Israel and Hamas Conflict Escalates
Hamas Fires Rockets at Ashkelon
Hamas, the militant group in Gaza, launched hundreds of rockets towards the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday. This act of defiance came at the same time as Israel strengthened its military presence along the border with Gaza. CNN teams on the ground witnessed the 40-minute barrage, although many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
Israel Responds with Air Strikes
In response to the rocket attacks, Israel carried out air strikes in Gaza, hitting over 200 targets overnight. The United Nations reported that more than 187,500 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes due to the bombardment. Hamas said that the strike on Ashkelon was in retaliation for the displacement of civilians in Gaza.
Israel Secures Border and Recovers Bodies
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declared that they have “more or less” secured the border with Gaza, which was breached on Saturday when Hamas fighters infiltrated Israeli territory. Since then, the IDF has recovered the bodies of about 1,500 Hamas fighters inside Israel. The situation is further complicated by the fact that up to 150 hostages are being held in Gaza.
Israel Pledges “Complete Siege”
Israel has vowed to cut off all supplies to Gaza in a “complete siege” ahead of an expected ground incursion. The country’s ambassador to the United Nations stated that their priority is to “obliterate Hamas terrorist capabilities.” However, the exact scale and timing of the Israeli response remain uncertain.
Israel Vows to Attack with Force
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israeli forces will attack Hamas with a force “like never before.” He stated that the destruction of Hamas’ strongholds in Gaza is just the beginning, and that the enemy will get what they asked for. Netanyahu emphasized that difficult days are still ahead.
Israel Prepares for Major Offensive
Israel has amassed troops along the southern border and saturated the area with tanks and air coverage. Civilians have been evacuated, and more than 300,000 Israeli reservists have been called up. The IDF spokesperson confirmed that plans are in place to expand the air strikes and potentially launch a major offensive into Gaza.
Hezbollah Threatens Israel
The IDF has also increased its presence along the northern border with Lebanon, anticipating a possible attack by Hezbollah. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for targeting three Israeli sites in Shebaa Farms, which Lebanon considers occupied. Tensions remain high as rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel, prompting Israel to respond with artillery fire.
Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
The conflict has taken a toll on the people of Gaza, who have been living under a strict siege for nearly 17 years. More than half of the population lives in poverty and relies on humanitarian aid. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been forced to close all 14 of its food distribution centers in Gaza, leaving half a million people without vital food aid.
Targeting of Civilians and Medical Facilities
The Palestinian Health Ministry accused Israeli forces of deliberately targeting civilian neighborhoods, health facilities, and medical and rescue crews. The ministry reported that five medical staff have been killed in targeted attacks. Israeli forces defended their actions, stating that distinguishing between civilian and military targets is not always straightforward.
Read More of this Story at www.cnn.com – 2023-10-10 15:53:00
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