Israel-Hamas war: update on the situation for Wednesday February 7

Is a new truce possible in Gaza? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closed the door to this opportunity on Wednesday, saying he did not want to accede to Hamas's demands and announcing on the contrary that he now wanted to target the town of Rafah, in the south of the enclave

Israel-Hamas war: update on the situation for Wednesday February 7

Is a new truce possible in Gaza? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closed the door to this opportunity on Wednesday, saying he did not want to accede to Hamas's demands and announcing on the contrary that he now wanted to target the town of Rafah, in the south of the enclave.

According to a journalist from Agence France-Presse, Israeli bombings have already targeted this town on the border with Egypt, where more than 1.3 million people are crowded, on Wednesday, as well as Khan Younès, also in the south from Gaza. This last area has been shelled for weeks and which, according to Israel, shelters leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement.

The Hamas health ministry announced on Wednesday a toll of 27,708 people killed and 67,147 others injured in the Palestinian enclave since the start of the conflict. This assessment could not be independently verified.

Israel's prime minister said in a televised speech on Wednesday that he had ordered the army to "prepare" an offensive on Rafah. Such a prospect has been feared for several days as the city today hosts the majority of the population of the Palestinian territory, pushed south by the fighting that has been raging since October 2023. More than 1.3 million displaced people, or five times the original population of the city, are crowded there in desperate conditions, according to the UN.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of “incalculable regional consequences” of a possible Israeli ground assault in Rafah. “Such action would exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare,” Guterres told the UN General Assembly, again calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

“An escalation of hostilities in Rafah could lead to large-scale loss of civilian lives. We must do everything in our power to avoid it,” warned the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Victory is within reach. “It’s not measured in years or decades, it’s a matter of months,” Mr. Netanyahu assured Wednesday in a speech on television.

While the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, is currently in Israel to discuss a new truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, Benjamin Netanyahu also refused to comply with the demands of the Palestinian Islamist movement. “Continued military pressure is an essential condition for the release of the hostages. Giving in to the delusional demands of Hamas (…) will not only not lead to the release of the hostages, but will result in another massacre, and a disaster for the State of Israel that none of its citizens is prepared to accept. he said.

These declarations come as the United States, Qatar and Egypt increase efforts to push the belligerents to lay down their arms to allow the release of Israeli hostages still detained and Palestinian prisoners as well as the delivery of aid. more substantial humanitarian response in Gaza.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron affirmed that the attack carried out by Hamas in Israel had been “the greatest anti-Semitic massacre of our century”, during a national tribute to the forty-two French people killed by this “barbarity”.

“Last October 7, at dawn, the unspeakable resurfaced from the depths of history,” declared the Head of State in the courtyard of the Hôtel des Invalides, in Paris, in the presence of the families of the victims.

“We are 68 million French people bereaved by the terrorist attacks of October 7 (…) 68 million whose three lives are still prisoners, for whose liberation we fight every day,” he assured. Three chairs had been left empty in the family gallery for the three French people still presumed hostages of Hamas.

The “destinies” of the victims of the Islamist movement “are not the only ones” that the war in the Middle East “continues to crush.” “All lives are equal, invaluable in the eyes of France,” insisted the President of the Republic, who also considered that we must “give in nothing to rampant, uninhibited anti-Semitism, here and there, because nothing does not justify it.” “Nothing can justify or excuse this terrorism. »

The Elysée plans to later also dedicate a “tribute” or “memorial time” to the French victims of the Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip, but neither the date nor the format have been set.