The deadly Israel-Hamas war completes a week today with peace proposals nowhere on the table. Rather, the massing up Israeli military is indicating at a ground invasion with the government determined to “wipe out” the Palestinian group.
Top US diplomat Antony Blinken visited Tel Aviv yesterday and assured his country’s support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He said he was shown horrifying photos of “baby riddled with bullets” and “soldiers beheaded”. The US has confirmed the death of at least 22 Americans in Israel.
India brought back 212 of its citizens from Israel this morning on a special flight under “Operation Ajay”. Flights have been arranged to facilitate the return of those who were unable to do so because Air India has suspended its flight from Israel. The government is bearing the cost of their return.
At least 1,200 have died in Israel and another 1,400 in Gaza strip since the war began Saturday. Besides, the bodies of 1,500 Hamas operatives were found in the Israeli territory, the government has claimed. Nearly 150 others who were dragged across from the Israeli side are also being held hostage by Hamas.
Israel has imposed a “complete” siege on Gaza, cutting off water, fuel and electricity supplies. The Palestinian territory’s sole power plant shut down on Wednesday after running out of fuel. Israel has vowed that it won’t allow humanitarian aid into Gaza until Hamas releases the hostages.
The United Nations said 423,000 people were internally displaced in the Gaza Strip and appealed for $294 million to address “the most urgent needs” of the vulnerable Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank.
Hamas launched a fierce rocket attack and hundreds of its operatives went on a rampage in Israeli border towns on Saturday, slaughtering civilians and kidnapping them to Gaza. This triggered Israeli airstrikes on Hamas hideouts in Gaza strip, reducing neighbourhoods into rubble.
Israel targeted Syria’s two main airports (in Damascus and Aleppo) yesterday, grounding flights and putting the airports out of service. It has also exchanged artillery fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, in a contested region.
Saturday’s Hamas assault unfolded on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah and came exactly 50 years and a day after the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Among the worst assaults was the massacre of about 270 people at a music festival near the Gaza strip. Hundreds of young Israelis and foreigners were forced to flee as the terror unfolded in the early hours.
The Hamas operatives used explosives and bulldozers to break through the security fence between Israel and Gaza. They streamed into nearby cities on motorbikes, pickup trucks, motorised gliders and speed boat, and slaughtered entire families in some instances.
Israel and Palestinian groups have fought several wars since Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007. The latest violence erupted a day after Hamas said that the “people had to draw a line to end the occupation” and added that Israel continued to commit crimes across Palestinian land, and especially on the holy site of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
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