Israel-Hamas War, Day 189: Deadly Israeli Raids in Gaza; Israel on alert after threats from Iran

According to the Hamas press office, Israeli forces destroyed dozens of houses and residential buildings using explosives in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the center of the Gaza Strip.

“Bombing hit Nousseirat all night. (…) This is the sixth time that we have been displaced. The occupation has destroyed all of Gaza. Gaza has become unlivable,” a witness told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The Israeli military reported strikes against “more than sixty terrorist targets” in the Gaza Strip, including underground posts and military infrastructure.

Dozens of air raids were also carried out on Friday according to Hamas, targeting several areas in the center of the small strip of land – including Nousseirat. At least twenty-five members of the same family were killed in a pre-dawn strike on a six-story building in the Al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City, according to a relative of the family. the AFP.

In the past 24 hours, 89 additional deaths have been recorded in Gaza, bringing the estimated number of people killed in Israeli operations since October 7 to 33,634, the Hamas health ministry said Friday. On the Israeli side, the war also led to the deaths of 1,170 people, the majority of them civilians, according to a report established by AFP based on official Israeli data.

Threats of an Iranian attack on Israel are “credible” and “real,” a White House spokesperson said Friday, who declined to provide further details on potential targets and timing. The United States intends to “do everything possible to ensure that Israel can defend itself,” also declared John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council.

While the mediators – Qatar, Egypt, United States – await responses to their latest truce proposal, the risks of a widening of the conflict have increased with Iran’s threats against Israel. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose country supports Hamas, declared that Israel would be “punished” after a deadly attack attributed to him on April 1 in Syria. In this context of possible escalation with Iran, an American general in charge of the Middle East, Michael Erik Kurilla, is currently in Israel to discuss “security threats in the region” with the country’s military leaders.

“Israel will not tolerate an Iranian attack on its territory,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. “If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran,” warned the head of Israeli diplomacy, Israel Katz, before him.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked his Chinese, Turkish and Saudi counterparts to dissuade Tehran from any attack against Israel. But the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, stressed the “necessity” to respond to the strike against his consulate.

Moscow and Berlin, for their part, called for restraint, and the German airline Lufthansa suspended its flights to and from Tehran until Saturday. The United States has restricted the movements of its diplomatic personnel in Israel, and France has recommended that its nationals “absolutely refrain from traveling in the coming days to Iran, Lebanon, Israel and the territories Palestinians.”

“The first trucks of food aid entered Gaza yesterday [Thursday] through the new northern crossing point” located in the south of Israel, the Israeli body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs, Cogat, declared on X. “The trucks were subjected to extensive security checks by the security authorities of the Land Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense,” before being escorted by the Israeli army to the new crossing point, he said. the army said in a separate statement.

In response to requests from AFP, Israeli authorities did not reveal the number of trucks that entered on Thursday, nor the exact location of the new crossing point, which the media located near the Israeli town of Zikim, not far from Erez, a crossing point currently closed.

For now, most trucks enter through the Rafah crossing point on the Egypt-Gaza border at the southern tip of Palestinian territory.

Two Palestinians, including a Hamas member, were killed in an Israeli army operation launched overnight from Thursday to Friday in the occupied West Bank, according to the Israeli army. The latter specified that it had eliminated Mohammed Omar Daraghmeh, “head of Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure in the Tubas region” in the northern West Bank.

He had, according to the Israeli army, “planned major terrorist attacks against Israel in recent months.” During the operation during which the soldiers were targeted by fire and explosive devices, another Palestinian was killed, the army said.

Rather than exchanging through liaison bodies, the United Nations and other humanitarian actors “must speak to those who fire,” the humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Jamie McGoldrick, told journalists in Geneva on Friday, at the end of a three-month mission. “We need to go to the people who control the guns, and we need to get along,” he said, asserting that “the deconfliction and notification systems are not adequate.”

Speaking by videoconference from Jerusalem, he explained that “the [Israeli Armed Forces] have never worked with humanitarian actors in this type of environment. They don’t understand how we operate, they don’t understand our language and our objective. And we don’t understand their expectations.” “We need to have a hotline and be able to talk to them,” he insisted, saying there has been no “notable improvement” since the beginning of April.

Fighters from the Al-Quds Brigades – armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad –, the Noukhba unit of Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades – armed wing of Hamas – “committed widespread sexual and gender-based violence, in a systematic manner, using them as a weapon of war,” the European Union (EU) said on Friday.

The EU specifies that the abuses committed by Hamas fighters include “the rape and murder of minors, the mutilation of corpses and genital mutilation”. She also accused the attackers of “targeted kidnapping of women and girls.”

The decision to impose sanctions on Hamas is part of an agreement between EU countries also providing for sanctions against Israeli settlers in the West Bank, accused of violence against Palestinians.