Thursday, July 18, 2024

Fighting intensifies across the Gaza Strip as the United States vetoes a ceasefire

Date:

  • The latest developments:
  • Palestinian Authority President Abbas accuses Washington of complicity in Israeli war crimes due to his veto power at the United Nations.
  • Israel says its fighters are attacking schools in northern Gaza
  • Deir al-Balah Hospital was damaged by the raid that destroyed the adjacent mosque

GAZA/CAIRO (Reuters) – Israel bombed the Gaza Strip from north to south on Saturday in an expanded phase of its two-month war against the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), after the United States used its veto in the United Nations Security Council to protect its ally. . From the global demand for a ceasefire.

13 of the 15 members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire on humanitarian grounds, a resolution that was blocked by Washington. Britain abstained from voting.

Since the collapse of the truce last week, Israel has expanded its ground campaign in the southern half of the Gaza Strip by launching an incursion into the main southern city of Khan Yunis. At the same time, both sides announced the escalation of fighting in the north.

Residents of Khan Yunis said on Saturday that Israeli forces had ordered people out of another area located just west of the sites the Israelis stormed earlier this week, indicating that another attack may be imminent.

The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been forced from their homes, and many have fled multiple times. As fighting rages along the area, residents and UN agencies say there is now nowhere safe to go, although Israel disputes that.

Israel has prevented Gazans from fleeing along the main north-south road down the enclave’s narrow spine, turning them instead towards the Mediterranean coast.

In Khan Yunis, the dead and wounded arrived at the crowded Nasser Hospital overnight. A paramedic ran out of the ambulance carrying the body of a young girl wearing a pink tracksuit. Inside, wounded children were sobbing and writhing on the floor as nurses raced to comfort them. Outside, the bodies were wrapped in white shrouds.

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A massive fire broke out in a house in the city, after it was bombed during the night.

Zainab Khalil (57 years old), who was displaced with 30 of her relatives and friends in Khan Yunis, west of the Israeli positions, said that the forces ordered people on nearby Jalal Street to leave, “so it may be a matter of time before they move against our area as well.” We could hear the bombing all night long.”

“We do not sleep at night. We stay up, trying to put the children to sleep, and we stay up for fear of bombing the place, so we are forced to run to carry the children. And during the day another tragedy begins, which is: How are the children fed?

Nasser Hospital and another hospital in the south, Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, reported 133 people killed and 259 injured in the past 24 hours, bringing the official toll to nearly 17,500, with thousands more missing and presumed killed.

Footage obtained by Reuters from inside another hospital in Deir al-Balah, Jaffa Hospital, showed severe damage resulting from a raid on a nearby mosque. The destroyed ruins of the mosque can be seen through the broken windows.

There were no new figures Saturday for the number of dead and wounded from other parts of Gaza, including the entire northern half, where hospitals have stopped functioning and ambulances are often no longer able to reach the dead.

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Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told Reuters: We believe that the number of martyrs under the rubble may be greater than those received by hospitals.

The fighting in the north was most intense in parts of Gaza City and the settlements on its northern outskirts, where huge explosions could be seen across the border fence in Israel.

Families in northern Gaza were posting messages online calling on emergency crews to enter Gaza City to rescue their loved ones who are still trapped there.

Members of Atallah’s family wrote: “We call on the Red Cross and civil emergency to go immediately to Atallah’s house. People are trapped inside their house on Al-Jalaa Street in Gaza City, near Al-Zaharna Building. The house is on fire.”

The Israeli army said that it clashed with gunmen who attacked its forces from schools in Beit Hanoun on the northern edge of the Strip and the Shujaiya area in Gaza City. Video footage was published of a presenter inside a primary school classroom, which he said was being used to store weapons.

The US veto makes Washington “complicit”

Israel launched its campaign to eliminate Hamas’s rulers in Gaza after fighters from the Iran-backed Islamist group stormed the Gaza border fence on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage in attacks across Israeli towns.

Israeli forces say they limit civilian casualties by providing them with maps showing safe areas, and blame Hamas for harming civilians by hiding among them, which the fighters deny. Palestinians say the campaign has turned into a scorched earth war to take revenge on all residents of the densely populated Strip like London.

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Washington said it asked Israel to make more efforts to protect civilians in the next phase of the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this week that there was a “gap” between Israel’s promises to protect civilians and the result on the ground. But Washington continued to support the Israeli position that a ceasefire would benefit Hamas.

US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood said before the Security Council before using the veto in Washington: “We do not support this resolution’s call for an unsustainable ceasefire that will only sow the seeds of the next war.”

Izzat Al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, condemned the American veto and described it as “inhuman.” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, which lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007, said using the veto made the United States complicit in Israeli war crimes.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement: “A ceasefire will only be possible with the return of all hostages and the destruction of Hamas.”

(Reporting by Bassam Masoud and Salem Mohammed in Gaza, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo, Dan Williams, Emily Rose and Henriette Shuker in Jerusalem, Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis in Washington, and Michelle Nichols in New York and the Reuters bureau.) By William McLean

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.

Rainerio Manuel
Rainerio Manuel

"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."

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