The Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip on Saturday, December 2, for a second consecutive day since the expiration of the truce between the Jewish state and Hamas. “We are currently striking Hamas military targets across the entire Gaza Strip,” Jonathan Conricus, an army spokesman, said Saturday morning. For its part, the Gaza Health Ministry, administered by Hamas, has reported nearly 200 deaths and nearly 600 wounded since the resumption of Israeli strikes on Friday.

Israel and the Palestinian movement blame each other for the end of the truce, which allowed the release of around a hundred hostages in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners as well as the entry of more humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

Hamas said it had “proposed an exchange of prisoners and elderly people” among the hostages, as well as the handover to Israel of the bodies of Israeli hostages “who died in Israeli bombings.” The Israeli army also confirmed late Friday the death of five captive hostages in the Gaza Strip, giving their names, adding that it had “informed the families of their deaths.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Islamist movement of having “violated the agreement” and “fired rockets” towards Israel on Friday shortly before the truce expired. And his government promised Hamas “the worst beating.”

Israeli strikes on Damascus

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Antonio Guterres, said he “deeply regrets” the resumption of clashes in Gaza which “only shows how important it is to have a genuine humanitarian ceasefire”.

According to the Hamas government, more than 15,000 people, including more than 6,150 minors, have died in Israeli strikes since October 7. “If violence resumes at this scale and intensity, we can assume that hundreds more children will be killed and injured every day,” Unicef ​​Director General Catherine Russell said in New York.

On Israel’s northern border, exchanges of fire have also resumed between the Israeli army and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas. Hezbollah deplored the death of two of its members due to Israeli bombings in southern Lebanon, where a civilian was also killed. The movement has claimed responsibility for attacks against Israel.

The Israeli army also carried out airstrikes on Saturday near the Syrian capital Damascus, the Syrian defense ministry said, without immediately reporting any casualties. According to Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an NGO which has a vast network of sources in Syria, the Israeli air force targeted “targets of the Hezbollah.” Israel has not communicated on possible strikes in this region.

And, according to the Palestinian agency WAFA, Israeli forces carried out night operations in different sectors of the occupied West Bank, where Hamas also has support.

More than 130 hostages still in Hamas hands

After the release of a total of 110 hostages since the start of the conflict, including 105 during the truce, mostly women and minors, there remain 136 hostages in Gaza held by Hamas and other affiliated groups, Israeli authorities said .

On Friday, relatives and supporters of the hostages gathered in a Tel Aviv square, now known as Hostages Square, with Torah scrolls, representing the number of hostages remaining in Gaza.

The day after a visit to Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States, Israel’s main allies, remained “focused” on the release of the hostages. “We continue to work with Israel, Egypt and Qatar to get the truce back on track,” said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Qatar, the emirate which announced the truce, called on the international community to act because the resumption of bombings “exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

The truce had offered respite to the inhabitants of Gaza and allowed an acceleration of humanitarian aid, but this flow, although described as very insufficient by the UN, has now dried up. “No aid trucks have entered since the resumption of Israeli bombings but preparations are underway for the evacuation of several wounded,” Waël Abou Omar, head of communications for the Rafah terminal, crossing point south of Gaza with Egypt.

The needs are immense in the territory already under an Israeli blockade, where more than half of the territory’s housing has been damaged or destroyed and 1.7 million people have been displaced by the war according to the UN. The health situation is deteriorating, with the World Health Organization describing 111,000 cases of acute respiratory infection and 36,000 cases of diarrhea in children under five among the displaced in Gaza.