On the 96th day of war, Israeli strikes on Gaza left more than 23,469 dead, the majority of them women, adolescents and children, according to the Ministry of Health in the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip on Thursday, January 11. On the front, early in the morning, Israeli aircraft increased strikes in the area of ​​Khan Younes, the main town in the south of the territory, which had become the epicenter of the fighting, according to witnesses. The army claimed to have discovered a vast network of tunnels there, including one through which “Israeli hostages passed”.

Relatives of hostages gathered in Nirim, in southern Israel bordering Gaza, to announce the names of those detained via loudspeakers, AFPTV noted.

In the Gaza Strip, the intensity of hostilities further aggravates the ongoing health disaster for the 2.4 million inhabitants, 85% of whom have been displaced and lack everything. From January 1 to 10, only 14 percent of the humanitarian aid scheduled to be delivered was delivered, the United Nations agency responsible for humanitarian coordination said Thursday, adding that in the center and south, three hospitals are threatened with closing due to the proximity of the fighting.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest judicial body of the United Nations (UN), in The Hague, has begun examining a complaint accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza. The hearings are held Thursday and Friday.

South Africa filed a petition with the body in December arguing that Israel’s war against Hamas fighters in Gaza violates the 1948 Genocide Convention. In its 84-page filing, South Africa South Africa says Israel is committing genocide by killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious mental and physical harm and creating conditions “calculated to bring about their physical destruction.” The 1948 treaty defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.”

The hearings will focus exclusively on South Africa’s request, which calls for emergency measures ordering Israel to suspend its military operations in Gaza while the court considers the case. The process could take years. Colombia and Brazil expressed their support for South Africa late Wednesday. Israel called South Africa’s lawyers “representatives of Hamas in court,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry wrote in a statement.

In response, Israel “is accused of genocide at a time when it is fighting genocide,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “A terrorist organization has committed the worst crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust and now someone is coming to defend them in the name of the Holocaust. What nerve ! “, he added in a press release.

American Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo on Thursday morning for the final stage of his diplomatic marathon in the Middle East devoted to the conflict in the Gaza Strip. A rapprochement between Israel and the Arab countries, the majority of which do not recognize it, would be “the best way to isolate Iran and its proxies”, he estimated. “Israel’s security and [regional] integration are linked to opening a path to a Palestinian state,” he added.

He also judged that a rapprochement between Israel and the Arab countries, the majority of which do not recognize it, would be “the best way to isolate Iran and its proxies”, while Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah are part of the movements supported by Tehran in the region. Mr. Blinken, however, noted that he did not think that “the conflict is intensifying”, in particular despite the violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

For his part, American mediator Amos Hochstein visited Beirut as part of American efforts to ease tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border. “We must find a diplomatic solution that would allow the Lebanese to return to their homes in southern Lebanon (…) and the Israelis to return to their homes in the north,” he said after meetings with senior officials Lebanese.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday demanded an “immediate” end to Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea. The resolution prepared by the United States and Japan, adopted by eleven votes in favor and four abstentions (Russia, China, Algeria, Mozambique), “condemns in the strongest terms the attacks, at least two dozen, against merchant ships and commercial since November 19, 2023″, the date on which they seized the Galaxy-Leader, taking its twenty-five crew members hostage.

Since the start of the war on October 7, 2023, between Israel and Hamas, the Houthi rebels, who control a large part of Yemen, have increased attacks in the Red Sea in order to slow down international maritime traffic there, claiming to act in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

French naval forces “accompany” ships “under the French flag or of French interest” throughout their crossing of the Red Sea, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Slaars, commander for the area, declared on Thursday, assuring that “it there is no subordination to the American partner. On the other hand, we have an intelligent geographical distribution of efforts and we share our information. Our buildings are linked together in such a way that what is detected by one is seen in real time,” he said during a videoconference at the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

He also clarified during a press briefing with journalists that France was working closely with the American-led “Prosperity Guardian” mission in the region, through information exchanges and patrols. coordinated, but the command of the French forces remains entirely under the control of Paris.