Israel and Hamas at war, day 226 | Bombings in Gaza, an American envoy to Israel

(Rafah) The Israeli army intensified its strikes on the Gaza Strip, one of which killed 31 Palestinians in a residential building on Sunday, local civil defense said, at a time when an American envoy is in Israel to speak of the continuing war.


Posted at 8:22 a.m.

Read “Gaza Strip: A war economy emerges under the bombs”

In the eighth month of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, triggered by an unprecedented attack on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement on Israeli soil, fighting has resumed with a vengeance in Jabalia (North), where Hamas has regained a foothold according to the army, and continue in Rafah (South), according to witnesses.

Some “800,000” Palestinians were “forced to flee” Rafah according to the UN, piling up in particular in Khan Younes, further north, since the Israeli evacuation order on May 6, a day before the entry of the Israeli tanks in the east of this overpopulated city where the international community fears for the civilian population.

Before dawn, an Israeli airstrike hit the Hassan family building in the Nusseirat refugee camp (center), al-Aqsa Hospital, Gaza Civil Defense and witnesses said.

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PHOTO ISMAEL ABU DAYYAH, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rescue workers search for survivors after an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in the Nusseirat refugee camp on May 19.

“Civil defense was able to recover the bodies of 31 martyrs and 20 wounded from the rubble,” said Gaza organization spokesperson Mahmoud Bassal.

“An entire building was destroyed. There are still bodies under the rubble,” said Yasser Abou Oula, a witness. “All are civilians. »

In the north of the besieged and devastated Palestinian territory, Al-Ahli Arab hospital reported three deaths in an Israeli raid on a school housing displaced people in eastern Gaza City.

“Against a superpower? »

Witnesses reported explosions and continued fighting throughout the night in Jabalia, after the army ordered the evacuation of neighborhoods where rockets were fired at Israel.

At the beginning of January, the army said it had neutralized Hamas in northern Gaza, but according to it, the movement has regained a foothold in Jabalia leading to a new ground operation by its soldiers.

“I appeal to everyone who has an ounce of humanity. Massacres are taking place here. Children are being torn to pieces. What is the fault of these women and children? I don’t understand, you think you’re fighting against a superpower? I swear it’s the civilians who die,” said Abou Nabil, a resident of Jabalia.

In the south of the territory, the army announced that it was intensifying its operations in Rafah with the stated objective of annihilating the last Hamas battalions there. The fighting mainly takes place in the eastern sector.

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PHOTO AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Smoke rises into the sky during an Israeli bombardment east of Rafah on May 19.

Hamas reported “fierce fighting” with shelling and anti-tank missiles in the east and southeast of Rafah.

“What is left to destroy”?

“There is no security, no food, no water. Continuous bombings for months, day and night, we are terrified […] What is left to destroy? “, exclaims Rinad Joudeh, a resident of Rafah.

“If the army expands its operations, we will only be able to flee. Going to Al-Mawasi is like going to hell on your own accord,” she said, referring to an area southwest of Rafah where many Palestinians have fled.

Israel’s primary supporter, the United States, which opposes a major offensive in Rafah, sent White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan to Israel, who held talks with the leaders of the country.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from the neighboring Gaza Strip in southern Israel, carried out an attack which killed more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on data Israeli officials. Of the 252 people taken as hostages during the attack, 125 are still detained in Gaza, including 37 dead according to the army.

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PHOTO LEO CORREA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Demonstration to demand the release of hostages held by Hamas on May 18 in Tel Aviv

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers terrorist, along with the United States and the European Union.

Its army launched intense bombardments on the small, overpopulated territory, subject before the siege to an Israeli blockade for more than 15 years, then a ground offensive. Toll: at least 35,456 deaths, most of them civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government, colossal destruction and a humanitarian catastrophe with some 2.4 million residents threatened with famine. ‘after the UN.

Dissensions

Mr. Sullivan’s visit coincided with deep divisions at the top of the Israeli state.

Benny Gantz, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, has threatened to resign if an “action plan” for the post-war in Gaza is not adopted within three weeks. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called on Mr. Netanyahu to “immediately prepare” a “governmental alternative to Hamas.”

The Prime Minister accused Mr. Gantz of wanting to “overthrow the government”.

“Apocalyptic” consequences

Since the Israeli army captured and closed the Rafah crossing with Egypt on May 7, the delivery of humanitarian aid has virtually come to a halt. This passage is crucial for aid, including fuel, essential for hospitals and humanitarian logistics.

And despite a temporary pier built by the Americans near the Gaza beach for the arrival of aid, the UN repeats that only the opening of road crossings can guarantee the necessary large-scale deliveries.

Blocking aid could have “apocalyptic” consequences, warned UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths.

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