In response to recent clashes between Hamas and Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has issued a directive for a comprehensive blockade on Gaza. It is involving measures such as cutting off electricity and restricting the entry of food and fuel.
Israeli Defense Minister Orders Tightened Restrictions on Gaza :
This decision comes two days after a series of rocket attacks by Hamas fighters and their infiltration into southern Israeli towns. It is marking an unprecedented escalation in the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory.
Simultaneously, Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz has taken action by ordering an immediate halt to Israel’s water supplies to Gaza, emphasizing a significant shift in policy regarding the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli military forces reported progress on Monday in pushing back Hamas fighters from the communities that had been overrun. They also launched aerial assaults on the Gaza Strip in preparation for a campaign aimed at dismantling what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as “the military and governing capabilities” of the militant group.
The toll on civilians on both sides of the conflict has been devastating. According to reports, at least 700 people have lost their lives in Israel, while more than 400 have been killed in Gaza. This marks the deadliest incursion into Israeli territory since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago. Thousands of individuals on both sides have been wounded in the conflict.
Palestinian militant groups
In a distressing development, Palestinian militant groups have claimed to be holding more than 130 captives from the Israeli side. They have indicated that these captives could be used as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinians currently imprisoned by Israel. Among the captives are soldiers and civilians, including women, children, and elderly individuals. While the majority are Israelis, some are individuals of other nationalities.
The heart-wrenching stories of those affected by this crisis continue to emerge. Mayyan Zin, a mother of two, learned of her daughters’ abduction through photos sent by a relative showing them in captivity. She later discovered online videos depicting a chilling scene in her ex-husband’s home, with gunmen present, and her terrified daughters, Dafna, 15, and Ella, 8. Another video showed their father being taken into Gaza. Zin’s plea is for the safe return of her daughters and all those affected.
While the Israeli military has reported a reduction in fighting in border towns for the time being, clashes with Hamas persist in several locations in southern Israel. Additionally, Israel has confirmed that it has struck over 1,000 targets in Gaza, including airstrikes that have significantly damaged the town of Beit Hanoun in the enclave’s northeast corner. Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has asserted that Hamas was using Beit Hanoun as a staging ground for attacks.
As the situation unfolds, the international community watches with deep concern, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that has taken a heavy toll on both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.