World

Israel imposes total siege on Gaza, cuts off water supply

  • Bombs targets in crowded Palestinian enclave in response to Hamas surprise assault
Published October 9, 2023

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: 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.

Reeling from the Hamas unprecedented ground, air and sea attacks, Israel has counted over 700 dead and launched a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza that have killed 560 people there.

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.

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Hamas – whose group surged into Israeli towns on Saturday, spraying gunfire at civilians and dragging off about 100 hostages – claimed on Monday that Israeli air strikes had killed four of the captives.

Israel 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.

“We are in control of the communities,” said military spokesman Daniel Hagari, cautioning that some may remain after about 1,000 Hamas had swarmed into the region on the Jewish Sabbath.

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.”

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Palestinians in the impoverished coastal territory braced for what many feared will be a massive Israeli ground attack aiming to defeat Hamas and liberate the hostages.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Gaza civilians to get away from all Hamas sites, which he has vowed to turn “to rubble”.

Lebanon border clash

Middle East tensions have spiked as Israel’s arch enemy Iran and their Lebanese ally Hezbollah have praised the Hamas attack, although Tehran rejected any role in the military operation.

Hamas has called on “resistance fighters” in the occupied West Bank and in Arab and Islamic nations to join its “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, launched half a century after the 1973 Arab-Israel war.

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“The military operation is still continuing,” Hossam Badran, a Hamas official, told AFP from Doha, adding that “there is currently no chance for negotiation on the issue of prisoners or anything else”.

The United States has pledged “rock solid” support for Israel and said it would send munitions and military hardware to its key ally and divert an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean.

Israel, which has long prided itself on a high-tech military and intelligence edge in its many conflicts, has been shaken to the core by Hamas’s unprecedented attack.

It now faces the threat of a multi-front war after Hezbollah launched guided missiles and artillery shells from the north on Sunday “in solidarity” with Hamas, in what some observers considered a warning shot.

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On Monday, 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.

A local Lebanese official told AFP Israel was shelling the southern border area while Hezbollah denied involvement in clashes or “any infiltration attempt” into Israel.

‘They butchered people’

Israel has expressed alarm and revulsion at the Hamas attack across the Gaza border fence – long deemed impregnable and guarded by surveillance cameras, drones, patrols and watchtowers – and the bloody violence they unleashed.

Among the hostages they took back into Gaza were children and a Holocaust survivor in a wheelchair, Israeli officials have said.

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Up to 250 bodies were strewn across the site of a music festival in a Negev desert kibbutz, mostly young people, and charred car wrecks were piled up in a sign of the panicked rush to escape, while other revellers were feared to be among the hostages.

“They butchered people in cold blood in an inconceivable way,” said Moti Bukjin of the Zaka religious volunteer group which helped collect the human remains.

Israelis have voiced anger at the intelligence failure that blindsided the nation on a Jewish holiday.

But for now its people appeared to have put aside deep political divisions that have long roiled the country and braced for what the right-wing veteran premier Netanyahu has warned will be a “long and difficult war”.

‘In constant fear’

“Never before have so many Israelis been killed by one single thing, let alone enemy activity in one day,” said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus.

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The multi-pronged attack had brought “by far the worst day in Israeli history”, he said, likening it to a combination of the “9/11 and Pearl Harbour” attacks.

The situation was also dire inside Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel since Hamas assumed control there 15 years ago, a period that has seen multiple wars with Israel.

Air strikes have levelled residential tower blocks, mosques and the central bank. More than 120,000 people in Gaza have been displaced, said the United Nations.

“The situation is unbearable,” said Amal al-Sarsawi, 37, as she took shelter in a school classroom with her terrified children.

The sense of safety of children in the war zone has been “ripped away” said Jason Lee of charity group Save the Children.

“Our teams and their families are terrified, they feel like sitting targets. Children across the region are in constant fear.”

Global shock waves

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have rallied in support and clashed with Israeli security forces, leaving 15 Palestinians dead since Saturday.

Anti-Israel activists have demonstrated in Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere while security was stepped up around Jewish temples and school worldwide.

The spiralling conflict has sent shock waves around the world amid fears of a wider escalation, sparking a surge in oil prices on fears of tightening supplies.

Western capitals have condemned the attack by Hamas, which the United States and European Union consider a terrorist group.

The EU has halted development aid payments to the Palestinians and said it was placing 691 million euros ($728 million) of support “under review”.

Foreign or dual nationals have been reported killed, abducted or missing by countries including Brazil, Britain, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Thailand, Ukraine and the United States.

