Israel is in a state of war following an unexpected and significant attack by Palestinian militants from the blockaded Gaza Strip. The attack targeted both civilian and military sites in Israel, resulting in a tragic loss of life on both sides as well as the abduction of several Israelis.
As a new day dawns in Gaza and Israel, it unfortunately brings the prospect of more violence. Despite calls from various countries, including the United States and Israel’s neighboring Arab nations, urging restraint and de-escalation, it’s clear that both sides consider themselves in a state of war, and this conflict is expected to persist.
In the initial day of hostilities, the toll has been devastating, with over 250 Israelis losing their lives and more than 1,000 sustaining injuries.
Similarly, in Gaza, the situation is dire, with over 230 Palestinians killed and nearly 2,000 wounded, as reported by Gaza’s health authorities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a strong declaration during a late-night TV address, stating that Israel is determined to target and destroy every place where Hamas is concealed.
The Israeli military is taking action by mobilizing reservist soldiers, reinforcing its positions, and launching airstrikes on Gaza targets.
Hamas, an Islamist militant group, assumed control of Gaza back in 2007.
Netanyahu has advised people residing in areas where Hamas operates within the Gaza Strip to evacuate immediately, emphasizing that Israel will hold accountable anyone who poses a threat.
However, for the roughly 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza, leaving areas linked to Hamas is not straightforward.
The Gaza Strip has been under a blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt for over 16 years, severely restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of the region.
On Saturday night, Israeli airstrikes struck central Gaza City, demolishing a 14-story building that housed Hamas offices as well as apartments, according to reports from The Associated Press.
Israel reportedly issued a warning before the airstrike, and fortunately, no casualties were reported.
“We find ourselves in a state of war,” declared Netanyahu early on Saturday in a video statement delivered from Israel’s military headquarters. He expressed a firm commitment to make the enemy pay a substantial price for their actions.
Netanyahu’s office confirmed that his security cabinet had convened and made some critical decisions, including cutting off the supply of electricity and gas from Israel to Gaza and blocking the import and export of goods through Israel’s border crossing.
In Gaza City, morgues and hospitals were overwhelmed with families anxiously seeking information about their loved ones. The streets were cloaked in darkness on Saturday night.
They expressed deep concern, stating, “We are currently unprepared and uncertain about how to proceed with our humanitarian efforts in the coming days, with the need for a new contingency plan looming large.
” The sound of bombardments served as a chilling backdrop to his conversation.
In several southern Israeli communities near Gaza, including Sderot, Nahal Oz, Beeri, Magen, and Kfar Aza, as well as two Israeli military camps in the vicinity, Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen were engaged in prolonged clashes that spanned several hours, according to Hecht.