Israel is escalating its military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to a surge in violence sparked by Hamas attacks. Here are the top 10 updates on this ongoing conflict:
- Israel’s Preparations for Ground Invasion: Israeli troops are amassing on the border with Gaza in anticipation of a ground invasion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a late-night meeting with top military officials to assess the escalating conflict. The Israeli military has reportedly struck approximately 320 targets in Gaza in the past 24 hours.
- Tensions on Israel’s Northern Border: Fresh exchanges of fire occurred over Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, raising concerns about the potential involvement of Iran-backed Hezbollah, a close ally of Hamas. Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Hezbollah against making “the mistake of its life.”
- Hezbollah’s Dangerous Game: Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus cautioned that Hezbollah is playing “a very, very dangerous game,” further escalating the situation with increased attacks.
- Iran’s Concerns: As violence rages on, Iran has expressed concerns that the situation could spiral “out of control.” Iran’s top diplomat, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, warned that the region might escalate further if the US and Israel do not intervene.
- US Stance and Military Readiness: The United States issued a warning that it would not hesitate to act in the event of any escalation. The Pentagon has increased military readiness in the region. Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that no one should take advantage of the situation to launch further attacks.
- Aid Convoy to Gaza: A second convoy of 14 aid trucks entered the Rafah crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip. US President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu have agreed to ensure a continued flow of critical assistance to Gaza. The humanitarian situation in Gaza has been described as “catastrophic” by five United Nations agencies, prompting a call for more international help.
- Hamas Commander Killed: In an Israeli airstrike, senior Hamas commander Muhammad Katamash was killed. Katamash played a significant role in planning and executing the group’s attacks against Israel.
- International Support and Calls for Civilians’ Protection: The US, the UK, France, Canada, and Italy have reiterated their support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. However, they have also urged Israel to protect civilians in Gaza and called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.
- Hostage Releases: Hamas recently released two hostages, US citizens Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan, who were among more than 200 people taken hostage when Hamas entered Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7. Negotiations for the release of the remaining hostages are ongoing.
- The Ongoing Conflict: The current conflict was initiated when Hamas launched a major attack on Israel’s border communities, resulting in a barrage of rockets fired into Israel and a breach of the high-security fence around Gaza. This has led to a significant loss of life on both sides, with Israel conducting a relentless bombing campaign, which has, according to Gaza’s health ministry, resulted in the deaths of over 4,650 Palestinians, primarily civilians.
As the situation remains volatile, the international community is closely monitoring developments and working towards de-escalation and humanitarian assistance in the region.
Sources By Agencies