Jerusalem – Ongoing clashes have brought a somber toll to Israeli soil, as Hamas attacks claim the lives of over 710 people, while more than 400 Gaza residents lose their lives in Israeli air strikes. This marks Tel Aviv’s response to the deadliest attack on its territory in nearly five decades.
The Jewish state has escalated its bombardment of Gaza over the weekend, officially declaring war as Palestinian resistance fighters continue their battle against Israel.
Hamas militants have wrought serious damage in Israel, causing untold suffering for its citizens. The militant group, evading Israeli intelligence, has also taken several hostages, including military officials and families.
Amid warnings of a prolonged conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a stern warning of retaliation, emphasizing Tel Aviv’s readiness for a protracted and challenging war. He further urged Palestinians to leave the area immediately.
Israeli forces claim to have targeted nearly a dozen Hamas facilities in multi-story buildings in Gaza, including production sites, arms depots, intelligence headquarters, and military compounds.
Several nations, including Pakistan, have called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Turkey expressed its intention to lead peace diplomacy efforts, highlighting a two-state solution as the only viable path forward.
In response to the escalating violence, U.S. President Joe Biden called on Iran and others to refrain from exploiting the situation, stating, “This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks.” Meanwhile, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi congratulated Hamas officials on their perceived victory.
The United States has announced its support for Israel, pledging to send multiple military ships and aircraft closer to the region as a show of solidarity. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that Washington believes Hamas’ recent attack may have been motivated to disrupt potential normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Hamas fighters continued to target Israeli towns, resulting in one of the bloodiest days for Israel in decades on Saturday. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza on Sunday, with hundreds reported dead on both sides. The escalating violence threatens to spark a major new conflict in the Middle East.
Austin announced the movement of a carrier strike group closer to Israel, which includes the USS Gerald R. Ford carrier and supporting ships. He also stated that the U.S. would provide munitions to Israel, with security assistance beginning to flow immediately.
Earlier on Sunday, President Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of additional assistance for the Israeli Defense Forces, with more support to follow in the coming days.
The violence extended beyond Gaza, with Hezbollah targeting three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms, prompting Israel to fire artillery into southern Lebanon. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Hezbollah, backed by Iran, claimed responsibility for launching guided rockets and artillery into the Shebaa Farms in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL, reported rockets fired from Lebanon into Israeli-occupied territory and artillery fire from Israel into Lebanon in response. They urged restraint to prevent further escalation.
Hezbollah, effectively controlling southern Lebanon, stated it was in direct contact with leaders of Palestinian resistance groups, viewing Palestinian attacks on Israel as a decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those pursuing normalization with Israel.
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