We are still waiting for the opening of the Rafah crossing, which is the only crossing into the Gaza Strip that is not controlled by Israel, and which is currently closed despite its announced opening yesterday to allow humanitarian aid to pass into the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres arrived at the crossing in Egypt to prepare for the entry of aid into Gaza. “Let’s see what times will be,” comments Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who arrived in Tunisia. “We need an agreement between the Israelis and the Egyptians to get humanitarian aid. There are organizational problems and I hope we can all work together to get the 12-15 Italians who are in the Gaza Strip out as well. They can pass through the Rafah crossing with other Westerners and at the same time provide humanitarian aid to the civilian population.”
Rocket firing from Gaza and death toll
After an 11-hour pause, rocket firing resumed from Gaza towards southern Israel, with sirens sounding several times in Israeli towns near the Strip, including Sderot. In the past few hours, the army announced that the armed forces are continuing to prepare for the next phase of the war: “Timron (maneuver, Mr. DrThis is what military spokesman Daniel Hagari said, referring to the entry of ground forces into Gaza. He added: “We are continuing logistical efforts to enter Timron in the best way,” after Israel struck more than 100 Hamas targets. At the same time, according to data Hamas Ministry of Health: The death toll in Gaza due to Israeli attacks has reached 4,137 people and more than 13,000 wounded.
Ground operation and hostage situation
Now the Israeli ambassador to Russia, Alexander Ben Zvi, has confirmed this to the agency tax “The decision to launch the ground operation in the Gaza Strip has been taken.” Because it is a position, he explains, “that is linked to the accomplishment of our tasks that we previously talked about.” We will destroy Hamas terrorist organizations and free the hostages. This cannot be done without a ground operation.” According to what the Israeli army announced, “most” of the approximately 200 people kidnapped on October 7 and held hostage by Hamas in the Strip “are still alive.” Defense Minister Yoav Galant explains the strategy that Through it, Tel Aviv intends to eliminate Hamas and free the hostages. There will be three stages. Gallant explained that the first stage will consist of “a prolonged firefight in Gaza with a ground maneuver.” The second stage includes eliminating the “resistance nests” of terrorists, while the third stage is In “creating a new reality of security in the Strip for the citizens of Israel and for the residents of Gaza themselves.” At the same time, according to data from the Hamas Ministry of Health, the death toll in Gaza due to Israeli attacks reached 4,137 people and more than 13,000 wounded.
“Hit 100 Hamas targets”
Among the more than 100 Hamas targets struck by Israel is also a member of the Hamas naval command, Amjad Majid Muhammad Abu Odeh, who Israel believes is co-responsible for the October 7 attack and massacre of Israeli civilians. The army said it also hit a tunnel, weapons depots and some command centers. A team of Hamas rocket launchers who attempted to hit an aircraft were also neutralized. The Israeli army carried out a series of attacks against Hezbollah’s infrastructure, including observation points. In response to Hezbollah firing anti-tank missiles across the border throughout the day. The IDF also announced in a telegram that “IDF fighter jets hit three terrorists who attempted to launch anti-tank missiles towards Israel.”
Evacuations and the border with Lebanon
In a speech he delivered in the Oval Hall, United States President Joe Biden accused Putin and Hamas of wanting to destroy democracies. He expressed his hope to achieve Western unity in Ukraine and with Israel. The Pentagon intends to send tens of thousands of 155 mm artillery shells to Israel, which were in the US stockpile, destined for Ukraine several months ago. In the attacks on the Strip, the army said, weapons and terrorist assets placed inside a mosque in the Jabalia neighborhood, which is also used as an observation point and training site for Hamas, were also struck. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense decided to evacuate the city of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel due to the extremely tense situation in Lebanon. In the morning, Hezbollah announced that a fighter had infiltrated the Jewish state, but it appears that he was unable to reach far. Shortly thereafter, three Hezbollah terrorists were identified by the Israeli army in the area on the border with Lebanon and were hit by an air strike. IDF snipers then opened fire on militants who were also operating in the border area in northern Israel.
Hospital massacre in Gaza
On the other hand, the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in Lebanon, Ihsan Ataya, accused Israel of responsibility for the massacre that occurred in the hospital in Gaza. Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a phone call from US President Biden when he was in Israel on Wednesday. This was reported by the Israeli Kan TV channel, citing a Palestinian source from Ramallah who requested anonymity. The source quoted by Kan said that officials in the Biden administration tried to arrange a phone conversation between the two leaders, but Abbas rejected the request. Yesterday, some American bases in the Middle East repelled attacks from Syria and Iraq.
Anger of the Orthodox Patriarchate: “Striking churches is a war crime.”
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the Israeli air strike that targeted its church complex in Gaza City. “Targeting churches, their institutions and the shelters they provide to protect innocent citizens, especially children and women who have lost their homes due to Israeli air strikes on residential areas over the past thirteen days, constitutes a war crime that cannot be ignored,” he shouted. But he was careful to point out that: “On Despite the clear targeting of the buildings and shelters of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and other churches, including the Episcopal Church Hospital in Jerusalem and schools and other social institutions, the Patriarchate and with it and other churches remain committed to carrying out their religious and moral duty in providing assistance, support and shelter to those in need, amid continuing Israeli calls to evacuate. These civil institutions and the pressures exerted on churches in this regard.”
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