Israel and Hamas at war, day 257 | Fighting and bombings in southern Gaza, tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border

Street fighting supported by deadly Israeli bombings raged Wednesday in the south of the Gaza Strip, while the army says it is preparing for a possible offensive in Lebanon against the Islamist movement Hezbollah.


Posted at 6:36 a.m.

Updated at 8:38 a.m.

The war which broke out on October 7 in the Palestinian territory after an attack led by Hamas, an ally of Lebanese Hezbollah, against Israel, inflamed tensions on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where exchanges of fire broke out. intensified recently.

The Gaza Strip had experienced a relative lull since Sunday, after the announcement of a pause, every day from morning to evening, in Israeli operations along a road of around ten kilometers in the south.

The pause is supposed to allow the entry of humanitarian aid from the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing point, but the UN said Tuesday it was “still expected to result in more aid reaching populations.”

At the same time, the army assured that it would continue its land operations against Hamas launched on May 7 in the town of Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

Bombings targeted the west of Rafah and the center of the territory on Wednesday, according to witnesses and Civil Defense.

Seven people were killed overnight, according to rescuers, by drone strikes on tents in the Al-Mawasi area, at the gates of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge.

Fighting pitted Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters in the Saudi neighborhood, west of Rafah, under bombardment and artillery fire, according to the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group allied with Hamas.

Witnesses also said that several military vehicles entered the Saudi neighborhood, supported by drone and tank fire.

In the north, witnesses reported artillery fire in Zeitoun, a district of Gaza City, while a bombardment near the Nuseirat camp in the center left three people dead according to Civil Defense.

“Total War”

On the northern front, the Israeli army announced Tuesday that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon” had been “validated”.

PHOTO RABIH DAHER, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Smoke in the village of Khiam, southern Lebanon.

On Wednesday, several Israeli strikes targeted southern Lebanon, according to the Lebanese news agency ANI, including the border village of Khiam from which a thick cloud of smoke rose. Hezbollah announced the death of two fighters, including one in Yaroune, a village also bombed according to ANI.

The Lebanese movement, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah is due to give a televised speech on Wednesday, claimed responsibility for a drone attack on Israeli soldiers in Metula, in northern Israel.

The head of Israeli diplomacy, Israel Katz, on Tuesday threatened Hezbollah, which is very established in southern Lebanon, with destruction following a “total war”.

An emissary from American President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, was in Beirut at the same time where he considered “urgent” a de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, in order to avoid “a large-scale war”.

Mr. Hochstein defended the ceasefire plan in the Gaza Strip presented on May 31 by Joe Biden, saying that it also represented “an opportunity to end the conflict” on the Israeli-Lebanese border. He met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday evening in Jerusalem.

Six “iconic” bombings

The war broke out on October 7, when Hamas commandos carried out an attack in southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official data. Israelis.

Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the army.

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has so far left 37,396 dead, including at least 24 in 24 hours, the majority civilians, according to data from the Gaza Ministry of Health. government in Gaza, led by Hamas.

The UN expressed concern on Wednesday about the respect of the laws of war by the Israeli army, publishing an investigation into six “emblematic” bombings which left at least 218 dead during the first two months of the war in Gaza.

“The obligation to choose means and methods of warfare” that avoid or minimize “harm to civilians appears to have been systematically violated,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

For these attacks, Israel resorted to the “alleged use” of bombs with an explosive charge of up to one ton, according to this report, “on inhabited buildings, a school, refugee camps and a market.”

“Unaffordable” food

PHOTO BASHAR TALEB, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Palestinians fleeing bombs in Rafah.

The war has also caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged territory, where international aid is arriving in insufficient quantities.

According to a UN spokesperson, Farhan Haq, the Kerem Shalom crossing “was operating with limited capacity” on Tuesday, “in particular because of the fighting”, while that of Rafah remains closed since the Israeli army took control, on the Palestinian side, in early May.

“In recent weeks, the situation has improved in the north, but has deteriorated considerably in the south,” he assured, stressing that basic products “were available on markets in the south and center from Gaza, but at prices unaffordable for many people”, due to lack of sufficient quantities.

After more than eight months of war, Benjamin Netanyahu faces growing criticism in his country.

Tuesday evening, several thousand people demonstrated again in Jerusalem to demand early elections and an agreement that would allow the release of the hostages.

But the prime minister assures that he will continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, in power since 2007 in Gaza and considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel. The Islamist movement, for its part, demands a definitive ceasefire and a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

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