Loud explosion heard in Gaza halts BBC journalist’s on air report
The Israeli death toll resulting from Hamas’s terror attack on Saturday rose to 1,200 as more evidence of the mass killing of civilians emerged.
The country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, described the attacks as the worst assault on the Jewish people “since the Holocaust.”
The response from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been swift and devastating – over the past 24 hours alone, they reported having struck 450 targets in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 950 people have died in the exclave since the Israeli retaliation began over the weekend.
On Wednesday morning, satellite imagery reveals the impact of the operation on neighbourhoods, infrastructure and civic buildings in the already fragile state.
The Zeitoum area of Gaza (Google Maps/Maxar)
On Tuesday, the IDF warned the “fighting will intensify” and that scenes from the Strip would “be more difficult to understand and cope with” in the coming days.
In a daily video update, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said they were “getting ready to execute the mission that we have been given by the Israeli government – and that is to make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won’t have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians.”
Palestinian fears of a full-scale invasion may well be realised as “infantry, armoured soldiers, artillery corps”, as well as 300,000 reservists have amassed close to the border.
Coastal suburb to the north of Gaza, near Atatra (Google Maps/Maxar)
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Insurgents from Hamas – the terrorist group which has governed over the Gaza Strip since 2007 – have now been fully repelled from Israel and the border rebuilt.
Details of the atrocities committed by the terror group are still emerging. Up to 150 people, including many women and children, have been taken hostage by Hamas, which has threatened to kill them if Israel’s aerial bombardment continues without warning.
On Tuesday, the bodies of dozens of dead civilians were found in the kibbutz of Kfar Azza. One soldier claimed children had been beheaded.
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Watan communications tower in central Gaza (Google Maps/Maxar)
Demonstrations in support of the victims on both sides have been staged around the world.
On Wednesday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank to plead for the end of Israeli air strikes. In London, protesters rallied outside the boarded-up Israeli embassy in Kensington chanting “Israel is a terrorist state”.
At the same time, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attended a prayer service at Finchley United Synagogue in north London and 2,000 people attended a Westminster vigil. Supporters of Israel have also been seen in cities across the US, which has boosted military aid to the country.
Pro-Palestine demonstration in Seoul, South Korea and a pro-Israel march in Los Angeles (GETTY)
Israel cut off Gaza’s electricity supply on Monday as it announced a “complete siege”. On Wednesday, the head of the Gaza Energy Authority, Jalal Ismail, said the country’s sole power plant would stop working shortly after midday.
The Gaza Strip has been in a state of crisis ever since Hamas took over 18 years ago. Even before the escalation of the past few days, around 80 percent of the civilian population relied on humanitarian aid.
With entire neighbourhoods reduced to rubble, around 250,000 have been forced to leave their homes, according to the UN – roughly one-in-eight of the 2.1 million population.
Food, fuel and water supplies will also soon be cut, and the Palestinian minister of health has said all medical centres and hospitals would run out of medicine in 24 hours.
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