Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credits: Mark Schiefelbein / POOL / AFP 4:22 p.m., February 5, 2024

On the 120th day of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday for his tour of the Middle East, which aims to achieve a truce in the fighting. At the same time, Hamas announced a new death toll of nearly 27,500. Europe 1 takes stock.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday, the first stop on his tour of the Middle East to try to achieve a new truce in the deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Anthony Blinken, whose country is Israel's main supporter, is making his fifth trip to the region since the war began on October 7. After Riyadh, he must go to Qatar, Egypt, Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The main information:

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Saudi Arabia to try to reach a new truce in the deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip

  • “Total victory” would deal “death blow” to Hamas and its pro-Iranian allies, says Benjamin Netanyahu

  • Hamas announces new death toll of 27,478

  • The Élysée plans a later "memorial time" for the French victims in Gaza, after the national tribute Wednesday to the French victims of the Hamas attack

'Total victory' would deal 'death blow' to Hamas and its pro-Iranian allies, says Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a "total victory" for the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip would deal a "fatal blow" to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, but also to Iran and its allies. . "Absolute victory is essential because it guarantees Israel's security (...). Total victory will deal a fatal blow to the 'axis of evil' that is Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis and of course the Hamas,” he said, according to comments reported by his office following a meeting with the military.

In the absence of victory, he further asserted, "the displaced (Israelis) will not return (home). The next massacre would only be a matter of time and Iran, Hezbollah and others will party here and destroy the Middle East.” The Israeli Prime Minister also reiterated this Monday that he "will not accept" Hamas' demands.

Hamas announces new death toll of 27,478

Hamas announced on Saturday a death toll of 27,478 people, the majority women, children and adolescents, in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement. It reported a total of 66,835 people injured since the start of the war on October 7.


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The Élysée plans a “memorial time” for the French victims in Gaza

The Elysée said on Monday that it was considering a "memorial time" in the future for the "French victims of the bombings in Gaza", after the national tribute which will be chaired on Wednesday by Emmanuel Macron for the French victims of the attack carried out on the 7th. October by Hamas in Israel.

Wednesday's ceremony at Les Invalides "aims to pay tribute to the victims of a major terrorist attack committed by Hamas," the French presidency told journalists. “Nevertheless, it is obvious that we owe the same emotion and the same dignity to the French victims of the bombings in Gaza,” she added in response to a journalist, explaining that the terms of this “memorial time” would be determined later. .

“Settler violence must stop,” says the head of French diplomacy in Israel

The head of French diplomacy, Stéphane Séjourné, estimated Monday that Israeli “settler violence” in the occupied West Bank must “stop”, following an interview in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There can in no case be any forced displacement of Palestinians, neither outside Gaza nor outside the West Bank,” added Stéphane Séjourné, on tour in the Middle East to try to push for a truce in the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The future of the Gaza Strip is inseparable from the future of the West Bank, we must prepare for this future by supporting the Palestinian Authority. It must renew itself and redeploy as soon as possible in the Gaza Strip,” he estimated.

UNRWA accuses Israel of hitting food aid convoy

As the war enters its fifth month on Wednesday, 128 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, were killed in 24 hours, Hamas announced. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has accused the Israeli army of a naval strike on a food aid convoy which was preparing to enter northern Gaza.

For its part, the army indicated that it had carried out “targeted raids” in the north and center of the territory, and killed “dozens of terrorists who were setting up ambushes” in Khan Younes. It has been shelling the city for weeks, claiming that leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement are hiding there. She announced on Sunday that she had taken over a complex used by Hamas as a training center to prepare for the bloody attack of October 7.

The war was sparked on October 7, 2023 by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israeli soil, which resulted in the death of more than 1,160 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. . In response, Israel launched a military offensive which left 27,478 dead, the vast majority of them civilians, according to a report released Monday by the terrorist movement.

In Rafah, further south, Hamas also reported Israeli strikes. In this city, which had 270,000 inhabitants before the war, according to the UN, there are now more than 1.3 million people who fled the fighting which devastated the besieged territory. The overpopulated city, located on the closed border with Egypt, could be the next objective of Israel which claims to want to "annihilate" the Islamist movement, classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured that the army had destroyed the majority of Hamas “battalions”. “Most of those who remain are in the southern Gaza Strip and Rafah, and we will take care of them,” he added.

Continued negotiations for a second truce

At the same time, negotiations continue to reach a second truce, after that of a week at the end of November. Around a hundred hostages held in Gaza were then exchanged for Palestinians held by Israel. Some 250 people were kidnapped on October 7 and 132 hostages are still being held in Gaza, according to Israel. Among them, 28 were declared dead by the Prime Minister's services.

During his tour, Anthony Blinken will support the project developed by the Qatari, American and Egyptian mediators in Paris at the end of January, which must still be approved by Hamas and Israel. The United States continues to support "Israel's right to defend itself" but displays growing frustration with the Israeli government. In Israel, Anthony Blinken will try to increase the delivery of food, water and medicine to the Gaza Strip where the humanitarian situation is disastrous according to NGOs.


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On January 26, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest court of the UN, called on the Israeli authorities to take “immediate measures” to allow the provision of aid “which the Palestinians urgently need” . According to a Hamas source, the proposal notably provides for a six-week truce with the release of 35 to 40 hostages in exchange for 200 to 300 Palestinian detainees.

Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, is demanding a complete ceasefire. This is what Benjamin Netanyahu refuses despite pressure from the families of the hostages who demonstrate almost daily to demand the release of their loved ones.

Tensions still high in Syria

The war in Gaza has caused renewed tension in the occupied West Bank where the Palestinian Authority accuses extremist settlers of deadly violence against Palestinians. “Settler violence must stop,” said French foreign minister Stéphane Séjourné on Monday, visiting Israel as part of a regional tour. “There can under no circumstances be any forced displacement of Palestinians, neither outside Gaza nor outside the West Bank,” he added after meeting Benjamin Netanyahu.

Furthermore, tensions are still high in Syria, where at least seven fighters from the Kurdish-led anti-jihadist forces were killed in a drone attack on an American base in the east of the country, according to an NGO. The attack, claimed Monday by the "Islamic Resistance in Iraq", a nebula of pro-Iranian groups, comes after retaliatory strikes carried out by the United States against elite Iranian forces and pro-Iranian armed groups in Syria and Iraq, which left at least 45 dead.

Washington was responding to the death of three American soldiers in an attack attributed to pro-Iranian groups on January 28 against a base in Jordan. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on these American strikes is scheduled for Monday in New York.