Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip Monday and cut off the water supply as it kept bombing targets in the crowded Palestinian enclave in response to the Hamas surprise assault it has likened to the 9/11 attacks. The action prompted a remark from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying the humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before now it will only deteriorate exponentially.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would impose a “complete siege” on the long blockaded enclave and stressed what this meant for its 2.3 million people: “No electricity, no food, no water, no gas — it’s all closed.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply distressed” by Israel’s imposition of a total siege on the Gaza Strip following Hamas´ assault on the country. “The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities,” Guterres told reporters. “Now it will only deteriorate exponentially.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel against “indiscriminately” attacking civilians in its war with Hamas militants in Gaza.Reeling from the Islamist group’s unprecedented ground, air and sea attacks, Israel’s Army Radio reported at least 900 people have been killed in the Hamas attacks and launched a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza that have raised the death toll there to 687 people, including 140 children, according to a statement by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza on Monday. The number of injured has reached 3,726 taking the collective death toll to over 1500. At least 85 Israeli soldiers were killed in Hamas attacks, according to the chief spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. Israeli media report that at least 100 bodies recovered from Kibbutz Be’eri, citing rescue workersIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that “what Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible … We are going to change the Middle East. He said, “a number of Palestinian gunmen are still inside Israel”. He said that air strikes in Gaza were “just the beginning” and added that they would do “everything for Israelis held captive in Gaza”. He also called on the opposition parties to form a broad coalition government, after an attempt by the two biggest opposition party leaders failed on Saturday.The skies over Gaza were blackened by plumes of smoke from deafening explosions as Hamas kept launching rockets as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where missile defence systems fired and air raid sirens blared. Hamas claimed that Israeli air strikes had killed four of the captives. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it carried out airstrikes against 130 Hamas targets in Gaza over the last three hours, according to a statement. It said it had called up 300,000 army reservists for its “Swords of Iron” campaign, and truck convoys were moving tanks to the south, where its forces had dislodged the last holdout Hamas fighters from embattled towns. The entire length of the fence across the border with Gaza is covered with tanks and air coverage, Hagari said.A near constant sound of explosions coming from Gaza is echoing throughout Ashdod, a city some 35 kilometers (21 miles) north of the enclave.No strangers to war with Israel, many Gazans are sheltering in their homes, with the vast majority lacking access to bunkers. More than 120,000 people in Gaza have been displaced amid the carnage, said the United Nations.Most of the patients arriving at hospitals in Gaza have sustained second-and third-degree burns and amputations of both their lower and upper extremities, a spokesperson for the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza told the news outlet Shibab Agency.Several explosions were seen in the disputed border region between Israel and Lebanon amid an air raid by Israeli forces. The Israeli army said its soldiers had “killed a number of armed suspects” who had crossed the border from Lebanon and that Israeli helicopters were striking targets in the area. Three Hezbollah members were killed in Israeli strikes on Lebanon as tensions surged after Palestinian militants tried to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon. Hezbollah says shelled Israeli barracks after members´ deaths. The al-Quds Brigades of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for bombing several locations “in southern Lebanon on the border with occupied Palestine.” Seven Israeli soldiers were injured as a result of that shelling, one of whom was critically wounded, according to the al-Quds Brigades. Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said he does not wish his country to be drawn into the conflict. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah should not make the “wrong decision” of opening a second front against Israel as it battles attacks by Hamas, a senior US defense official warnedIn the occupied West Bank have rallied in support and clashed with Israeli security forces, leaving 17 Palestinians dead since Saturday. Residents say that the entrances to towns and cities have been shut off with iron gates, cement blocks and mounds of earth. Throughout the day there have been long queues at some petrol stations as supplies of fuel have run out. Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah last night. In Hebron, a man was killed apparently trying to ram Israeli forces with a bulldozer.Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have condemned the abduction of Israeli civilians by Hamas during its assault on Israel, calling for diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting. Leader of the opposition and former prime minister Yair Lapid speaks with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed, Lapid’s office states. Ben Zayed “expressed solidarity with the State of Israel” and Lapid thanked him for his support, according to a statement put out by Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.Qatar’s foreign ministry has confirmed it is attempting to mediate between Hamas and Israeli officials. Speaking to the Reuters news agency, a spokesman said the negotiations – including a possible prisoner swap – have been continuing since Saturday night and are “moving positively”. Under the potential deal, 36 Palestinian women and children would be released from Israeli prisons in exchange, sources from Hamas and Qatar said.Meanwhile, several airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel including American Airlines, Norwegian Air, Korean Air, Air India, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines and Delta Air Line.In a related development, the EU has halted development aid payments to the Palestinians and said it was placing 691 million euros of support “under review”. The Arab League said its foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip”.On late Sunday, an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting failed to unanimously take a position against Hamas, a setback to the US and Israel, as Russia and China urge the members to take a broader view of the situation to resolve the decades-long crisis.Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden planned to convene a call on Monday with leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom – the so-called “Quint” countries – to discuss the coordinated response to violence unfolding in Israel, two Western officials tell CNN. The conversation is expected to focus on how best to provide military and humanitarian assistance to Israel. 


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2023-10-10

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