While hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip seek protection from the expected Israeli ground offensive, Israel's air force says it is continuing to bomb Hamas targets. The Israeli military announced early this morning that attacks in the Gaza Strip had continued over the past 24 hours.
As the Ynet news site reported, citing Palestinians, these were the worst attacks to date. Israel's air force has been flying counterattacks in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas terrorist attacks ten days ago, which left more than 1,400 dead.
The bombardment caused severe devastation in the narrow coastal strip. The number of deaths has now risen to 2,670. The Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is also under Hamas, announced this on Sunday evening. Around 9,600 other people were injured. Meanwhile, the Israeli military is preparing a possible ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands of reservists are mobilized on the border with Gaza.
Water supply should be resumed
After several calls for the civilian population to evacuate, more than 600,000 people have now moved to the south of the Gaza Strip, Israel's army spokesman Daniel Hagari had previously announced. However, supplying the densely packed masses of people is dramatic. At least they should get water again. Israel's Energy Minister Israel Katz announced this on the X platform (formerly Twitter).
This will help the civilian population - as desired by Israel's army - clear the north of the narrow coastal enclave and move to the south, said Katz. This would allow Israel's military to intensify the destruction of Hamas' infrastructure in the north. Observers assume that the Israeli military has asked the more than one million Palestinians in the north of the coastal strip to evacuate to the south because a ground offensive is imminent.
Army: Six senior Hamas members killed
Israel's army says it has already killed six high-ranking Hamas members in attacks in the Gaza Strip. An army spokesman said they included members of both the military and political wings.
The statement named two commanders of terrorist units who were involved in the massacre in Israel. In addition, a commander who was responsible for security in the south of the Gaza Strip was killed. Also named were Hamas Economy Minister Jaad Abu Schmala and Sakaria Abu Maamar, who is responsible for international relations in the Hamas Politburo. In addition, the head of air surveillance in the city of Gaza was killed.
However, an important part of the Hamas leadership is not in the Gaza Strip, but abroad. The head of foreign affairs, Ismail Hanija, is in Qatar. Another senior Hamas leader, Saleh al-Aruri, lives in Beirut.
Israel's army has now confirmed the kidnapping of 155 people from Israel to the Gaza Strip. Their relatives have been informed. The army will do everything possible to bring them home.
There are also Germans among those kidnapped. According to information from the German Press Agency, the kidnapping cases mentioned by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock involve eight separate individual complexes, some of which involve more than one person. The Foreign Office still does not provide an exact number of German abductees. In the past few days there has been talk of a number in the single digits. According to Baerbock, the federal government still has “no direct contact” with the German hostages.
Abbas: Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people
According to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' actions and policies do not represent the Palestinian people. He rejects the killing of civilians on both sides, emphasized Abbas, who heads the autonomous authority in the West Bank, in a telephone conversation with Venezuelan head of state Nicolás Maduro, as the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Abbas called on everyone involved to release prisoners.
Media: Biden considers visit to Israel
According to US media, US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel in the coming days. This was reported by US media such as the Axios portal, citing sources in the Israeli and US governments. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Biden to Israel during a phone call on Saturday. The final decision about a trip has not yet been made, it said.
UN chief Guterres: Middle East “on the edge of the abyss”
In view of a Middle East "on the edge of the abyss", UN Secretary-General António Guterres also urgently called for the immediate release of the hostages and rapid humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip. “Each of these two goals is legitimate,” Guterres said in New York on Sunday, according to a statement. Meanwhile, the only border crossing from the Gaza Strip to neighboring Egypt will be opened for the departure of foreign nationals on Monday, according to an Egyptian security source.
According to the information, preparations are underway. The import of humanitarian aid supplies should also be made possible via the Rafah border crossing. Due to Israeli air strikes, the border crossing is currently out of service. There is no way for the people of Gaza to leave the area.
Concern about expanding the conflict
French President Emmanuel Macron warned Iran against escalation and expansion of the conflict, especially in Lebanon. Given Iran's close ties to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the leadership in Tehran bears responsibility, Macron said in a phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi. He called on him to do everything possible to prevent a regional conflagration. Hezbollah, which is financed by Iran, is considered to be much more powerful than Hamas.
Evacuations on the border with Lebanon
After repeated attacks on Israel by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia from southern Lebanon, places up to two kilometers away from the border area are to be evacuated. The office of Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant said this affected 28 towns on Israel's northern border. The residents were to be brought to safety at state expense and accommodated in guest houses.
On Sunday, the army declared a four-kilometer-wide strip of the border area a restricted zone.
Since the terrorist attacks by the Islamist Hamas on Israel and the counterattacks by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip, there have been increasingly violent incidents on the border between Israel and Lebanon in recent days. These are fueling concerns about further escalation. There have already been several deaths.
Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr took German nationals out of Israel with another plane late on Sunday evening. The A400M military transporter landed in Wunstorf at around 2:45 a.m., the operations command announced on X.
This will be important today
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants to travel to Israel again this Monday after visiting various countries in the Middle East. It was initially not known which dates were planned in Israel. The only border crossing from the Gaza Strip to neighboring Egypt is to be opened for foreign nationals to leave. The water supply for Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip is also to be restored.