Sunday June 23, 2024

Israel drops 6,000 bombs on Gaza City in six days, turning most hospitals into morgues

At least 1,417 Palestinians have lost their lives during Israel-Hamas war in Gaza

By Web Desk
October 12, 2023
Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023, as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day. — AFP
Smoke plumes billow during Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023, as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day. — AFP

Israel claims to have dropped 6,000 bombs and 4,000 tonnes of explosives over the course of six days of attack in the occupied Gaza Strip, killing more than 150 Palestinians on Thursday, since it started attacking Hamas positions on Saturday.

Officials in Gaza say the collapse of the health system has “truly begun” amid Israel’s heavy bombardment and “complete blockade”.

A day after they announced the establishment of an emergency unity government, Israeli senior officials are meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Israel.

As of right now, 1,417 people have lost their lives in Gaza, while 1,300 people have been killed in Israel.

Near the Gaza border towns of Netivot and Sderot, which were taken over by Hamas during their weekend offensive, troops have stationed 150 mm artillery cannons in fields a few metres apart.

Israel has "no desire" for US military intervention

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, has quashed speculation that the US may send troops to Israel soon.

“There is no intention or plan to put American troops on the ground in Israel,” he told reporters. “There’s no desire by the Israelis for that outcome.”

Kirby noted that Washington hasn't ruled out any possibilities for getting Hamas hostages released.

27 US citizens, according to the statement, were slain in Israel. The number of persons taken hostage has not yet been disclosed by the government.

Red Cross says Gaza hospitals at risk of becoming morgues

Without electricity, hospitals in Gaza run the risk of becoming morgues, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The single power plant in Gaza ran out of fuel on Wednesday, and backup generators may soon stop operating, according to the report.

Following Israel's "complete siege" of Gaza and bombardment of the region with air and artillery strikes, medical facilities have become overburdened.

Iran calls on Islamic and Arab countries to confront Israel

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has called on Islamic and Arab countries to cooperate in confronting Israel as it wages a deadly war triggered by a surprise attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Hamas´s weekend onslaught saw hundreds of fighters cross into the Israeli border in vehicles, by air and by sea, killing 1,200 people and seizing 150 hostages under the cover of a deluge of rockets.

About another 1,200 people have been killed in thousands of Israeli strikes on Gaza, while a "complete seige" has been imposed on the impoverished Palestinian enclave of over 2.4 million people.

"Today, all the Islamic and Arab countries and all the free people of the world must reach a serious convergence and cooperation in the path of stopping the crimes of the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian nation," Raisi told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in a phone call late Wednesday.

Raisi stated that in order to stop the "genocide of the Palestinians by the Zionists", Iran will coordinate with Islamic countries "as soon as possible", the Iranian presidency website said on Thursday.

Iran, which backs Hamas, on Saturday celebrated the assault in Israel, though it insisted it was not involved in it.

During his call with Assad, Raisi also lashed out at Arab countries that have recently normalised or are in discussion to establish ties with Israel.

"Today, all those who made public their relations with the Zionist regime under the pretext of defending the rights of the Palestinians were disgraced, and it has been proven to the whole world that the Zionist regime is in its weakest state," Raisi said.

During the call, Assad similarly emphasised the "necessity of rapid action at the Arab and Islamic levels to protect the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip, and to stop the Israeli raids targeting children and women".

US 'always by your side', Blinken tells Israel in war with Hamas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed on a visit to Israel Thursday that the United States will "always" back it but said the Palestinians also have "legitimate aspirations" not represented by militant group Hamas.

Israel´s army has rained air and artillery strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza for six days since the Islamist militants launched their surprise onslaught that killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and took about 150 hostages.

Israeli forces have prepared for a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian coastal territory after what has been labelled Israel´s 9/11.

"You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself," Blinken said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "But as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side."

Turkey strives to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus has stated that Ankara is working to resolve the situation between Israel and Palestine, which over the weekend turned into a deadly standoff.

"Türkiye has been trying to make a great contribution from the beginning to resolve the tension ... so that civilian casualties and bloodshed of innocent people could be avoided," Kurtulmus said on Thursday at a general debate in the parliament on the conflict.

According to Kurtulmus, Ankara has been making "very serious" efforts to create a cease-fire so that the people of Gaza can breathe.

This tension's continued existence will "ignite new regional and global conflicts," he emphasised.

UK to deploy Royal Navy ships to support Israel

According to No 10, the UK will "support Israel" by sending two Royal Navy ships and surveillance planes to the eastern Mediterranean.

To "track threats to regional stability such as the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups," the aircraft will start patrolling tomorrow.

A company of marines, helicopters, P8 aircraft, and surveillance equipment are all included in the deal.

Rishi Sunak said the military support would "prevent further escalation".

According to Downing Street, the British armed forces will be ready to "deliver practical support to Israel and partners in the region, as well as offer deterrence and assurance".

Under the plans, a task group from the Royal Navy will be dispatched to the region the following week to aid with relief efforts.

The prime minister said the government "must be unequivocal" in making sure the "horrific scenes" that have unfolded in Israel "will not be repeated".

