Israel bombs Gaza during Muslim Eid Al-Fitr despite US rebuke - as it happened

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Apr 2024

Israeli strikes hit Gaza on Wednesday as Muslims marked the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and after US President Joe Biden labeled Israel's approach to the war as a "mistake."

Palestinian worshippers gather on April 10, 2024 in the courtyard of Gaza City s historic Omari Mosque, which has been heavily damaged in Israeli bombardment during the ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. Photo: AFP


Palestinians gathered for morning prayers on the first day of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday amid the ruins of Gaza, which has been devastated by more than six months of Israel's brutal war against the city.

Tens of thousands also flocked to Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where one worshipper, nurse Rawan Abd, said: "It's the saddest Eid ever ... you could see the sadness on people's faces.

"Usually we come to Al-Aqsa to celebrate, this year we came just to support each other," the 32-year-old woman said at Islam's third holiest site, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israeli forces kept up combat operations and airstrikes on Gaza a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed no let-up in the campaign to destroy Hamas and bring home the captives.

Netanyahu insisted on that "no force in the world" would stop Israeli troops from entering Gaza's far-southern city of Rafah, which is packed with displaced Palestinians.

His threat came amid ongoing talks in Cairo involving US, Egyptian, and Qatari mediators for a truce and captive release deal.

Biden, voicing his growing frustration with hawkish Netanyahu, issued some of his sternest criticism yet of the war, which has brought mass civilian casualties and widespread suffering.

"I think what he's doing is a mistake," Biden told Spanish-language TV network Univision in an interview aired Tuesday night after being recorded last week. "I don't agree with his approach."

He urged Netanyahu to "just call for a ceasefire, allow for the next six, eight weeks, total access to all food and medicine going into the country."



20:00 US President Joe Biden urged Hamas to move on a proposal for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal, while calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow more aid into the Palestinian territory.

"It's now up to Hamas, they need to move on the proposal that's been made," Biden told a press conference at the White House, adding that the amount of aid getting into Gaza following a tense call with Netanyahu was "not enough".

17:40 Three of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh's sons were killed Wednesday in an Israeli strike in Gaza, the Palestinian leader and Israel's military said, as war rages on after more than six months.

Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, told Al Jazeera network that three of his sons and some of his grandchildren were killed when their car was hit.

The deadly strike came as there were no signs of progress in mediation efforts led by the United States, Egypt and Qatar, seeking a halt in the fighting.

"Today three of my sons, Hazem, Amir and Mohammed, and some of my grandchildren were martyred" in the strike on their car, the political head of the Palestinian resistance group told Al Jazeera.

Several media reports and Hamas statements gave varying death tolls for the strike.

An Israeli military statement said its forces killed "three Hamas operatives" who were "on their way to carry out terrorist activities" in central Gaza, identifying them as Amir, Mohammed and Hazem Haniyeh.

"The IDF (Israeli military) confirms that the operatives are three of Ismail Haniyeh's children," the statement said, adding that they were members of Hamas's military wing.

According to Al Jazeera, a drone hit the family's car in the northern Gaza Strip's Al-Shati refugee camp.

AFP images showed Palestinians in Gaza City inspecting the badly damaged and charred vehicle.

It said Haniyeh was visiting wounded Palestinians who were evacuated from Gaza to receive treatment at a hospital in Doha, when he received the news of the strike.

The Hamas leader reacted with defiance, saying "the (Israeli) occupation believes... it will break the determination of our people" by targeting leaders of the movements and their relatives.

Haniyeh said the deadly strike would fail to force Hamas's hand in negotiations towards a truce and hostage release.

"If they (Israel) think that targeting my children... at the peak of these talks and before the movement's response, if they think that this will force Hamas to change its positions, they are delusional," he added.

"The blood of my children is not more precious than the blood of the Palestinian people," he said.

"We will not back down on our demands," he added.

Haniyeh also told Al Jazeera that, in total, nearly "60 members of my family have been martyred, including my grandchildren, my brother's sons, my sister's sons and my cousins".

16:30 Several countries, including France, airdropped around 110 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the war-torn Gaza, the French president and military said.

"Faced with the humanitarian emergency in Gaza, France continues to deliver medicine and food to the population," President Emmanuel Macron said on X, formerly Twitter, late Tuesday.

"With Jordan and other partners, the airdrop today allowed the delivery of more than 110 tonnes of cargo."

The French military said on Wednesday that Britain and Germany were involved in the operation, the largest France had taken part in so far.

The airdrops come as Muslims in the Gaza Strip mark a desperately sad Eid Al-Fitr for the end of the Ramadan fasting month, with little food and after Israeli bombardment overnight killed 14 people including children, according to the health ministry there.

Six months into the war, the United Nations has warned that the besieged territory — home to some 2.4 million Palestinians — is on the verge of famine.

Aid workers have repeatedly urged Israel to allow more food convoys in through the land border with Egypt, where trucks have been waiting in long lines for permission.

They say the overland route is more efficient and cheaper than airdrops.

15:00 The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said Wednesday that at least 33,482 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of the Israeli war on the strip.

The toll includes at least 122 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,049 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began on 7 October.

12:30 Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned Wednesday that Israel's "disproportionate response" in the Gaza war on the strip risks "destabilizing the Middle East, and as a consequence, the entire world."

Sanchez also insisted that the recognition of a Palestinian state, long resisted by Israel and its key allies, is "in Europe's geopolitical interests."

Sanchez had already raised the subject of statehood during a visit last week to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar when he told reporters that Spain could recognize Palestine as a nation by the end of June.

"The international community cannot help the Palestinian state if it does not recognize its existence," Sanchez told lawmakers Wednesday.

Since the start of the war in Gaza more than six months ago, the socialist premier has pushed for Europe to accord such recognition.

His criticism of the Gaze war has also raised tensions with Israel.


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