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Conflict in the Middle East: Demonstrations against Hamas in Gaza following the death of a young person

Hamas leader Hanija remains confident of victory

13.35 hours: Two months after the start of Israeli ground operations in the coastal strip, Jihia al-Sinwar, the leader of the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, remains confident of victory. According to Hamas reports on Monday, in a letter to the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Hanija, and other members of the panel, Sinwar wrote, “The Kassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) are waging a fierce, brutal, and unprecedented battle against the Israeli occupation forces.”

 Sinwar claimed that they had inflicted heavy losses of life and equipment on the Israeli army. The Kassam Brigades had reportedly attacked at least 5000 Israeli soldiers, of which a third were killed, another third were seriously injured, and a further third were permanently incapacitated. These figures clearly contradict the Israeli army’s reports of more than 150 Israeli soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip.

 Sinwar also wrote that 750 Israeli military vehicles were either completely or partially destroyed. These claims also seem exaggerated. The Israeli army has not made any statements regarding this.

The Hamas leader in Gaza alleged that the Kassam Brigades had “crushed” the Israeli troops and were in the process of shattering them. However, this portrayal contradicts the situation. Sinwar wrote that the armed Hamas force would not submit to the Israeli conditions.

 Sinwar’s reaction may have been in response to reports of an Egyptian proposal to end the Gaza war. Hanija was recently in Egypt for talks with a delegation. He is considered the overseas leader of Hamas and resides in Qatar.

Reports suggest that the Hamas political leadership living in exile is already holding talks behind the backs of the two Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, Sinwar and Mohammed Deif, on how the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be governed after the war ends. Israel aims to systematically kill Sinwar and Deif, who are considered masterminds of the massacre on October 7th. It is suspected that they are hiding in the underground tunnel network in the south of the Gaza Strip.

During the Israeli offensive, large parts of the Gaza Strip were destroyed. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, more than 20,400 people were killed. About four out of five of the 2.2 million inhabitants of the coastal strip were displaced from their homes during the war, according to UN reports. UN relief organizations paint a picture of destruction, despair, hunger, misery, and suffering.

According to its own statements, the Israeli army has killed 8000 Hamas terrorists. This figure is currently not independently verifiable.

Maersk to allow ships to sail through the Red Sea again

Monday, December 25, 11.50 a.m.: The Danish shipping company Maersk plans to allow ships to sail through the Red Sea again after a pause due to increased attacks. The company is preparing to allow ships to navigate through the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Suez Canal again, Maersk announced on Sunday evening. On Saturday, they received confirmation that the announced security initiative “Operation Prosperity Guardian” had been established to enable merchant ships to pass through the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Suez Canal.

Since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, there has been an increase in attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels. According to US intelligence, the rebels in Yemen are supported by Israel’s archenemyIran backing.

Mid-December, Maersk instructed its container ships to temporarily avoid sailing through that area. Instead, freighters were diverted via South Africa. The attacks posed a significant threat to the sailors, the company announced at that time. Other shipping companies have also avoided the route.

In response, the USA announced to intensify their collaboration with armed forces of other countries in the region. According to US reports, several countries, including the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, and Spain are participating in the initiative named ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian.’ They aim to enhance the protection of trade ships.

Israeli army continues its attacks on Gaza Strip at Christmas

Monday, December 25, 06:51 am: On Christmas, the Israeli army continued its attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip. The health ministry controlled by the Islamist Hamas reported that twelve people were killed in an attack on the village of Al-Sawaida in the center of the Palestinian territory on Monday night. At least 18 people were killed in an attack on the city of Chan Junes in the south of the Gaza Strip.

The figures cannot be verified independently. The ministry further stated that there were around 50 Israeli attacks in the center of the Gaza Strip. The previous evening, the health ministry stated that at least 70 people were killed in an airstrike on the refugee camp of Al-Maghasi in the center of the Gaza Strip.

On the Israeli side, two more soldiers were killed, as announced by the country’s armed forces early Monday morning. This raised the number of Israeli soldiers killed since the beginning of the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip to 156.

Protests against Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the death of a teenager

6:25 pm: After the death of a teenager, protests erupted among angry Palestinians against the Islamist Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported unrest in the border town of Rafah on Sunday, involving dozens of people. The background was allegations that armed Hamas members had fired at a group of young men who were trying to take humanitarian aid without permission in the border area with Egypt. A teenager was killed and more people were injured. According to reports, a police station of Hamas was also set on fire during the protests.

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is becoming increasingly catastrophic in light of the Israeli military offensive in the narrow coastal strip. There are looting and chaotic scenes in the distribution of aid. The UN Security Council has demanded an increase in humanitarian aid in a resolution. Israel insists on controlling the deliveries to prevent arms smuggling. At the same time, the government in Jerusalem emphasizes that the inspections do not hinder the deliveries. Rather, the UN organizations would fail in distributing the aid in the Gaza Strip. Conversely, the UN points out that, under wartime conditions, it is hardly possible to transport and distribute goods.

There are also recurring eyewitness reports that armed Hamas members seize relief deliveries.Israel assumes that these are also intended for terrorists hiding in the underground tunnel system.

Speaker: Israeli Army Intensifies Offensive against Hamas in Southern Gaza Strip

Sunday, December 24, 09.49 AM: According to Israeli military spokesperson Jonathan Conricus, the Israeli army is intensifying its offensive against the radical Islamist Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. After the city of Gaza, “we are shifting south and concentrating our main operations on another stronghold of Hamas, Chan Junis,” said the Israeli military spokesperson to US broadcaster Fox News. The fighting in the north will continue, “perhaps with less intensity.”

The Islamist Hamas reported new attacks on Sunday, targeting Jabalia and the city of Gaza in the north, as well as Chan Junis in the south.

The trigger for the war was a major attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7. Hundreds of fighters from the Palestinian group, classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the USA, had infiltrated Israeli areas and committed atrocities against civilians. According to Israeli reports, around 1140 people were killed and about 250 people were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.

Since then, Israel has been carrying out massive attacks in the Palestinian territory with the stated goal of annihilating Hamas. According to the latest information from the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 20,250 people have been killed so far.

Read all developments on the war in Israel on the following pages.

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