April 16, 2024

Westside People

Complete News World

First day of Ramadan in Gaza under Israeli bombardment

First day of Ramadan in Gaza under Israeli bombardment

Ramadan began Monday in the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip, where there is no ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, while famine-stricken people desperately await aid.

• Read more: Biden judges that Netanyahu is “doing Israel more harm than good” in the war in Gaza.

• Read more: As an aid ship prepares to sail to Gaza, hope for a cease-fire dwindles

• Read more: Lebanon: 5 killed in Israeli airstrike on a house, including 3 Hezbollah members

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a “silence of the guns” in Gaza and the release of hostages there “to honor the spirit of Ramadan” since the fighting began on October 7.

As the Muslim world enters the holy month of fasting, many residents of the Palestinian territories have woken up to Israeli attacks, which have particularly targeted the cities of Gaza in the north, Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south.

“The beginning of Ramadan is shrouded in darkness, the taste and stench of blood is everywhere,” Avni al-Qayyal, a 50-year-old displaced person in Rafah, told AFP.

“I woke up in my tent and started crying about our fate. Suddenly I heard explosions and explosions,” he said. “The (Israeli) occupation did not want us to have happy moments for Ramadan. We had no food on the dining table because we broke the fast on Monday evening,” he added.

“The Aid Boat”

Meanwhile, a ship from Spanish NGO Open Arms carrying 200 tons of food is due to leave Cyprus, the EU's closest neighbor to Gaza, to the Palestinian territories as part of a sea route the EU wants to build.

See also  The FBI operates in two apartments associated with the Russian oligarchy

The ship is awaiting the green light from Cypriot authorities to depart from the Mediterranean port of Larnaca, about 370 kilometers from Gaza.

On Sunday, residents flocked to the beach in southern Gaza City hoping to catch a glimpse of his arrival. “They said a boat full of aid would arrive and people would be able to eat,” one of them, Mohammed Abo Bait, told AFP. “Only God knows. We won't believe it until we see it,” he added.

A U.S. military ship also left the U.S. with equipment needed to build a jetty to unload aid supplies, which could take up to 60 days.

But the UN, which fears widespread famine in the territory of 2.4 million people besieged by Israel since October 9, ensures that aid shipments by sea and air bases organized daily by several countries cannot replace land routes.

International aid, controlled by Israel, is only flowing into the Gaza Strip, where the needs are immense.

The aid comes mainly from Egypt through Rafah, a town near the border with Egypt, where nearly one and a half million people have gathered, according to the UN.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, in response to criticism from the United States, reaffirmed his intention to launch a ground assault on the city to decisively defeat Hamas and free the hostages.

“We will go there. We will not abandon them. You know, I have a red line (…) October 7 will not happen again. Never again,” he told Politico newspaper, confirming that he has the support of “the majority of Israelis” in his war against Hamas.

See also  The Supreme Court has rejected the dangerous election theory

On October 7, the war was sparked by an unprecedented attack by Hamas commandos who infiltrated from Gaza in southern Israel, killing at least 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally from official Israeli sources.

In response, Israel vowed to destroy the Islamic Movement, which has been in power in Gaza since 2007, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union.

Its army has launched an offensive that has so far killed 31,112 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas Health Ministry, with 67 dead in 24 hours on Monday.

Four of them from the same family were killed in a strike at their home during dawn prayers in Rafah, the ministry said.

“Don't Look For Us”

Despite fresh talks in early March among the three mediators in Cairo, the United States, Qatar and Egypt, no agreement on a ceasefire could be reached.

Hamas specifically demands a firm cease-fire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops ahead of any deal to release hostages.

Israel is demanding that Hamas provide an accurate list of hostages still alive, but the Palestinian movement has said it does not know who among them is “alive or dead.” According to Israel, 130 hostages are still in Gaza, 31 of whom are believed to be dead, out of about 250 abducted on October 7.

The extremely tense climate created by the war in Gaza has led to fears of violence, particularly in East Jerusalem, where the Esplanade des Mosques, home to Islam's third holiest site, is where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gather each evening during Ramadan.

See also  Live | Advances in Govt-19

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pledged on Monday that Israel would respect freedom of worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites, but warned that it was “ready” to respond to any escalation. “We say to everyone: don't look for us. We are ready, make no mistake,” he said.

US President Joe Biden sent a message of solidarity for Ramadan that said “the suffering of the Palestinian people will be at the forefront of many minds. It is for me,'' he said.

As the custodian of Islam's two holiest sites, Saudi Arabia's King Salman urged the international community to ensure “safe humanitarian and aid corridors are established.”