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The Israeli army presented a plan for the hasty evacuation of civilians from Rafah

His army Israel presented a plan for the “urgent removal” of the civilian population from “hostilities zones” in Gaza Strip. The relevant announcement was made by the services of the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.

The specific announcement, as reported by the Athens News Agency citing AFP, comes ahead of the expected large-scale Israeli ground operation in Rafah, a city where most of the population of the Palestinian enclave has taken refuge, which Mr. Netanyahu describes as the “last stronghold”. of the Islamist movement Hamas.

Despite multiple international warnings, Israel's prime minister insists operations will be carried out in the city, on the Palestinian enclave's closed border with Egypt.

The attack will not be “delayed” even if a second ceasefire agreement is reached, he told the American television network CBS yesterday.

By launching this operation, Israel will be “a few weeks” away from “total victory” over Hamas, he assured.

As talks on a second ceasefire resumed in Qatar, there was fresh shelling yesterday in Rafah, while fighting raged in largely leveled Khan Younis, a few kilometers to the north.

Since the outbreak of war, triggered by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7, the besieged Gaza Strip is suffering a massive humanitarian disaster, with 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population, threatened with “mass famine”, as the UN emphasizes.

Yesterday, an AFP correspondent found, hundreds of people fled the northern Gaza Strip because of hunger. Some 300,000 people in this area are at risk of starvation, according to United Nations agency estimates.

Humanitarian aid for civilians in the Gaza Strip, the passage of which is subject to Israeli approval, mostly arrives via Egypt at Rafah. But deliveries in the northern part of the enclave are practically impossible due to the destruction and fighting.

“Within the next ten days, a lot of people will die. He will die of hunger, not because of the bombings,” predicted Marouane Awadia, a local resident. Others confided that in the last days they have been eating leaves, fodder, being forced to kill animals for food.

“Killing and starving our people is a crime, it is genocide that threatens the negotiation process,” a Hamas official in the northern Gaza Strip said.

Famine can still be “avoided” if Israel allows humanitarian organizations to distribute aid in large quantities, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philip Lazzarini, said yesterday. .

On October 7, Hamas' military arm launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel, killing more than 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli data. About 250 others were abducted, of whom 130-plus hostages remain in the hands of Hamas in the Gaza Strip — but a military spokesman said recently that at least 31 of them were believed to be dead.

Israel's civil-military leadership vowed after the attack to “wipe out” Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, which the US and EU label a “terrorist” organization. The Israeli military's retaliatory operations have cost the lives of at least 29,692 people in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them women and children, according to the Hamas Health Ministry.

Many, especially the US, Israel's main ally, and the UN, are concerned about the fate of the population in Rafah if a ground attack is launched.

“There are locations” where civilians can “go,” to the north, where “we finished the fighting,” Mr. Netanyahu told CBS.

Mediating countries simultaneously try to convince the parties to conclude a compromise agreement for a new armistice.

Representatives of Qatar, Egypt, the US, Israel and Hamas resumed negotiations in Doha yesterday, which will be followed by “meetings in Cairo”, according to Al Cairo, a television network believed to be linked to Egyptian intelligence.

The White House's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said yesterday that “areas of agreement” had been found in the recent talks in Paris, speaking of an “outline” for the possible release of hostages and a “temporary ceasefire”.

“There must be indirect talks between Qatar and Egypt with Hamas, since ultimately it must agree” to the release of the hostages. “That work” is ongoing, he told CNN.

The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is expected tomorrow Tuesday or the day after Wednesday in Paris to inform French President Emmanuel Macron about the negotiations.

According to an AFP source in Hamas, the implementation of the “first phase” of the plan drawn up in January in Paris is being discussed. It calls for a six-week truce, an exchange of hostages with Palestinian prisoners in Israel and more humanitarian aid entering the enclave.

Hamas wants a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip, the lifting of the Israeli blockade and safe haven for the hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced by the war. Israel, for its part, declares that the war will continue until Hamas is eliminated, and demands the return of all hostages.

Israel will increase pressure on Lebanon's Hezbollah

Israel's armed forces will increase the pressure on the Lebanese faction Hezbollah in retaliation for its daily attacks against sectors on the border, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallad said on Sunday.

“We plan to increase firepower against Hezbollah, which is unable to find replacements for its commanders we are eliminating,” Mr. Gallad told officers in the northern command, according to a military statement.

He added that the plans will not be affected even if a ceasefire is declared in the Gaza Strip. Military pressure on the Shiite militant movement, seen as close to Iran, will be escalated until “Hezbollah is completely withdrawn” from the border, he said.

Since the day after the outbreak of war in the Gaza Strip on October 7, exchanges of fire on the Lebanon/Israel border have been practically daily.

Hezbollah fighters have taken up positions in the buffer zone along the southern Lebanese border established after the end of the second war in 2006, from where they launch attacks, mainly against military positions, in northern Israel. The Israeli army retaliates by hitting Hezbollah positions with artillery and from the air.

Israel has repeatedly threatened to launch a full-scale operation in Lebanon if diplomatic efforts to end the conflict fail. The Israeli government demands that Hezbollah forces withdraw behind the Litani River, i.e. 30 kilometers from the border, as stipulated by UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (August 2006).

Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, is generally considered to have much more power than the Palestinian Islamist movement.

In the last four months of hostilities, some 250 people, mostly fighters from Hezbollah and its allied factions, but also more than thirty civilians, have been killed in southern Lebanon, while in northern Israel at least 16 more people, ten members of the armed forces and six civilians, according to the military. Besides, tens of thousands of residents were forced to leave their homes on both sides of the border.

Source: News Beast

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