Israel retakes Gaza border areas from Hamas, death count surpasses 3,000text_fields
In the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, Israel announced that it had recaptured Gaza border regions from Hamas militants as the death toll surpassed 3,000.
This marked the fourth day of intense fighting that began with a surprise attack by Hamas.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel's military campaign, initiated in response to the weekend's Hamas attack, was just the beginning of a sustained effort to dismantle Hamas and bring about changes in the Middle East.
Concerns have grown about the possibility of a regional conflict, particularly with expectations of an Israeli ground invasion into Gaza, where Hamas initiated its multi-pronged attack by land, air, and sea on the Jewish Sabbath.
The death toll in Israel exceeded 900, making it the worst attack in the country's 75-year history. Gaza authorities reported 765 fatalities, according to AFP.
Hamas militants were responsible for more than 100 deaths in the Beeri kibbutz alone, as per Moti Bukjin, a volunteer with Zaka, a charity that handles body recovery in accordance with Jewish law. He described how they brutally killed children, babies, and the elderly, among others.
Prime Minister Netanyahu likened the large-scale targeting of Israeli civilians to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group (ISIS) during its control of large areas in Syria and Iraq, referring to Hamas as "savages" and stating, "Hamas is ISIS."
Netanyahu also called for an "emergency government of national unity" amid the ongoing political crisis and societal divisions in Israel.
Israel's "Swords of Iron" campaign has mobilised 300,000 reservists, and heavy armor, including tanks, has been amassed near Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon.
The Israeli military reported that its forces had largely regained control of the embattled southern region and the border surrounding Gaza, displacing Hamas fighters from over a dozen towns and kibbutzim.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy expressed their full support for Israel, emphasising the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people while condemning Hamas's actions.
The conflict has also affected citizens of several nations, with reports of their deaths, abductions, or disappearances. Countries impacted include Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Ukraine.
Hamas has taken approximately 150 hostages, including children, the elderly, and young people, captured during a music festival where around 270 people died. Hamas warned that it would start killing hostages in response to Israeli strikes on civilian targets in Gaza without warning.
Fear and chaos prevail among the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, which has been heavily bombarded by Israeli airstrikes.
Israel imposed a total siege on Gaza, cutting off essential supplies such as water, food, and electricity. UN chief Antonio Guterres expressed deep distress over the siege, warning that Gaza's humanitarian situation would deteriorate exponentially.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk emphasised that imposing sieges endangering civilians by depriving them of essential goods is prohibited under international humanitarian law.
The UN reported that over 187,500 people have been displaced within Gaza, with many seeking refuge in UN schools.
Israel, known for its high-tech military and intelligence capabilities, was taken aback by the massive attack by Hamas, leading to concerns of a multi-front war.
The United States pledged to provide munitions and military equipment to support Israel and deployed an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean.
The White House stated that there were no plans to put US troops on the ground while condemning Hamas's actions as "ISIS-level savagery."
Amidst the conflict, clashes occurred on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, raising the possibility of a broader conflict.
Unrest has escalated in the occupied West Bank, resulting in the deaths of 15 Palestinians since the conflict began.
While Iran praised Hamas's attack, it repeatedly denied any involvement in it. Global powers and regional governments, including Egypt, Turkey, and Gulf states, engaged in diplomacy to prevent further escalation.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reassured Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas that the kingdom was working to prevent the conflict from spreading across the region.