War between Israel and Gaza: Israel orders the “siege” of Gaza; Hamas threatens to kill hostages | ET REALITY


Israel on Monday ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the largest and deadliest incursion into its territory in decades, as Hamas threatened to respond to the Israeli bombing campaign by executing civilians its fighters took hostage. In Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” will be allowed into Gaza, the overcrowded and impoverished coastal territory already under a 16-year blockade by part of Israel and Egypt. Israeli warplanes struck hundreds of sites in Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas militant group, including mosques and a market, as Israeli troops fought to regain control of towns overrun by Hamas gunmen on Saturday.

More than 900 people have been killed in Israel, Israel Defense Forces saying. More than 2,600 people have been wounded since the raid began early Saturday, and Hamas gunmen were holding about 150 hostage. the Israeli government said. Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obeida said the group would execute a civilian hostage every time an airstrike hit Gazans “in their homes without warning.”

At least 687 Palestinians were killed and at least 3,726 wounded, Gaza authorities said. The death toll is believed to include not only casualties in Gaza but also some of the attackers who died in the attack on Israel, although it was not immediately clear how many.

Israel mobilized 300,000 military reservists, a huge number for a country of 9 million people, amid signs that it could be preparing for a major ground invasion of Gaza and the possible opening of another front against the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah in the north. .

In a televised speech Monday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, warning of a long war ahead, vowed to “eliminate” Hamas. Netanyahu, who heads the most right-wing government in his nation’s history, called on the opposition to “immediately establish a national emergency government without preconditions.”

Lt. Col. Richard Hecht of the Israel Defense Forces told reporters on Monday that the next phase of fighting would not resemble the recent conflicts with Gaza, in which Palestinian groups fired rockets but caused relatively few casualties. and Israel would respond primarily with airstrikes. “We’re in a different game here,” he said. “We are at war with Hamas.”

Stupefied disbelief enveloped Israel, which seemed to have been taken completely by surprise by the attack and had not endured an assault of this scale and with so many casualties in 50 years. Adding to the commotion were the massive hostage takings and the fact that fighting on Israeli soil continued until the third day. Families watched as men and women who had completed their mandatory military service returned to duty, as the names of the dead appeared on television screens.

An Israeli airstrike on Monday devastated a busy open-air market in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, where Gazans, anticipating a long fight, had flocked to stock up on food and other supplies. . A Red Crescent paramedic, who was not authorized to speak to the media and requested anonymity, said 60 people died there.

Videos shared on social media and distributed by Palestinian news agencies showed bodies strewn among the rubble of what moments before had been stalls selling agricultural products and other goods. Broken concrete and twisted metal from the surrounding buildings filled the square, and people picked their way through the rubble, smoke and dust, searching for survivors.

“Is dead? Is dead? A man was heard screaming on video.

Israeli strikes also hit four mosques in the Shati refugee camp on Monday, according to Gaza authorities, toppling their domes and killing worshipers inside. Neighbors were sifting through the rubble of the Sousi mosque, where witnesses said children were playing soccer outside when it was destroyed.

Israeli strikes hit several mosques in the Shati refugee camp on Monday, including the Sousi mosque.Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

Israel’s military said it had carried out more than 500 airstrikes overnight, targeting operations centers of Hamas and another group, Islamic Jihad. It confirmed attacking several mosques, saying they contained Hamas infrastructure or fighters.

United Nations and Palestinian officials said at least two hospitals and several homes had also been attacked, and many Gazans said they had nowhere to go to escape the Israeli attacks.

President Biden said at least 11 U.S. citizens were confirmed dead in the Hamas attack and an unknown number were missing. “While we are still working to confirm this, we believe it is likely that there are American citizens among those held by Hamas,” he said. in a written statement.

He promised to work with Israel “on all aspects of the hostage crisis,” including intelligence sharing and the deployment of experts.

Biden and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Italy also issued a statement Monday night condemning “Hamas and its heinous acts of terrorism.”

According to his government, many other foreign nationals were reported dead, injured or missing, including 12 Thais killed, 11 kidnapped and nine injured. France said two of its citizens were killed and 14 were missing.

