Palestine’s Hamas group has threatened to kill the hostages it had dragged to their side when they breached the border. The war has claimed at least 1,600 lives with Israel claiming another 1,500 Hamas operatives’ bodies found near the border.
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The bodies of 1,500 Hamas operatives were found in the Israeli region near the Gaza border, their army said this morning. This is in addition to the approximate 1,600 deaths reported by the two sides, but has not been confirmed by the Palestinian group. The Israeli military also asserted that they have “more or less restored control over the border” with Gaza.
“Every targeting of our people without warning will be met with the execution of one of the civilian hostages,” the armed wing of Hamas has warned Israel. Hamas also claimed that Israel airstrikes killed four of their citizens who were held as hostages in Gaza. The claim cannot be independently verified. (LIVE BLOG)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a stern warning to Hamas with his government reportedly mobilising 3,00,000 troops. “Israel is at war. We didn’t want this war. It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way. But though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it,” he told the nation.
“Hamas will understand that by attacking us, they have made a mistake of historic proportions. We will exact a price that will be remembered by them and Israel’s other enemies for decades to come,” Mr Netanyahu said, branding Hamas as ISIS.
Israel’s siege order has sparked UN fears of an increasingly dire humanitarian situation. “While I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
About 1,600 civilians and soldiers have died on both sides in the onslaught that began Saturday with a barrage of rockets fired towards Israel from Gaza. This includes over 900 in Israel, which has vowed to reduce Hamas sites in Gaza to “rubble”. The death count in Gaza has risen to 687.
The US has confirmed the deaths of 11 Americans in the Israel-Hamas war and expressed fear that several others were being held hostage by Hamas. But the White House said the US has no intention to get militarily involved in the war. They have also warned Iran and other actors against getting involved.
Israel has vowed to reduce Hamas sites in Gaza to “rubble” has raised concern in the UN. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would impose a “complete siege” on the long-blockaded enclave. The impact on its 2.3 million people will be “no electricity, no food, no water, no gas — it’s all closed”, he said.
Palestinians in the impoverished and crowded coastal territory are bracing for an Israeli ground attack aiming to defeat the Hamas and liberate at least 100 hostages. Netanyahu yesterday warned civilians in Gaza to get away from the Hamas sites which he has vowed to turn to “rubble”.
On Day 3 of the war, skies over Gaza were blackened by plumes of smoke as fighter jets roared above. Hamas kept firing rockets as far as Jerusalem, where air raid sirens blared and detonations were heard. A report from near the Gaza border had to take shelter in the basement of a hotel in the wake of air raid siren.
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.