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Demonstrators commemorate Hamas executive's killing in Tunisia in 2016

Demonstrators march in Sfax, Tunisia, on Dec. 16, 2023.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


Nearly a thousand protesters, many shouting Free Palestine, marked the seventh anniversary of the assassination of Hamas executive Mohamed Zouari in Sfax, central-eastern Tunisia.

59-year-old Zouari was shot dead in the city on December 15, 2016. At the time, Tunisian authorities blamed foreign agents for the engenieer's murder.

On Saturday (Dec. 16), the march coordinator highlighted the context of this year's commemoration.

"Every year we commemorate the anniversary [of the assassination] of the martyr Mohamed Zouari, but on a limited scale. This year's commemoration is special because it coincides with the flooding of al-Aqsa [Hamas attack on 7 October]," Mourad Ayedi said.

The Hamas operation killed 1.140 people, mostly Israeli civilians on October 7. 

Since then, Israel's military response has killed 18,800 Palestinians mainly women and children.

No resolution of the decades-long conflict seems within reach.

The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday (Dec. 13) to demand a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. The vote in the 193-member world body was 153 in favor, 10 against and 23 abstentions, and ambassadors and other diplomats burst into applause as the final numbers were displayed. 

The United States and Israel were joined in opposing the resolution by eight countries — Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay.

Ongoing offensive

Three Israeli hostages who were mistakenly shot by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip had been waving a white flag and were shirtless when they were killed, military officials said Saturday (Dec. 16), in Israel's first such acknowledgement of harming any hostages in its war against Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationwide address that the killings “broke my heart, broke the entire nation’s heart,” but he indicated no change in Israel’s intensive military campaign. “We are as committed as ever to continue until the end, until we dismantle Hamas, until we return all our hostages,” he said.

On December 16, the siege of Catholic Christians in the Holy Land announced that an unarmed mother and her daughter were killed by Israeli Denfence forces as they look for safety inside the convent of the Sisters of Mother Teresa.

For a month, Palestinians have been living under relentless bombardment by the Israleli military which has targeted “hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches, and UN facilities,” the United Nations Secretary-General said last month.

Since the outbreak of war, violence in the West Bank from Israeli forces and settlers has reached record levels. Since Oct. 7, 287 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. That's the deadliest year on record in the West Bank in 18 years, it said.

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