JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel elevated airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and sealed it off from meals, gas, and different provides in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants, because the struggle’s dying toll rose to just about 1,600 on each side. Hamas additionally escalated on Monday, pledging to kill captured Israelis if assaults focused civilians with out warnings.
Within the struggle’s third day, Israel was nonetheless discovering our bodies from Hamas’ beautiful weekend assault into southern Israeli cities. Rescue staff discovered 100 our bodies within the tiny farming neighborhood of Beeri — round 10% of its inhabitants — after a protracted hostage standoff with gunmen. In Gaza, tens of hundreds fled their properties as relentless airstrikes leveled buildings.
The Israeli army mentioned it had largely gained management in its southern cities after the assault caught its vaunted army and intelligence equipment fully off guard and led to fierce battles in its streets for the primary time in many years. However Hamas and different militants in Gaza say they’re holding greater than 130 troopers and civilians snatched from inside Israel.
Israeli tanks and drones have been deployed to protect breaches within the Gaza border fence to forestall new incursions. 1000’s of Israelis have been evacuated from greater than a dozen cities close to Gaza, and the army summoned 300,000 reservists — a large mobilization in a short while.
The strikes, together with Israel’s formal declaration of struggle on Sunday, pointed to Israel more and more shifting to the offensive towards Hamas, threatening better destruction within the densely populated, impoverished Gaza Strip.
“We have now solely began placing Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned in a nationally televised deal with. “What we are going to do to our enemies within the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”
Round 900 folks, together with 73 troopers, have been killed in Israel, in response to media. In Gaza, greater than 680 folks have been killed, in response to authorities there. 1000’s have been wounded on each side.
In response to Israel’s aerial assaults, the spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing, Abu Obeida, mentioned Monday night time that the group will kill one Israeli civilian captive any time Israel targets civilians of their properties in Gaza “with out prior warning.”
Israeli International Minister Eli Cohen warned Hamas towards harming any of the hostages, saying, “This struggle crime is not going to be forgiven.” Netanyahu appointed a former army commander to handle the hostage and lacking individuals disaster.
A serious query stays whether or not Israel will launch a floor assault into the tiny Mediterranean coastal territory. The final floor assault was in 2014.
Israel and Hamas have had repeated conflicts in previous years, usually sparked by tensions round a Jerusalem holy website. This time, the context has develop into probably extra explosive, and each side discuss of shattering with violence a years-long Israeli-Palestinian impasse left by the moribund peace course of.
The shock weekend assault by Hamas left a dying toll unseen for the reason that 1973 struggle with Egypt and Syria. That’s fomenting calls to crush Hamas irrespective of the associated fee, slightly than persevering with to attempt to bottle it up in Gaza. Israel is run by its most hard-right authorities ever, dominated by ministers who adamantly reject any Palestinians statehood.
Hamas, in flip, says it’s prepared for a protracted battle to finish an Israeli occupation it says is now not tolerable. Desperation has grown amongst Palestinians, a lot of whom see nothing to lose below endless Israeli management and growing settler depredations within the West Financial institution, the blockade in Gaza and what they see because the world’s apathy.
Within the early night, the sound of explosions echoed over Jerusalem when a volley of rockets fired from Gaza hit two neighborhoods – an indication of Hamas’s attain. Israeli media mentioned seven have been wounded.
Additionally Monday night, Israeli warplanes carried out an intense bombardment of Rimal, a residential and business district of central Gaza Metropolis, after issuing warnings for residents to evacuate. Amid steady explosions, the constructing housing the headquarters of the Palestinian Telecommunications Firm was destroyed.
Israeli Protection Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “full siege” on Gaza, saying authorities would minimize electrical energy and block the entry of meals and gas.
Jan Egeland, secretary basic of the Norwegian Refugee Council support group, warned that Israel’s siege would spell “utter catastrophe” for Gazans.
“There isn’t a doubt that collective punishment is in violation of worldwide regulation,” he informed The Related Press. “If and when it could result in wounded youngsters dying in hospitals as a result of lack of vitality, electrical energy, and provides, it may quantity to struggle crimes.”
The Israeli seal will depart Gaza virtually totally depending on its crossing into neighboring Egypt at Rafah, the place cargo capacities are decrease than different crossings into Israel.
An Egyptian army official, talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to speak to the press, mentioned greater than 2 tons of medical provides from the Egyptian Crimson Crescent have been despatched to Gaza and efforts have been underway to prepare meals, and different deliveries.
Within the southern Gaza metropolis of Rafah, an Israeli airstrike early Monday killed 19 folks, together with ladies and youngsters, mentioned Talat Barhoum, a health care provider on the native Al-Najjar Hospital.
The U.N. mentioned greater than 123,000 folks have fled their properties in Gaza – many after Israeli warnings of imminent bombardment. The U.N. company for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, mentioned a faculty sheltering greater than 225 folks took a direct hit. It didn’t say the place the hearth got here from.
A whole lot of Hamas militants have been buried below rubble of buildings destroyed by Israel previously 48 hours, Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari informed reporters. His claims of the numbers – and his characterization of the lifeless as Hamas – couldn’t be confirmed.
New exchanges on Israel’s northern border Monday raised worries that the struggle may unfold to a brand new entrance. Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad group slipped from Lebanon into Israel, sparking Israeli shelling into southern Lebanon. Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group mentioned 5 of its members have been killed, and it retaliated with a volley of rockets and mortars at two Israeli military bases throughout the border.
After breaking by way of Israeli obstacles with explosives at dawn Saturday, an estimated 1,000 Hamas gunmen rampaged for hours, gunning down civilians and snatching folks in cities, alongside highways and at a techno music competition attended by hundreds within the desert. Palestinian militants have additionally launched round 4,400 rockets at Israel, in response to the army.
Whereas the Israeli army mentioned it had management of its border communities in southern Israel about 48 hours after the incursion, Hamas spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua informed the AP that the group’s fighters continued to battle exterior Gaza and had captured extra Israelis as just lately as Monday morning.
He mentioned the group goals to free all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, which previously has agreed to lopsided alternate offers during which it launched massive numbers of prisoners for particular person captives and even the stays of troopers.
Among the many captives are troopers and civilians, together with ladies, youngsters and older adults, principally Israelis but in addition some folks of different nationalities. The armed wing of Hamas claimed on its Telegram channel that 4 of them have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. That might not be independently confirmed.
Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper mentioned Monday that Egyptian officers try to mediate a launch of Palestinian ladies in Israel’s prisons in alternate for Israeli ladies captured by militants.
Hamas has dominated Gaza since driving out forces loyal to the internationally acknowledged Palestinian Authority in 2007 and its rule has gone unchallenged by way of the blockade and 4 earlier wars with Israel.
On Sunday, the U.S. dispatched an plane service strike group to the Jap Mediterranean to be prepared to help Israel, and mentioned it could ship further army support.
Adwan reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip. AP writers Isabel DeBre and Julia Frankel in Jerusalem; Wafaa Shurafa in Gaza Metropolis; Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv, Israel; Bassem Mroue and Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut; Samy Magdy in Cairo; and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.