War between Israel and Hamas: complete blockade of Gaza, 1100 people killed, thousands injured - ForumDaily
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War between Israel and Hamas: complete blockade of Gaza, 1100 people killed, thousands injured

On October 8, the Israeli government officially declared war and gave the green light for "significant military steps" in response to the surprise attack by Hamas militants. Israel has intensified its bombing of the Gaza Strip. The death toll on both sides exceeded 1100 people, thousands of people were injured, reports AP.

Photo: IStock

More than 40 hours after Hamas (the Palestinian Islamist terrorist movement and political party that rules the Gaza Strip) launched an unprecedented incursion from the Gaza Strip on October 7, Israeli forces were still fighting militants holed up inside the country. At least 700 people were reportedly killed in Israel - a staggering toll on a scale not seen in the country for decades - and more than 400 people were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Israel said it had deployed special forces to try to wrest control of four Israeli sites from Hamas militants, including two kibbutzim the militants had infiltrated earlier in their attacks.

A declaration of war means large-scale fighting, and the main question was whether Israel would launch a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, a move that has caused heavy casualties in the past.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant объявил October 9, the beginning of a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. As Energy Minister Israel Katz clarified, supplies of electricity and fuel were interrupted on Sunday and Monday. ceases water supply.

“I gave an order - Gaza will be under complete blockade. There will be no supply of electricity, food or fuel. We are fighting barbarians and will give an appropriate response,” the minister said following the operational meeting.

The Israeli military estimates that 1000 Hamas fighters took part in Saturday's first incursion. This high figure shows the scale of planning. The militant groups that rule Gaza said they launched the attack in response to growing suffering among Palestinians under the Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza.

On the subject: Hamas attacks Israel: Netanyahu says 'this is war'

In response, Israel has so far hit more than 800 targets in the Gaza Strip. The airstrikes destroyed much of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northeastern part of the enclave.

Israeli Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that Hamas was using the city as a staging area for attacks. There was no information about casualties, and much of the community's tens of thousands of people likely fled before the attacks.

“We will continue to attack continuously, all clusters and routes” used by Hamas, Hagari said.

Mass shootings, prisoners and missing persons

Hamas and the small Islamic Jihad group said they had captured more than 130 people and taken them to Gaza. They said they would be given up in exchange for the release of thousands of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. This claim, although unconfirmed, was the first sign of the extent of the abductions.

The captives are known to include soldiers and civilians, including women, children and the elderly - mostly Israelis, but also people of other nationalities. The Israeli military said only that the number of prisoners was “significant.”

Israeli soldiers have not been captured during such attacks for 17 years. This raises many questions for the Israeli authorities and intelligence services about the level of combat readiness of the army and the quality of intelligence work.

Civilians on both sides have already paid a heavy price. The Israeli military has evacuated at least five towns near the Gaza Strip.

The militants rampaged for hours, shooting civilians and abducting people in cities, along highways and at a techno music festival attended by thousands in the desert. Zaka's rescue service said it had removed about 260 bodies from the festival, with that number expected to rise. It is unclear how many of these bodies are already included in Israel's total losses.

“They attacked dozens of Israeli communities and IDF bases, they went door to door, house to house,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Saturday night. “They killed unarmed Israelis in cold blood in their homes and then continued to smuggle Israeli hostages, both civilians and military personnel, into Gaza. I’m talking about women, children, old people, disabled people.”

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A line of people lined up outside Israel's central police station to provide DNA samples and other tools that could help identify missing family members.

Mayan Zin, a divorced mother of two, said she learned about the kidnapping of her two daughters when a relative sent her photos from a Telegram group showing them sitting on mattresses in captivity. Then she found online videos of a frightening scene at her ex-husband's home in the city of Nahal Oz: gunmen bursting in, talking to him, his leg bleeding, two frightened, crying daughters, Daphne, 15, and Ella, 8, in the living room next to him. Another video shows the father being driven across the border into the Gaza Strip.

Strikes on Gaza

The Gaza Strip, a tiny coastal enclave home to about 2,3 million Palestinians, was captured by Hamas in an armed coup in 2007. Most people in the Gaza Strip live in poverty, and unemployment is around 50%.

Following the major conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2021, indirect negotiations mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the UN helped secure thousands of permits for Gazans to work in Israel and eased other restrictions of the de facto blockade in exchange for relative peace.

Israeli strikes on the strip destroyed some residential buildings. Nasser Abu Kuta said 19 members of his family, including his wife, were killed in an airstrike on the home they shared on the ground floor in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

According to him, there were no militants in his house. “This is a house where children and women live,” Abu Kuta, 57, said by phone. Another strike in the same city early on October 9 killed 11 people, including women and children.

As of the evening of October 8, retaliatory Israeli airstrikes had destroyed 159 homes across Gaza and severely damaged another 1210, according to the UN. It said the number of displaced Gazans had risen by tens of thousands to more than 123. UN Palestine Refugee Agency said the school, home to more than 000 people, was directly hit. It is not said where the impact came from.

A number of Israeli media, citing rescue officials, reported that at least 700 people were killed in Israel, including 44 soldiers. Gaza's health ministry said 413 people were killed in the area, including 78 children and 41 women.

About 2000 people were wounded on each side. An Israeli official said security forces killed 400 militants and captured dozens more.

In northern Israel, a brief exchange of blows with the Lebanese group Hezbollah has fueled fears that the fighting could escalate into a wider regional war. On Sunday, Hezbollah fired rockets and shells at Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border, and Israel returned fire using armed drones. The Israeli military said the situation was calm after the exchange.

The Israeli security cabinet's declaration of war on Hamas was largely symbolic, said Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank, but it "demonstrates that the government believes we are entering a longer, more intense and significant period of war."

Over the past four decades, Israel has conducted major military campaigns in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

The Security Cabinet approved "significant military steps." The steps have not been defined, but the declaration appears to give the military and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a broad mandate.

In a statement, Netanyahu's office said the goal would be to destroy Hamas's "military and governance capabilities" to the point of preventing it from threatening Israelis "for years to come."

Surprise attack and intelligence failure

Israelis are still reeling from the scale, brutality and suddenness of the Hamas attack. The group's fighters broke through the Israeli security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip in the early hours of October 7. Using motorcycles and pickup trucks, even paragliders and boats on the coast, they moved to 22 nearby Israeli settlements.

During the day, more than 3000 rockets were fired at Israeli cities and towns.

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The high death toll and slow response to the attack pointed to a serious intelligence failure and undermined the long-held view that Israel has eyes and ears everywhere in the small, densely populated territory it has controlled for decades.

The presence of hostages in the Gaza Strip complicates Israel's response. Israel has a history of extremely one-sided exchanges on returning captive Israelis home. An Egyptian official said Israel had asked Cairo for help to ensure the safety of the hostages. Egypt also spoke to both sides about a potential ceasefire, but Israel was not ready for a truce “at this stage,” according to the official.

Over the past year, Israel's far-right government has accelerated settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. Israeli settler violence has displaced hundreds of Palestinians there, and tensions have flared around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem's holy site.

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