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Le Monde
Le Monde
2 Dec 2023


Images Le Monde.fr

A few seconds after 7 am on Friday, December 1, explosions once again tore through the blue skies of Gaza. The fragile, hard-fought truce between Israel and Hamas came to an end after a week, with both sides blaming each other for its breakdown. On Saturday, the Israeli army confirmed that it was carrying out bombardments "throughout the Gaza Strip." The Gazans, already largely exhausted by the 48 days of the first phase of the offensive, are surviving in chaotic conditions. Two-thirds of the enclave's 2.3 million inhabitants have already been displaced – most having seen their homes bombed, taking only a few belongings with them.

"I have no idea what we're going to do," confided journalist Youmna El-Sayed on Instagram late Friday afternoon. "But the amount of pain we're just feeling in just these couple of hours is enormous." Since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 200 in the last 24 hours, according to the local Ministry of Health. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported the deaths of three more journalists in Gaza on December 1, bringing to 61 the number of media professionals killed since the Hamas attack on October 7 (54 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese).

Bombing and fighting raged in the north of the enclave, where the Israeli offensive had been concentrated until then, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City and in the Jabalia refugee camp. This time, the Israeli army also shelled the southern part of the enclave, causing more than 40 casualties in Rafah, according to the local Ministry of Health. It also laid down a belt of fire east of Khan Yunis, where clashes with Palestinian fighters took place overnight.

A few hours earlier, residents had been ordered to evacuate this area and head for Rafah, at the southern end of the coastal strip. Murad Abed, a young doctor and referent for mental health issues in Gaza for the NGO Doctors of the World, was left confused by the order. Before launching its offensive in November, the Israeli army had forced the inhabitants of the northern part of the enclave to leave for the south, triggering a huge population movement of almost a million people. Should these displaced people all be crammed into Rafah, Gaza's bombed-out bottom? "There are explosions everywhere," said the doctor, contacted by WhatsApp, who lives in Khan Yunis and works in nearby Deir Al-Balah.

According to Abed, the army's appeals have not, for the moment, prompted any new exodus. "The reception centers for the displaced [schools and hospitals] are overcrowded. There's no more room and people know it. What's more, the road from Khan Yunis to Rafah is littered with debris," he said. During the first phase of its offensive, the Israeli army carried out indiscriminate bombardments, which killed more than 6,000 Palestinian miners, according to figures from the local Ministry of Health.

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