Biden to address war as Israel imposes ‘full siege’ on Gaza

President Joe Biden is expected to address the war between Israel and Hamas at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday as the United States rushes to deliver military aid to Israel amid the deepening conflict. Biden has faced pressure from some Democrats and human rights groups to take a stronger stance against Israel’s actions, which have killed more than 200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, in Gaza. The president has repeatedly affirmed his “rock solid” support for Israel’s right to defend itself but has also expressed concern about the rising casualties and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.


Biden’s speech comes as the U.S. is sending a carrier strike group closer to Israel and will begin supplying munitions, including precision-guided missiles, to replenish Israel’s arsenal. The U.S. has also blocked three attempts by the United Nations Security Council to issue a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire, saying it would not help de-escalate the situation. The U.S. has instead relied on diplomatic efforts by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other envoys to urge both sides to end the hostilities.

Israel orders ‘complete siege’ on Gaza after Hamas attack

Israel’s defense minister Yoav Gallant has ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza, saying authorities would cut off supplies of electricity, food and fuel to the Palestinian enclave, two days after Hamas fighters unleashed a barrage of rockets and infiltrated southern Israeli towns during an unprecedented incursion from the Palestinian territory. Gallant, a former IDF commander who now serves in Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline nationalist government, said he planned to “fight human animals and we act accordingly”.

Israel has been launching a barrage of retaliatory airstrikes against Gaza, with the death toll on both sides climbing. According to the Gaza health ministry, at least 213 Palestinians, including 61 children and 36 women, have been killed and more than 1,400 wounded since the fighting began on May 10. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children and a soldier, have been killed and more than 300 injured by rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel said it had retaken control of its territory 48 hours after the bloody raid by Hamas fighters, despite reports of ongoing fighting and new breaches of the border into southern towns. “We can’t deny that there are terrorists still inside Israel,” Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Richard Hecht said. “There are still small pockets of exchange, but in general right now, we have more or less gained control of the communities.”

Hamas threatens to execute hostages as international pressure mounts

Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza, has threatened to execute some of the Israeli hostages it captured during its attack on Sunday, unless Israel releases Palestinian prisoners and stops its airstrikes. Hamas said it had seized 13 Israeli soldiers and civilians, including four Americans, in what it called a “heroic operation” that penetrated deep into Israeli territory. Israel has confirmed that six of its citizens are missing and presumed captured by Hamas.

The hostage crisis has added a new dimension to the conflict, which has drawn international condemnation and calls for an immediate ceasefire. The United Nations, the European Union, Russia, China, Egypt and other countries have expressed alarm over the escalating violence and the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where more than 40,000 people have been displaced and basic services are severely disrupted. The UN has warned that Gaza is on the brink of a “full-scale war” that could have devastating consequences for civilians on both sides.

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