In the Gaza Strip there is fear and desperation among the Palestinian population in the face of an impending Israeli ground offensive against the Islamist Hamas.
After a deadline set by the Israeli military for the mass evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip has expired, the United Nations fears a "catastrophic situation" should the army invade the densely populated coastal area. Eyewitnesses reported panic among the population. The UN called on Israel to revoke the order to evacuate around 1.1 million people. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for immediate access to the Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid. "Wars also have rules," he emphasized yesterday in New York.
People on the run
People in cars headed south on trucks, donkey carts and on foot along the area's only main road. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, tried to stop fleeing civilians from answering Israel's call to evacuate the north. They said they shouldn't fall for the "propaganda news."
According to Hamas, Israeli airstrikes killed 70 people fleeing to the south of the Gaza Strip and injured 200 others. Most of the victims were children and women, a spokesman for the Islamist organization said yesterday. Three convoys were hit in the “massacre”. The information could not initially be independently verified. There was no confirmation from the Israeli military. The reports were being examined, it said.
Israel kills those responsible for the Hamas massacre
The Israeli military says it has killed one of those suspected of being responsible for the massacre of Israeli civilians during bomb attacks on Hamas operations centers. Merad Abu Merad, head of the Hamas air surveillance system in Gaza City, was largely responsible for directing the terrorists during the massacre, the Israeli military said early this morning. Exactly a week ago, terrorists on behalf of Hamas carried out a massacre of Israeli civilians in border towns and at a music festival - the worst since the founding of Israel. More than 1,300 people died.
Israel's military kills terrorists infiltrating from Lebanon
The Israeli military says it has killed suspected terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon. The Israeli military announced this morning that soldiers had identified a "terrorist cell" that was trying to infiltrate Israeli territory from Lebanon. A military drone killed “some of the terrorists,” it said.
Israeli hostages found dead
Meanwhile, Israel's military carried out further bombing raids on Hamas targets and also made its first limited forays into the Gaza Strip. The soldiers discovered the bodies of missing compatriots yesterday evening, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported early in the morning. There was initially no information on the number of deaths. According to an Israeli army spokesman, the aim of these operations is to "clear the area of terrorists and weapons." Attempts were also made to find missing people. Ground and tank troops searched for clues and “took out terrorist cells.”
According to Hamas' military wing, 13 of the approximately 150 hostages abducted from Israel were killed in Israeli air strikes on the coastal area. The al-Qassam Brigades claimed that these included foreign nationals. This too could not be independently verified. Israel's army said it wanted to investigate the report.
Netanyahu: just the beginning of the offensive against Hamas
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the current counterattacks in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas terror that left hundreds of Israelis dead as just the "beginning" of the offensive against the militant Islamists. "We will destroy Hamas and win, but it will take time," he said in an address to the nation last night. "Our enemies have only just begun to pay the price. I won't elaborate on our plans, but I'll tell you, this is just the beginning." The Jewish people have not experienced such horrors in decades, said Netanyahu.
Terrorists on behalf of Hamas carried out a massacre of Israeli civilians in border towns and at a music festival on Saturday last week - the worst since the founding of Israel. More than 1,300 people died. The Ministry of Health there said the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli counterattacks in the Gaza Strip last night was at least 1,900. These include 614 children and young people. At least 7,696 people were injured.
Criticism of Israel's evacuation call
Saudi Arabia and Egypt criticized the Israeli military's call for a mass evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia rejects “forced relocation,” the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. All forms of military escalation directed against civilians must be stopped. Egypt's Foreign Ministry condemned the order to evacuate Gazans as a "serious violation of the rules of international humanitarian law."
Biden is concerned about the humanitarian situation
US President Joe Biden once again assured Israel of the solidarity of the United States, but also expressed concern about the situation in the Gaza Strip. "We must not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians have nothing to do with Hamas or Hamas's disgusting attacks, and that they are suffering as a result," Biden said yesterday.
Baerbock for talks in Egypt
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is in Egypt to continue her crisis talks in the Middle East. According to information from the Foreign Office, the Green politician wanted to meet with Foreign Minister Samih Schukri in the capital Cairo this afternoon. Delegation circles said that in addition to the regional situation after the Hamas attacks on Israel, the talks in Egypt would also focus on efforts to release the hostages kidnapped to Gaza by the Islamists.