No end in sight

Heavy fighting again in northern Gaza

09.07.2024 06:59

A renewed flare-up of intense fighting between the Israeli army and the Islamist Hamas in the north of the Gaza Strip is overshadowing the resumed negotiations on the release of hostages and a ceasefire. Israel is taking action against Hamas fighters in the city of Gaza both on the ground and from the air. 

In recent weeks, Israeli forces have repeatedly returned to areas from which they had previously withdrawn. This shows how the fight against Hamas could become a "protracted war of attrition", writes the Wall Street Journal.

Hostage negotiations threaten to fail
Israel's renewed action in the city of Gaza could lead to the resumption of indirect negotiations in Cairo on a hostage agreement failing, Hamas declared. Its foreign leader Ismail Hanija had warned the Qatari and Egyptian mediators accordingly. The USA, which is also acting as a mediator in the war, nevertheless sees opportunities for an agreement.

Israeli troops had already entered the area of the city of Gaza in the first month of the war. According to an analysis of satellite data, around 75 percent of the buildings in the area have been damaged or destroyed. (Bild: AP)
Israeli troops had already entered the area of the city of Gaza in the first month of the war. According to an analysis of satellite data, around 75 percent of the buildings in the area have been damaged or destroyed.

"Resume fighting until the goal is achieved"
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously demanded the right for Israel to continue fighting Hamas as a non-negotiable condition for an agreement (see video below). "Any agreement will allow Israel to resume fighting until all war aims are achieved," according to a list of conditions published by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

Video: Netanyahu insists on continuation of war

Netanyahu is "placing additional obstacles in the way of negotiations", according to a Hamas statement.

Mediators are currently trying to find wording to bridge the gap on points that are still in dispute. Netanyahu's list of conditions was met with criticism.

School building attacked
Meanwhile, Israel's air force also reportedly attacked several terrorists entrenched in a school building in the central Gaza Strip. According to Israel's military, the group of Hamas and Islamic Jihad (PIJ) fighters in the Nuseirat area was attacked with precision munitions on Monday evening in order to avoid civilian casualties.

The Israeli army once again pointed out that the two terrorist organizations were "systematically violating international law" by "misusing civilian facilities and the population as human shields for terrorist attacks against the State of Israel". According to Hamas, 16 people were killed in Nuseirat.

According to the army, this object had also served the terrorists as a hiding place and base of operations for attacks on the Israeli military. And steps had also been taken beforehand to minimize the risk to civilians during the attack. 

Casualty figures could rise
Meanwhile, Israel's army reached the headquarters of the UN refugee relief organization UNRWA in the city of Gaza. Army radio reported fighting with Hamas gunmen. According to Palestinian hospital reports, at least 15 people were killed. The number of victims could still rise because rescue workers are unable to reach many residential areas due to the fighting.

Air strikes on coastal town
Israel's Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi had already complained weeks ago that, due to a lack of political strategy, it was always having to fight in places that the army had actually taken beforehand and warned of a "Sisyphean task", according to media reports. According to the Syrian news agency, Israel also carried out an airstrike on a target near the Syrian coastal town of Baniyas. The attack caused material damage.

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