Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: MOHAMMED ABED / AFP 4:22 p.m., February 19, 2024

On the 134th day of the war between Israel and Hamas, the Jewish state threatens to continue its offensive during Ramadan in the Gaza Strip if the hostages are not released by then. For its part, Hamas reports more than 29,000 deaths in Gaza.

Israel has threatened to continue its offensive during Ramadan in the Gaza Strip if the hostages are not released by then, with Hamas reporting on Monday more than 29,000 dead in more than four months of war in the besieged Palestinian territory. and devastated. As hopes for a truce fade, the international community is especially concerned about the fallout from a ground offensive by the Israeli army for the 1.4 million people crowded into the town of Rafah backed by the closed border of the Egypt, the majority of displaced people living in very harsh conditions.

The human toll in Gaza continues to rise with the death of 29,092 people killed since the start of the war, including 107 in the last 24 hours in dozens of nighttime strikes, notably on Rafah and Khan Younes, in the south of the Gaza Strip. according to Hamas. Israel has for weeks been concentrating its military operations in the south of the Gaza Strip, in Khan Younes, hometown of Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahia Sinouar, alleged mastermind of the unprecedented attack on October 7 by the Palestinian Islamist movement on the Israeli soil, which started the war.

Information to remember:

  • Israel threatens to continue its offensive in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan if the hostages are not released by then

  • More than 29,000 people have died in the Gaza Strip

  • Israeli troops move closer to Rafah, home to 1.4 million Palestinian civilians

  • Israel assures that a ground offensive in Rafah would take place within the framework of a dialogue with "American and Egyptian partners", "by facilitating the evacuation of civilians" to "minimize (...) as much as possible" the number civilian casualties

Israeli troops are located not far from Rafah, a town at the southern tip of Gaza where Israel threatens to enter to drive Hamas from its "last bastion", saying it is preparing plans to "evacuate civilians", without further details.

“The world must know and Hamas leaders must know – If by Ramadan, our hostages are not at home, the fighting will continue everywhere, including in the Rafah region,” Minister Benny warned on Sunday. Gantz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet. "Hamas has a choice. They can surrender, release the hostages and the civilians of Gaza will be able to celebrate the festival of Ramadan", the holy Muslim month of fasting which must begin this year around March 10, said Benny Gantz.

“Minimize” civilian casualties

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from the neighboring Gaza Strip launched an attack of unprecedented violence against southern Israel, during which more than 1,160 people were killed, the majority civilians, according to a count of the 'AFP produced from official Israeli data. Around 250 people were kidnapped and taken to Gaza. According to Israel, 130 hostages are still being held there, 30 of whom are believed to have died, after the release at the end of November following a truce of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.


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In retaliation, Israel swore to annihilate Hamas and launched a major offensive in the Palestinian territory of 362 km2 which caused, in addition to a very heavy human toll, massive destruction, the displacement of 1.7 of the 2.4 million inhabitants and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis according to the UN.

Setting the tone last week, Benjamin Netanyahu said he was aiming for "a total victory" against Hamas which took power in 2007 in Gaza, a movement described as "terrorist" by Israel like the United States and the European Union. “Anyone who wants to prevent us from carrying out an operation in Rafah is in effect telling us to lose the war. I am not going to give in to that,” he said. According to Benny Gantz, a land offensive in Rafah would be carried out within the framework of a dialogue with "American and Egyptian partners", "by facilitating the evacuation of civilians" to "minimize (...) as much as possible" the number civilian casualties.

Israel did not say where or how these civilians would be evacuated, but Egypt expressed its rejection of any “forced displacement” of Palestinians to its territory.


After subjecting Gaza to a deluge of fire, the Israeli army launched a ground offensive there on October 27 and deplored the deaths of 235 soldiers. Violent fighting took place on Monday in Khan Younes, according to witnesses. The Nasser hospital stormed by the Israeli army is out of service, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Hamas. But Israeli authorities said the facility was "operational during all troop activities" and had "facilitated its supply."

Soldiers entered it on Thursday based on information that hostages were being held there, and arrested around a hundred people. Despite a destructive war, the United States, Israel's main ally, has threatened to block an Algerian draft resolution at the UN Security Council demanding "an immediate humanitarian ceasefire", which must be submitted to the vote Tuesday. Negotiations between international mediators with a view to a truce are stalling.

On Monday in The Hague, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest court of the UN, begins to examine the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967. That year, Israel seized from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The first two territories are still occupied; Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and imposed a blockade there from 2007. “The Palestinians are suffering colonialism and apartheid,” declared the head of Palestinian diplomacy, Riad Al-Maliki, before the ICJ.