Israel-Hamas war: Benjamin Netanyahu promises to increase his military pressure on Hamas “in the coming days”

Israel-Hamas war: Benjamin Netanyahu promises to increase his military pressure on Hamas “in the coming days”

Benjamin Netanyahu promises to increase military pressure on Hamas “in the coming days.” ILLUSTRATION MAXPPP – ATEF SAFADI

Dozens of bodies were discovered buried in the courtyard of a hospital in the Gaza Strip which had been the subject of an Israeli raid, Civil Defense said this Sunday, April 21 of Gaza, at a time when the Israeli Prime Minister promised to increase pressure on Palestinian Hamas.

"In the coming days, we will increase military and political pressure on Hamas, because this is the only way to free our hostages and achieve our victory", said Benjamin Netanyahu in a video message broadcast this Sunday, April 21, on the eve of the Jewish Passover.

More than six months after the start of the war, triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas against Israel on October 7, Netanyahu continues to proclaim his determination to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, which he considers to be the last great bastion of Hamas.

According to the UN, nearly a million and a half displaced Palestinians are massed in this city located at the southern tip of the territory. On Friday, the G7 reaffirmed its opposition to "a large-scale military operation" in this border town with Egypt, fearing a bloodbath.

Also in the south of the besieged Palestinian territory, in Khan Younes, the Gaza Civil Defense announced that it had exhumed at least 50 bodies of Palestinians buried in the courtyard of a hospital. Questioned by the AFP, the Israeli army indicated that it verified these assertions.

This macabre discovery comes at a time when the United States, Israel's staunch ally, approved military aid of $13 billion for its ally. Hamas, in power since 2007 in Gaza, Washington gave Israel the "green light" to continue &amp ;quot;attack" the Palestinians.

Human remains found

According to the Gaza Civil Defense, some of the bodies found in Khan Yunis "were stripped of their clothes, which certainly indicates that they were arrested, tortured and subjected to harsh treatment. treatment on the part of the army of occupation", according to the same source.

An AFP photographer saw members of the Civil Defense exhuming human remains in the courtyard on Sunday.

Israel withdrew its soldiers from Khan Yunis on April 7, after carrying out what it called a "precise and limited operation" in this hospital, one of the largest in Gaza.

Gaza Civil Defense also reported Sunday that Israeli strikes on two houses in Rafah left at least 16 people dead. The Hamas Ministry of Health counted 48 deaths in 24 hours in the territory, bringing the total toll since the start of the war to 34,097 deaths, mostly civilians.

"We were sleeping and were suddenly awakened by the nightmare of an explosion. The ceiling fell on the children", said Umm Hassan Kloub, a 35-year-old woman, whose house in Rafah sheltered displaced families.

In the occupied West Bank, two young Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The army claimed they had attempted to stab and open fire on soldiers near the village of Beit Einoun (south). The day before, an Israeli raid near Tulkarem left 14 dead, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

A region "on fire"

Tensions rose sharply in the Middle East on April 13, when Iran carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel, its enemy since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, with hundreds drones and missiles, most of which were intercepted.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday hailed the "successes" of the armed forces, which according to him illustrate the "greatness" of Iran on the international scene .

Israel had promised to retaliate while Iran said it had acted in "self-defense"after the deadly attack, attributed to Israel, which destroyed its consulate in Damascus on April 1 and killed seven Iranian soldiers, including two high-ranking officers.

On Friday, an attack attributed to Israel hit central Iran, without causing any casualties or damage according to the authorities. The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, put this operation into perspective on Saturday, which he compared to child's play.

"The region is on fire and all-out war can be started at any time, and such actions make it more imminent", according to expert Hamid Gholamzadeh.

On another aspect, Israel welcomed on Saturday the financial aid voted in Washington, despite tensions with the United States arising from American concerns about the fate of civilians in Gaza.  President Joe Biden spoke of crucial aid . But for Russia, this aid allocated to Israel, as well as to Ukraine and Taiwan, will exacerbate global crises.

An empty chair

The war in Gaza was triggered by the attack launched on October 7 against Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza and which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people , mainly civilians, according to an AFP report established using official Israeli data.

More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and 129 of them are still being held in Gaza, 34 of whom died according to Israeli officials.

While negotiations for a truce are stalling, Israeli opinion is forcefully demanding from its leaders an agreement that would allow the release of the hostages.

Protesters once again demanded the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening in Tel Aviv. The families of the hostages called on Israelis to leave an empty chair at the ritual Seder meal Monday evening, which marks the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover, so as not to forget them.

"Seder night is coming, and this year we're going to have to leave an empty chair", said Ofir Angrest, whose brother Matan has been hostage since October 7.

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