Israel has declared that it has regained control of Gaza border areas from Hamas terrorists, marking a significant development in the ongoing conflict that has seen the death toll exceed 3,000. The announcement came on the fourth day of fierce fighting since Hamas launched a surprise attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that the military campaign initiated in response to Saturday’s attack is just the beginning of a sustained effort to eradicate Hamas and bring about transformative changes in the Middle East.
The possibility of a regional conflagration looms large as Israel contemplates a potential ground incursion into Gaza, the densely populated enclave from which Hamas initiated its land, air, and sea assault on the Jewish Sabbath.
In Israel, the death toll has tragically surpassed 900, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s 75-year history. Meanwhile, Gaza officials have reported 765 casualties as of now.
Reports from the conflict zone depict horrifying scenes of violence. One survivor recounted, “They shot everyone. They murdered in cold blood children, babies, old people – everyone.”
In a fiery address to the nation, Prime Minister Netanyahu compared the large-scale slaughter of Israeli civilians to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group (ISIS) during its control over significant territories in Syria and Iraq. He stated that “Hamas terrorists bound, burned, and executed children,” condemning them as “savages” and equating Hamas to ISIS.
Netanyahu, who leads Israel’s hard-right coalition, has called for an “emergency government of national unity” in response to the crisis, seeking to bridge longstanding political divisions and unite the nation during this critical period.
Israel has taken extensive military measures, including calling up 300,000 reservists for its “Swords of Iron” campaign. Tanks and other heavy armor have been deployed both near Gaza and along the northern border with Lebanon.
According to the Israeli military, its forces have largely reclaimed the embattled southern areas and the border surrounding Gaza, dislodging remaining Hamas fighters from multiple towns and kibbutzim. An army spokesman reported the discovery of around 1,500 bodies of Hamas fighters within Israel’s vicinity around the Gaza Strip.
Internationally, key ally the United States, which has also witnessed casualties among its citizens in the escalating conflict, has reaffirmed its full support for Israel. This stance has been echoed by Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, who jointly stated that they “recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people” but condemn Hamas for offering “nothing for the Palestinian people other than more terror and bloodshed.”
The conflict has had global ramifications, with citizens from various nations reported as killed, abducted, or missing, including Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Ukraine.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with the population of 2.3 million Palestinians enduring the devastation caused by thousands of Israeli airstrikes. Fear and chaos have gripped the region, as basic necessities such as water, food, and electricity have been cut off due to Israel’s total siege. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern over the siege, warning of further deterioration in Gaza’s already dire humanitarian situation.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk stressed that imposing sieges endangering civilian lives and depriving them of essential goods is prohibited under international humanitarian law.
As the conflict continues to escalate, the world watches with growing apprehension, and diplomatic efforts are underway to prevent further escalation and loss of life. Amidst the turmoil, regional powers such as Saudi Arabia have expressed their commitment to stability and efforts to prevent the spread of the conflict across the region.
The situation remains fluid and complex, with the potential for even greater repercussions as Israel seeks to regain control of the situation and bring an end to the ongoing violence.
Sources By Agencies