The war between Israel and Hamas has left 33,137 dead in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to a report released on Saturday April 6 by the territory’s health ministry, administered by the Palestinian Islamist movement. The Israeli army reported “targeted operations” and fighting during which “terrorists were eliminated” in Khan Younes, a town transformed into a field of ruins located a few kilometers north of Rafah. In the latter are crowded nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority displaced, who fear the Israeli ground offensive desired by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom Rafah is the “last great bastion of Hamas”.

The announced offensive, which the American ally opposes, makes the international community fear a large number of civilian victims. “Hell on earth”, “uninhabitable place of death”… the UN continues to warn about the situation in the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel since October 9 and already subject to a total blockade since 2007, two years later the Israeli withdrawal from this territory occupied for thirty-eight years.

American and Israeli negotiators are expected in Cairo, Saturday April 6 and Sunday April 7, for yet another attempt to reach a truce associated with the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip, battered by a devastating war which enters its seventh on Sunday month.

US President Joe Biden asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to reach an agreement on the Israeli hostages” kidnapped during the Hamas attack. But he also asked the heads of state of Qatar and Egypt, the mediators with the United States, “to get Hamas to commit to accepting an agreement,” he told the Agency. France-Presse a senior American official. “What remains fundamentally true is that there would be a ceasefire in Gaza today if Hamas had agreed to release the vulnerable category of hostages – the sick, the wounded, the elderly and young women “, he added.

After a first and last one-week truce at the end of November which allowed the release of around a hundred hostages in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, several series of negotiations between the protagonists through international mediators took place in Cairo, in Doha, in Paris. In vain. Hamas announced on Saturday that it “would not give up” on its demands for a ceasefire with Israel, while announcing the sending of a delegation to the talks planned in Cairo. “The demands of our population and our national forces are a complete ceasefire, a withdrawal of the occupying forces from Gaza, the return of the displaced to their neighborhoods, freedom of movement, assistance and shelter for the population. And a serious hostage exchange agreement,” said a statement from the Palestinian Islamist movement.

The army announced that it had recovered during the night, in Khan Younes, the body of hostage Elad Katzir, who was 47 years old when he was kidnapped on October 7, 2023 from Kibbutz Nir Oz. According to her, he “was killed in captivity by the [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad terrorist organization” which participated in the October 7 attack.

The body of Elad Katzir was repatriated to Israel, where he was formally identified, said the army, which expressed its “deepest condolences to the family” of the deceased. “Our mission is to locate and bring the hostages home,” she added. His mother, Hanna, also taken hostage on October 7, 2023, was released on November 24 as part of the only truce in six months of war between Israel and Hamas. His father, Avraham, was killed the day of the attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on the kibbutz.

For Carmit Palty Katzir, Mr. Katzir’s sister, releasing him alive “could have been possible if a hostage deal had been reached in time. Our leaders are cowardly and driven by political considerations, which is why an agreement has not yet been reached.”

The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Martin Griffiths, called for “accountability for this betrayal of humanity” represented, according to him, by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. This departing senior United Nations official also denounces the fact that, despite “global indignation”, “so little has been done to put an end to it, leaving room for such great impunity”.

“For the people of Gaza, the last six months of war have brought nothing but death, devastation and now the looming prospect of a shameful, man-made famine,” he wrote in a written statement from New York, on the eve of six months of war. On site, recalls the Briton, “no one is safe, there is nowhere to go to protect yourself”.