Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht has urged civilians in northern Gaza, where Hamas’s leadership is based, not to delay in getting out. “We are preparing to attack Gaza by “air, sea and land,” an army official said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “more is coming” in Israel’s response to Hamas’s shock attack last week, according to a video released by his office. “Are you ready for what is coming? More is coming,” Netanyahu, wearing a flak jacket, was heard telling soldiers.
Some 1.1 million people – nearly half the population of 2.4 million – live in the north of Gaza, and aid groups have said forcing them to move is an impossibility as the war rages. With food, water, fuel and medical supplies running low because of an Israeli blockade, aid agencies are warning of an impending humanitarian crisis in Gaza. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the situation in Gaza as “a dangerous new low”.
A potential Israeli ground invasion has also increased fears for the safety of the 150 hostages, including foreigners, that Israel said Hamas captured during its deadly rampage.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which several Western governments, including the US, have proscribed as a terrorist organisation, and likened to the Islamic State group.
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian yesterday praised the Hamas rampage as a “historic victory” that had dealt a setback to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hossein Amirabdollahian, at a meeting in Qatar’s capital Doha, agreed to continue cooperation” to achieve the group’s goals, Hamas said in a statement.
US President Joe Biden and other world leaders, have however, warned against any country broadening the conflict. The US deployed a second aircraft carrier “to deter hostile actions against Israel” while President Joe Biden pushed for the protection of civilians .
Israel faces the threat of a separate confrontation on its northern border with Lebanon with artillery exchanges taking place with the Iran-backed Hezbollah group in recent days.
With inputs from NDTV