Israel-Hamas war, day 191: thousands of Gazans try to go to the north of the enclave based on a false rumor

The war between Israel and Hamas has left 33,729 dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to a report released on Sunday April 14 by the Palestinian Islamist movement's health ministry

Israel-Hamas war, day 191: thousands of Gazans try to go to the north of the enclave based on a false rumor

The war between Israel and Hamas has left 33,729 dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to a report released on Sunday April 14 by the Palestinian Islamist movement's health ministry. On the Israeli side, around 1,170 people died – most of them also civilians – during the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, according to a count from Agence France-Presse (AFP) established from from official Israeli sources. Additionally, according to the Israeli army, 604 of its soldiers have been killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, more than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack on October 7, 2023 and taken as hostages to Palestinian territory, where 130 are still detained, including 34 presumed dead, according to the Israeli army. The latter said on Sunday that hostages are being held in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, where Israel has said it is determined to carry out a military offensive.

“We also have hostages in Rafah and we will do everything in our power to bring them home,” army spokesman Daniel Hagari said. An offensive on Rafah is feared by the international community, which fears for the safety of the approximately 1.5 million Gazans who are refugees there.

The rumor spread quickly in the Gaza Strip: a group of displaced Palestinians had managed to cross the checkpoint to go from the south to the north of the enclave. The Israeli army, in the days following the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, ordered the population to evacuate the north of the Strip, where Gaza City and the majority of the 2 are located. .3 million inhabitants of the territory. Under the pressure of bombs and strikes, around 1 million people fled, leaving some 300,000 others behind.

“Since then, the displaced have been constantly trying to return to live in their homes, even if they are in ruins. It’s always better to be at home, with your community, than to live in tents and shelters,” comments Amjad Shawa, the director of the Palestinian NGO network in Gaza.

“When word got around that a group had managed to get through, dozens, hundreds, thousands of people set out. The soldiers started shooting. Fighter planes carried out shows of force,” continues Mr. Shawa. Five Palestinians were killed, according to doctors at Al-Awda hospital cited by the Anadolu Agency.

Israeli forces issued a statement: “Rumours that the army is allowing the return of Palestinian residents to the northern area of ​​the Gaza Strip are false and completely unfounded. The northern Gaza Strip is still a war zone and we do not allow return there. »

The Jewish state and the Palestinian Islamist movement accuse each other of wanting to sabotage talks for a truce in Gaza. Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, said Sunday morning that Hamas has rejected the latest truce plan discussed in Cairo. The rejection of the proposal submitted by the three mediating countries – the United States, Egypt and Qatar – shows that the leader of the Islamist movement, Yahya “Sinouar, does not want a humanitarian agreement or the return of the hostages”, according to a Mossad press release. Yahya Sinouar “continues to exploit tensions with Iran” with the aim of “obtaining escalation in the region,” he explains. Israel “will continue to work to achieve the objectives of the war against Hamas with all its might,” the statement also read.

On Saturday evening, as Iran, Hamas' supporter, prepared to launch more than three hundred drones and missiles against Israel, Hamas announced that it had submitted its response to Egyptian and Qatari mediators. Without explicitly rejecting their proposal, the Islamist movement reaffirmed its two main demands: the permanent nature of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, considers these requests “unfounded”. He accused Hamas on Saturday of being “the only obstacle” to an agreement that could “allow the release of the hostages”.

An Israeli strike targeted a Hezbollah building in eastern Lebanon on Sunday morning, hours after Iran's attack on Israel, a pro-Iranian party source and the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli army spokesman, Avichay Adraee, said the Israeli fighters had targeted "a major Hezbollah weapons production site" "deep" in Lebanon, in response to nighttime attacks by the Shiite training.

Hezbollah actually said it launched two salvos of rockets at Israeli military positions in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan. These attacks are part of the continuity of anti-Israeli operations claimed by the Lebanese Islamist group since the start of the conflict in Gaza: daily exchanges of fire pit the Israeli army against Hezbollah, which claims to support Hamas.

The heads of state and government of the G7 (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, plus the European Union), meeting by videoconference on Sunday, committed to strengthening their “cooperation” with a view to “providing more humanitarian aid to the Palestinians” in the Gaza Strip, according to a joint statement issued by the Italian government, which currently chairs the group.

The Israeli offensive knows no respite in Gaza, where 2.4 million people are threatened with famine, according to the UN. While humanitarian aid has been trickling in for months, Israeli authorities have reported in recent days authorization for a record number of trucks to enter the Palestinian territory. “The increase in aid is not yet tangible,” Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, said on Friday on the X network.