October 8, almost daily exchanges of fire between Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and Israeli forces have left 180 dead in Lebanon, including 134 fighters from the Shiite movement, according to an AFP count.

And the tension rose further with the elimination on Tuesday of Hamas number two, Saleh al-Arouri, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a stronghold of Hezbollah.

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Mourners carry the coffins of Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas commander, and two other members of Hamas, killed in an apparent Israeli strike on Tuesday, during their funeral in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, January 4, 2024. (File photo)

In this context, Josep Borrell said he considered, during his visit to Beirut, that it is absolutely necessary to prevent Lebanon from being drawn into a regional conflict.

American Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Istanbul with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – slayer of Israel and Washington's support for the Jewish state – before starting a tour of Arab countries and Israel on Sunday in Amman.

In a video message addressed to the head of American diplomacy , Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Blinken to focus on ending the Israeli offensive and ending the occupation of the entire land Palestinian.

The future of the Gaza Strip will be determined by the Palestinian people and not by Israel, for his part declared Saturday Hussein al -Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official in the occupied West Bank, in response to the post-war options presented Thursday by Mr. Gallant, who advocate that the administration of Gaza be entrusted to Palestinian organizations but excluding Hamas. All the scenarios proposed by Israel will only lead to failure, he insisted on Network X.

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