In the Egyptian city of Alexandria a police officer opened fire “at random” on Israeli tourists Sunday, killing two of them and their Egyptian guide before he was arrested.

Israel, which has struck US-brokered normalisation deals with several Arab nations in recent years, has issued a travel warning for its citizens, especially in the Middle East.

The Arab League said its foreign ministers will hold an “extraordinary meeting” on Wednesday to discuss “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip”.

Comments

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Jk Oct 09, 2023 08:18pm
Barbarism at its Zenith! Champions of the human rights no where to be found?
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SAMIR SARDANA Oct 09, 2023 08:31pm
GENESIS Y ? ISRAEL ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE ARE FULFILING A PROPHECY ! ISRAEL HAD HIRED 800 RABBIS TO CHANT INCANTATIONS IN AL AQSA FOR ITS DESTRUCTION - A FEW MONTHS AGO ! THAT WAS THE PRETEXT FOR HAMAS - AND WILL BE FOR HEZB AND ALL ARABS ! SO IT WAS PLANNED BY MOSSAD THAT WAY ! MOSSAD KNEW IT ALL ALONG ! IT IS NOT AN INT FAILURE! THE PROVOCATION WAS DELIBERATE AS BENJAMIN IS A PART OF RIGHT WING COALITION ! THE RABBIS ARM TWISTED HIM ! THE RIGHT WING COALITION IS ULTRA ORTHODOX AND BELIEVE THAT STARTING AN APOCALYPTIC WAR - WILL LEAD TO SALVATION !
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Az_Iz Oct 09, 2023 08:33pm
The Jewish people only want to live in peace. They have only killed and ethnically cleansed the Palestinians to create Israel, rendering the Palestinians stateless in their own lands. They only keep on stealing more and more Palestinian lands and build settlements. The Jewish settlers only kill a few Palestinians every now and then. The Israeli military only keeps them on their knees so Israel can keep on carrying out it’s agenda. Why can’t the Palestinians just move on. Why do they react?
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Az_Iz Oct 09, 2023 08:41pm
When so many innocent Palestinians get killed as is happening now, the world reacts with hesitation, and categorizes it as self defense. Israel intentionally bombs and kills innocent civilians, all the while claiming that it does not.
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Abhishek Srivastava Oct 09, 2023 09:00pm
Only online current medicine stores.
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SAMIR SARDANA Oct 09, 2023 09:30pm
@Az_Iz, WHO PROPPED HAMAS ? HAMAS WAS PROPPED BY MOSSAD TO WIPE OUT PLO AND SPLINTER THE PALESTINIANS ! MOSSAD THOUGHT THAT HAMAS WILL BE BOGGED DOWN IN RUNNING A NATION AND PEOPLE EXPECTATIONS ! INSTEAD HAMAS USED THE STATE AND ITS PEOPLE TO FINANCE THE REVOLUTION VIA EXIM, LOGISTICS AND AID MONEY FROM UN,US,EU AND GCC ! HAMAS HAS OUTFOXED MOSSAD ! SAMIR SARDANA
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Az_Iz Oct 09, 2023 09:33pm
Bombing and bringing down big buildings and people living in them, in self defense? That is typical Zionist. They do it all the time. But why is everyone else staying silent , backing and defending this. Pretending that civilians are not being targeted.
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TidBit Oct 09, 2023 09:49pm
@Jk, The champions of Human rights were speaking until Hamas opened fire on a Israel music festival and slaughter 300 women and children. What isreal is doing is wrong in occupying land, but the barbarism of slaughtering party goers was done by Hamas. They started this. Not everything is collateral damage.
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Az_Iz Oct 10, 2023 03:51am
@TidBit, the Jews were expelled by the Romans from historic Palestine 2000 years ago. Then from Spain 500 years ago. Holocaust happened in Germany. Whereas they lived in peace and security under the Muslims for the most part. Even in Spain, they lived under the Muslims during 800 years of Muslim rule. Only when they went against the Muslims, they were confronted and quelled. They lived in Palestine also under the Muslims. As soon as they got the upper hand, they killed and ethnically cleansed the Palestinians to create a Jewish majority Israel. They continue to occupy the Palestinian lands rendering the Palestinians stateless. The Jews continue to steal more and more land and build settlements. The settlers and the Israeli military routinely kill them. And you are saying, they started this.
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Az_Iz Oct 10, 2023 04:03am
@TidBit, just a day ago you were ready to go and defend the Palestinians, asking others to join you. Today you are singing a different tune. Pretending to be someone else is difficult.
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