Hamas Israel War Israeli attacks on Khan Younes continue

Hamas Israel War: Israeli attacks on Khan Younès continue

From Le Figaro with AFP

Published 3 hours ago, updated 2 hours ago

Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip, January 21, 2024. ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES / HANDOUT / Portal

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – According to the United Nations, witnesses reported that an Israeli military helicopter shelled the city, which is home to 88,000 residents and 425,000 displaced people.

The Israeli army, which this week suffered its highest daily loss of life since its offensive in Gaza began, is bombing the strategic sector of Khan Younes amid “serious” negotiations for a ceasefire with Hamas. Le Figaro takes stock of the war in the Middle East this Wednesday, January 24th.

“Intensification” of violence in Khan Younes

Early Wednesday, witnesses reported Israeli military helicopter fire near Khan Younes, the southern Gaza capital where local Hamas leaders are hiding, according to Israel, which claimed it had “surrounded” that town.

The United Nations reported an “intensification” of violence in Khan Younes and a new evacuation order from the Israeli army affecting parts of this urban area, which is currently home to “88,000 residents and around 425,000 displaced people” who had taken refuge there. World Health Organization (WHO) officials regret a “catastrophic and indescribable” situation in hospitals in this city, the organization said on Wednesday.

Mourning in Israel

The Israeli army announced on Tuesday the deaths of 21 reservists when two buildings in which they were planting explosives collapsed a day earlier in the Khan Younes sector after a rocket was fired at a nearby tank. With the deaths of three more soldiers in a separate incident, it is the worst daily loss for the army since it began its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip in late October, bringing the total death toll among military personnel killed to 221. In Jerusalem More than 200 people attended the funeral of one of the soldiers, Hadar Kapeluk, whose coffin was covered with a blue and white Israeli flag.

“Serious” discussions

A delegation from Hamas, a movement whose political leadership is based in Qatar, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to “discuss a new ceasefire proposal with the head of Egyptian intelligence,” according to a source close to the talks. Meanwhile, Brett McGurk, US President Joe Biden's Middle East adviser, is “in Cairo” to discuss a “pause” in hostilities and the release of the hostages, Washington said.

“I can't tell you if or when we can get there, but the discussions are very sober and serious about trying to reach another hostage-taking agreement,” John Kirby, a United Nations spokesman, said at the White House in Washington. According to the American website Axios, Israel, through the mediation of Qatar and Egypt, offered Hamas a two-month pause in fighting and raids in Gaza in exchange for the release of all hostages. John Kirby did not want to give further details about the length of this “pause”, but considered it “possible” that the talks “lead to more far-reaching consequences for the conflict itself”.


However, the government of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahuo has so far rejected any “ceasefire” and the long-term creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. The Israeli government's rejection of the two-state solution is “unacceptable” and risks “prolonging the conflict,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on Tuesday.

Especially since this war is already increasing regional tensions between Israel, on the one hand, and its supporters, including the United States, and Iran and its allies, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis and Iraqi militias, on the other.

Early Wednesday, Washington claimed strikes in Iraq against sites of pro-Iranian armed groups were a “response” to a series of attacks carried out by “Tehran-sponsored militias” against American soldiers. And Washington carried out two new strikes in Yemen on Wednesday morning against the Houthi rebels, who are threatening maritime traffic in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in “solidarity” with Gaza.

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