Israeli Military Recaptures All Communities Around Gaza, As Conflict With Hamas Enters Third Day

On Saturday, October 7, 2023, Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, firing over 5,000 rockets and infiltrating into several communities in southern Israel. The attack, which Hamas called “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, was the largest and most coordinated assault by the Palestinian group in years. The attack caught Israel off guard and triggered a state of war in the country.

The Israeli military said it had intercepted most of the rockets, but some hit residential areas, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 500. Among the dead were a child and a soldier. The military also said it had engaged in fierce ground battles with the Hamas fighters, who used tunnels, drones and anti-tank missiles to penetrate into Israel. The military said it had killed dozens of militants and captured more than 100 hostages.


Israel strikes back with air and ground forces

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel launched a massive counter-offensive, striking hundreds of targets in Gaza with air and ground forces. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a video address to the nation that Israel was “at war” and vowed to “win it”. He said Israel would not stop until it had restored security and deterrence against Hamas.

The Israeli military said it had targeted Hamas’ rocket launchers, tunnels, command centers, weapons depots and other infrastructure. It also said it had destroyed several high-rise buildings that housed Hamas offices and media outlets. The military said it had inflicted “heavy damage” on Hamas’ capabilities and “turned their hideouts into rubble”.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said at least four people were killed and dozens wounded in the Israeli strikes. It also said many buildings were damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless. The ministry accused Israel of violating international humanitarian law and targeting civilians.

International community calls for de-escalation and ceasefire

The international community expressed alarm and concern over the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, and urged both sides to de-escalate and cease fire. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the situation, but failed to issue a joint statement due to disagreements among its members.

The United States, Israel’s main ally, condemned the Hamas attack and reaffirmed its “unwavering support” for Israel’s right to defend itself. The US also called for an end to the violence and the protection of civilians on both sides. The US President, Joe Biden, spoke with Netanyahu and offered his assistance in restoring calm.

The European Union, which has been critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, also denounced the Hamas attack and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The EU said it was ready to support diplomatic efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the region. The EU also expressed its solidarity with Israel and its condolences to the victims.

Other countries, such as Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Iran, which have ties or influence with Hamas, also called for an end to the fighting and urged restraint from both sides. Some of these countries also offered to mediate between Israel and Hamas to reach a ceasefire agreement.

Conflict enters third day with no sign of abating

As the conflict entered its third day on Monday, October 9, 2023, there was no sign of abating or easing. Both Israel and Hamas continued to exchange fire and threats, while the humanitarian situation in Gaza worsened. The Israeli military said it had evacuated all residents living near Gaza within 24 hours, as it prepared for more operations against Hamas. The military also said it was still working to rescue the hostages held by the militants in Israel.

Hamas, meanwhile, said it was not afraid of Israel’s attacks and vowed to continue its resistance until its demands were met. Hamas said it wanted Israel to end its blockade of Gaza, lift its restrictions on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, release Palestinian prisoners and stop its settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is the worst since 2014, when they fought a 50-day war that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 70 Israelis. The current round of violence erupted after weeks of tensions over Jerusalem, where Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at the holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews.

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