Israel has asked the United States to supply it with more precision-guided munitions for its fighter jets and more missiles for its Iron Dome air defense system, requests that the Biden administration is working on, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. A senior Pentagon official said the United States was already accelerating shipments of such weapons.

More than 100 people were killed over the weekend in a Hamas attack on an Israeli kibbutz, Be’eri, said Moti Bukjin, spokesman for the aid organization ZAKA, which was recovering bodies there on Monday. “It was a horrible job. They killed children there,” he said, adding that there were also dozens of dead militants in the city.

At least 109 people were killed on Saturday by gunmen who stormed a weekend music festival at a site in Israel three miles from the Gaza border. But ZAKA volunteers later reported that they had recovered approximately 260 bodies at the rave site, Bukjin said. Videos show concertgoers fleeing in terror south toward the desert and more than 100 vehicles abandoned on the side of the road.

An image taken from social media showing the aftermath of the attack on an Israeli music festival near the Gaza border on Saturday.Credit…Southern First Aid

Hamas’s armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, said four Israelis were killed in one of the Israeli airstrikes, along with Palestinian gunmen holding them captive, a claim that could not be independently verified.

A fresh barrage of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza wounded seven people on Monday, officials said, as sirens sounded in Jerusalem and across central Israel. Schools remained closed and flights in and out of the country were restricted.

Israeli leaders are concerned that Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militia allied with Iran, could engage in combat, and Israeli military units in the north are on high alert. Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006.

Fighting intensified on Monday on that front, along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, with Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility for small cross-border attacks there, a day after Hezbollah fired on Israeli posts and forces. Israelis responded. Israel’s military said on Monday it had attacked three Hezbollah outposts in Lebanon, and Hezbollah said three of its fighters had been killed. The group later said it had carried out attacks on two Israeli military barracks, using guided missiles and mortars.

It was unclear what motivated the timing of the most audacious attack Hamas has ever launched against Israel. Hamas is backed by Iran, as is Islamic Jihad, and Tehran is eager to derail a potential diplomatic deal between its two regional archenemies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Iranian Foreign Ministry denied that its government had any role in the fighting. U.S. officials said no evidence of Iranian involvement had emerged so far, but that Iran was complicit in the attack, given its years of support for Hamas.

Israel’s top military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, declared on Monday that the army had regained control of border communities, although “there may still be terrorists in the area.” But soon afterward, the army said soldiers and armed militants were exchanging fire in Kfar Azza, an Israeli village near the border.

Colonel Hecht said at a news conference on Monday that Israeli special forces troops were trying to clear militants from a civilian area.

“We thought this morning we would be in a better place,” he said.

Israeli rescuers were still removing the bodies of civilians who were killed in their homes by Hamas gunmen on Saturday.

Israel has mobilized 300,000 military reservists, an enormous number for a country of 9 million inhabitants.Credit…Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times

Netanyahu warned local leaders in southern Israel to prepare for a long fight, his office said.

“I know you’ve been through hard and terrible things. What Hamas will go through will be hard and terrible,” he told them, according to his office. “We are already in the middle of a battle that has only just begun.”

The United Nations humanitarian agency said Israeli strikes had displaced 123,000 Gazans and damaged water, sanitation and hygiene facilities affecting more than 400,000 people. The only power plant supplying electricity to Gaza could run out of fuel within days, aid agencies have said.

In the north, Israel’s Home Front Command ordered residents of 28 cities and towns near the Lebanese border to go to bomb shelters and other protected spaces. Residents were asked to bring food, water, mattresses and blankets, signaling that they might have to stay there for a while.

The Lebanese military said Israeli aircraft and artillery struck near the towns of Dhayra and Aita al Shaab, near the border with Israel, earlier on Monday. The army ordered Lebanese civilians “not to go to areas adjacent to the border for their safety.”

Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem, Aaron Boxerman from London and Hiba Yazbek from Nazareth, Israel. The report was contributed by Raja Abdulrahim, Ameera Harouda, Eduardo Wong, Farnaz Fassihi, Peter Panadero, Cassandra Vinograd, Ronen Bergman, Sui-Lee Wee, Eric Schmitt, Euan Ward and tiffany may.

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