Israel-Hamas war, day 154: maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza, five people killed in Gaza during a humanitarian airdrop… What you need to know

The day after US President Joe Biden announced the upcoming launch of a humanitarian operation to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, by building a “temporary pier” to the Palestinian enclave, the European Union and the United States announced on Friday March 8 the opening of a maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza in the coming days

Israel-Hamas war, day 154: maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza, five people killed in Gaza during a humanitarian airdrop… What you need to know

The day after US President Joe Biden announced the upcoming launch of a humanitarian operation to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, by building a “temporary pier” to the Palestinian enclave, the European Union and the United States announced on Friday March 8 the opening of a maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza in the coming days.

The United States is putting increasing pressure on Israel, its ally, which has besieged Gaza since October 9 and only lets in aid from Egypt. In recent days, several Arab and Western countries, including the United States and France, have carried out numerous airdrops of food. But these airdrops, as well as sending aid by sea, cannot replace land delivery, believes the UN.

According to the United Nations, of the 2.4 million inhabitants of the cramped territory, 2.2 million are at risk of famine with serious shortages of food and drinking water, and 1.7 have been displaced by fighting and Israeli strikes. According to the latest report from the Hamas Health Ministry, released on Friday, more than 30,870 people have died in the Palestinian enclave since October 7, including 78 in the last 24 hours.

• A possible opening of the corridor on Sunday, according to Ursula von der Leyen

“We are very close to the opening of this [maritime] corridor, hopefully this Sunday,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the port of Larnaca in southern Cyprus on Friday. .

It is the European Union country geographically closest to Gaza, although located almost 380 km from the Palestinian enclave. A first pilot operation to deliver humanitarian aid through this corridor was to be launched on Friday, she said, accompanied by Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.

Israel “welcomed” the upcoming opening of this corridor, estimating that this initiative “will allow the increase of aid [entering] Gaza after a security check corresponding to Israeli standards”, wrote the spokesperson foreign affairs speech Lior Haiat on

• In Gaza, five people killed during a humanitarian airdrop

Five people were killed and ten others injured on Friday by the fall of humanitarian aid packages dropped by planes on Gaza City, Agence France-Presse learned from a hospital source. The accident occurred in the Al-Shati refugee camp, west of the city, said Mohammed al-Chiekh, head nurse in the emergency department of Al-Shifa Hospital.

“When the planes started dropping the cargo, me and my brother went to the area hoping to get a bag of flour (…) But the parachute did not open and the cargo fell like a rocket on the roof of one of the houses,” said Mohammed al-Ghoul, a 50-year-old man living in this camp near the sea.

Several videos posted on social media show a C-17 dropping aid in three sets. Some dropped packages fall clearly without a parachute stopping them, reaching the ground at more than 150 km/h. According to Le Monde's checks, only one plane passed over Gaza on Friday morning: a C-17 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Emirati Ministry of Defense also published at the beginning of the afternoon a video of a drop over Gaza from a C-17, carried out today. The plane identified by Le Monde performed a rotation at low altitude and low speed on a trajectory and in a direction identical to that of the C-17 visible in the videos. However, we have not identified any images to confirm that the falling packages caused casualties.

• Hamas will make “no compromise” on its demands for a ceasefire

The United States, Qatar and Egypt are trying to reach an agreement on a pause in the fighting before Ramadan, which begins early next week, but the negotiations, which were held this week in Cairo, have bogged down . While the Palestinian Islamist movement demands a definitive ceasefire and a withdrawal of Israeli troops in exchange for any agreement on a release of the hostages, it will make “no compromise” on its demands, said Abu Obeida, the spokesperson. words of the Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, on Friday, during a televised speech.

He also calls for the return to their homes of hundreds of thousands of civilians displaced by the war and the start of reconstruction of the territory. Israel, for its part, demands that Hamas provide a precise list of the hundred hostages still alive in Gaza, but the Islamist movement says it does not know who is “alive or dead” among them.

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken declared on Friday that it was up to the Palestinian movement to accept a cease-fire with Israel, explaining, during a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, that “ the problem is Hamas.” “The ball is in their court. We are working intensively” to try to obtain a truce, he added.

In a video message, Abou Obeida also called on Friday the Palestinians to “mobilize” and “flow” during Ramadan to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, bordered by the Mosques esplanade, where tensions are feared during this period, after five months of war in Gaza.

• Distribution of deadly aid on February 29: Israeli army says it shot “several suspects”

The “examination” of the tragedy that occurred on February 29 in Gaza during which, according to Hamas authorities, more than a hundred people were killed around a humanitarian aid convoy, shows that Israeli soldiers “ fired precisely at several suspects,” the Israeli army said in a statement on Friday, March 8. “The troops did not shoot at the humanitarian convoy, but did shoot at a number of suspects who approached [the soldiers] and presented a threat,” she wrote.

On the evening of the tragedy, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, spokesperson for the Israeli army, insisted on the fact that the Israeli army was protecting this convoy, chartered according to him by Egypt, to allow it to arrive safely. port, in the north of the Gaza Strip.

According to the Palestinian Islamist movement's health ministry, 115 people were killed, all by Israeli fire, in the tragedy, the circumstances of which are still far from being clarified, and which sparked a wave of international indignation.