Israel bombs a Hezbollah military compound in Lebanon in response to the targeting of Acre

Dozens of deaths in Gaza… and an international appeal to Israel not to implement the “Rafah Operation”

More than ninety Palestinians, including 12 from one family, were killed in overnight Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, hours before a scheduled meeting, today, Sunday, of Benjamin Netanyahu’s security government, centered around negotiations to reach a truce.

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said today (Sunday) that the number of deaths in the Israeli war since the seventh of last October has increased to 31,645 dead, while the number of injured has increased to 73,676.

More than five months after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas following an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian movement, the human toll continues to rise in Gaza, while famine threatens to spread in the besieged Strip, according to the United Nations.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that at least 92 people, including women and children, had been killed in dozens of night strikes on the Gaza Strip. Among the dead were 12 members of the Thabet family, whose house was bombed at dawn in the Al-Bishara neighborhood in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Palestinian children stand amid the rubble of a house destroyed during an Israeli bombing on the Al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza (AFP)

Deir al-Balah and Gaza City in the north, and the cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south, are being subjected to heavy strikes, according to witnesses. Fierce battles took place between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters in Khan Yunis and Gaza City.

“In the name of humanity”

In the face of this devastating war, international mediators from the United States, Qatar, and Egypt continue efforts to conclude a new humanitarian truce agreement after a first cessation in fighting at the end of November, without achieving a result so far.

The Israeli security government is holding a meeting this afternoon, Sunday, to determine the “mandate” of the delegation that will head to Doha to participate in the discussions.

However, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is from the extreme right, opposes sending the delegation. He said, “Netanyahu must order…the army to enter Rafah immediately and intensify military pressure until Hamas is destroyed.”

After the October 7 attack, Netanyahu pledged to eliminate the Hamas movement.

The ship “Open Arms” prepares to enter the port of Larnaca in Cyprus after unloading its cargo of humanitarian aid in Gaza (AP)

More than 1.5 million Palestinians were displaced to the city of Rafah, adjacent to the Egyptian border, and subjected to daily Israeli air strikes, living in very difficult conditions. Netanyahu approved “action plans” for a ground attack on Rafah, including “evacuating residents,” his office said, without any other details.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “In the name of humanity, we appeal to Israel not to proceed” with its ground operation in Rafah.

Insufficient aid

On Friday, Hamas proposed a six-week truce agreement that would include the exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners, in what was seen as a more flexible position after it had been demanding a final ceasefire before any agreement on the release of hostages held in Gaza.

A Hamas leader told Agence France-Presse that the movement is ready to release 42 Israeli hostages, including women, children, the elderly and the sick, provided that “Israel will release 20 to 30 Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli detainee.”

An injured Palestinian after being recovered from under the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli bombing in Gaza (Reuters)

The movement demands the release of 30 to 50 Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of every soldier detained by it. It spoke of its readiness for the first time to release female soldiers. Israel confirms that there are still 130 hostages in Gaza, 32 of whom are believed to have been killed, out of about 250 kidnapped in the attack.

Also, the proposed first phase includes “military withdrawal from all cities and populated areas in the Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced without restrictions, and the flow of aid at no less than 500 trucks per day.”

Israel supervises the entry of ground aid into the Gaza Strip, the quantities of which remain insufficient given the large and urgent needs of the population of 2.4 million people, most of whom are threatened by famine, according to the United Nations.

A ship belonging to the Spanish non-governmental organization “Open Arms” unloaded 200 tons of food supplies provided by the “World Central Kitchen” organization on the coast of Gaza. The aid will be transferred to the north of the Strip, where the humanitarian situation is catastrophic.

Another aid ship is preparing to sail, according to the Cypriot authorities.

Several Arab and Western countries continued to drop food aid from the air, but the United Nations considers that delivering aid by land remains vital.

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