Israel and Hamas at war, day 236 | Israel takes control of border area between Gaza and Egypt

(Rafah) The Israeli army announced Wednesday that it had taken control of a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and intensified its bombardments on the border town of Rafah, which has become the epicenter of the war against Hamas .

Posted at 6:16 a.m.

Updated at 4:06 p.m.

The army claimed to have discovered “around twenty tunnels” in the border sector, which it suspects of being used for smuggling for armed groups in the Palestinian territory.

Egypt has denied the existence of tunnels under the border, saying that Israel was seeking to justify its offensive in Rafah against the Palestinian Islamist movement.

Despite international outrage over Sunday’s deadly bombing of a displaced persons camp in Rafah, the Israeli army continues its offensive in the overpopulated town in the south of the Gaza Strip, launched on May 7, according to her, eliminate the last battalions of Hamas.

Street fighting and shelling rocked Rafah on Wednesday, the day after Israeli tanks entered the center of the city.

According to witnesses, heavy fire from helicopters targeted the eastern and central sectors of Rafah, supported by artillery fire and smoke grenades.

In three weeks, around a million Palestinians, according to the UN, have fled Rafah, most of them displaced persons pushed into a new exodus towards already overpopulated areas of the besieged territory.

“Oxygen Hose”

The army announced that it had taken control “in recent days” of the Philadelphia Corridor, a 14-kilometer-long buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip, which borders the Egyptian border.

This corridor is a patrol route that the Israeli army had set up along the border before its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

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Bombings targeted several areas of Rafah.

“The Philadelphia corridor served as an oxygen pipe for Hamas, through which it regularly transported weapons to the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli army spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

He added that the army had “discovered a sophisticated underground terrorist infrastructure east of Rafah with a length of one and a half kilometers about 100 meters from the crossing” between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

This border crossing, the only crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, vital for the delivery of humanitarian aid, has been closed since the Israeli army took control of it at the beginning of May.

“Seven more months”

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Wednesday that the war could continue for “another seven months” in order to achieve the goal of destroying Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and author on October 7 of an unprecedented attack on Israel.

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Israeli tanks carry out an operation in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip.

This attack on Israeli soil resulted in the deaths of more than 1,189 people, mainly civilians, according to a count carried out by AFP based on the latest official figures available.

Of the 252 people taken as hostages during the attack, 121 are still detained in Gaza, of whom 37 have died according to the army.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, and launched an offensive that has so far left 36,171 people dead. Gaza Strip, including at least 75 in 24 hours, according to the Hamas administration’s Ministry of Health.

The war has displaced the majority of Gaza’s approximately 2.4 million residents and caused a major humanitarian catastrophe.

Algeria presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on Tuesday demanding an “immediate” ceasefire and an end to the Rafah offensive.

No vote is scheduled while the Council, powerless in the face of this devastating conflict, is due to hold its monthly meeting on the Palestinian Territories on Wednesday.

The Algerian draft was distributed during an emergency council meeting called after an Israeli bombardment on Sunday on a camp for displaced people in Rafah which left 45 dead, according to the Hamas health ministry.

On Tuesday, Gaza Civil Defense announced that a new strike on a displaced persons camp in Rafah left 21 people dead.

“I lost two children”

Also in the south of the Gaza Strip, three bodies were taken out on Wednesday from the rubble of a house hit by bombing in Khan Younes, according to Civil Defense.

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Palestinians sit in the rubble of their destroyed home in Khan Yunis.

“I lost two of my children, Haydar, eight years old, and Mecca, five years old, my only daughter,” said a tearful Rami Abou Jazar after saying goodbye to his children wrapped in white shrouds.

“What are you waiting for to react? », Launched Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Muslim world, after asserting that “the spirit of the UN is dead in Gaza”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Israel needs a post-war plan as soon as possible. “Without a plan for the day after, there will be no day after.” This is what we need, as quickly as possible,” he said on Wednesday.

Israel’s main political and military supporter, the United States has affirmed that it “does not turn a blind eye” to the victims in Rafah but believes that Israel has not launched a “major” offensive against this city likely to question their support.

“The Israelis said they were using (in Rafah) 37-pound (about 17 kilo) bombs,” “37 pounds is not a big bomb,” National Security Council spokesperson said, John Kirby, saying he was waiting for the results of the Israeli investigation into Sunday’s bombing.

Brazil, for its part, recalled its ambassador to Israel and will not appoint anyone to this post immediately, a new episode of tensions between the two countries linked to the war in Gaza.



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