"Our military and diplomatic teams across the region will also support international partners to re-establish security and ensure humanitarian aid reaches the thousands of innocent victims of this barbaric attack from Hamas terrorists," Sunak said.

No food, fuel for Gaza until hostages are freed: Israel

Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz vowed Thursday his country would not allow basic resources or humanitarian aid into Gaza until Hamas released the hostages it took during its surprise weekend attack on Israel after the United Nations (UN) called for allowing humanitarian aid into the besieged territory.

"Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electric switch will be turned on, no water tap will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home," he said in a statement.

According to AFP, around 150 Israelis, foreigners and dual nationals were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip by Hamas fighters as part of the Saturday attack.

However, soon after the UN secretary-general urged to allow Gaza access to humanitarian aid, dozens of UN's independent experts on Thursday condemned Hamas' "horrific crimes" and said Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip "amounts to collective punishment".

"There is no justification for violence that indiscriminately targets innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. This is absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime," the experts, who are mandated by the UN but do not speak on its behalf, said in a joint statement.

Israel has in response to Hamas' attack launched a withering air campaign against Hamas fighters in the blockaded Gaza Strip, martyring over 1,300 Palestinians.

'Crucial life-saving supplies'

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for allowing humanitarian aid into war-torn Gaza as the war enters its sixth day amid Israel's imposition of a total blockade of the besieged territory including a ban on food and fuel.

The UN head took to X, formerly known as Twitter, stressing that the flow of humanitarian supplies, including food and water, "must be allowed" into Gaza, days after Israel imposed a complete blockade of the region.

"Crucial life-saving supplies — including fuel, food and water — must be allowed into Gaza. We need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now," the UN chief wrote on X.

Israeli jets have targeted Gazans in retaliation for a weekend Hamas attack that breached the border fence, killing 1,200 people, injuring over 2,700, and taking hostages in Israel.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has risen to 1,345 with around 5,600 wounded, according to Palestinian media.

Israel vowed to completely destroy Hamas as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited to stress strong solidarity but also urged restraint to protect Palestinian civilians.

Biden makes U-turn on remarks based on lies

The White House has retracted comments made by US President Joe Biden about seeing images of alleged atrocities by Palestinian resistance fighters in Israeli settlements around Gaza.

On Wednesday, in broad statements regarding his administration's support for Israel amid its conflict with Hamas and efforts to release US hostages, Biden said, "I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children."

However, a White House spokesman clarified that these allegations were based on Israeli media reports. Israeli officials and media made unsubstantiated remarks about beheadings, rape, and other allegations.

PM Netanyahu forms unity government with political rival

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist opposition leader and former defence minister Benny Gantz have agreed to form an emergency unity government amid the ongoing war with Gaza, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.

The war cabinet will comprise Netanyahu, Gantz and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, a joint statement from Gantz’s National Unity party said on Wednesday.

The statement said the unity government will not promote any unrelated policy or laws except those related to the ongoing fighting with Hamas in Gaza. However, it was not immediately clear what would happen to Netanyahu’s existing government partners, a collection of far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

The Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported that former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer will serve as observers.

Palestinians mourn the death of their relatives following an Israeli airstrike on the refugee camp of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip on 9 October 2023. — AFP
Palestinians mourn the death of their relatives following an Israeli airstrike on the refugee camp of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip on 9 October 2023. — AFP

The Netanyahu government's efforts to push through proposed changes to the country's court have caused internal political unrest in Israel for the past few months.

Opponents have labelled these efforts as an attempt to seize control of the judicial branch through a "judicial coup."

In reaction to what they defend as a series of justifiable changes, Netanyahu and his allies have accused a sizable protest movement that has been occupying the streets for the past few months of jeopardising national cohesion.

The announcement comes as Israel steps up attacks on Gaza, following an unprecedented assault into southern Israel by the armed Palestinian group Hamas that has killed at least 1,200 Israelis, many of them civilians, and shaken the confidence of the country.

Over 338,000 forced to flee Gaza Strip

More than 338,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations said, as heavy Israeli bombardments continue to hit the Palestinian enclave.

"Mass displacement across the Gaza Strip continues," the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said in a statement sent on Thursday.

By late Wednesday, the number of displaced people in Gaza had risen by an additional 75,000 people from the figure given 24 hours earlier, reaching 338,934, it said.

OCHA said nearly 220,000 people, or two-thirds of the displaced people, have sought shelter in schools run by the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

Another nearly 15,000 people fled to schools run by the Palestinian Authority, while more than 100,000 were being sheltered by relatives, neighbours and a church and other facilities in Gaza City.

OCHA said that around 3,000 people had already been displaced within the enclave prior to Saturday´s attack.

The bombing campaign has destroyed or rendered uninhabitable at least 2,540 housing units in Gaza, OCHA said, citing numbers from the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

Another 22,850 housing units sustained moderate to minor damage, it said.

The UN agency also voiced alarm at the significant destruction of civilian infrastructure damaged in the shelling.

Among other things, it said sewage facilities serving more than a million people had been hit by air strikes, leaving solid waste accumulating in the streets, posing a health threat.