Overnight, Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza, claiming to have targeted an elite Hamas unit responsible for the recent deadly attacks. Meanwhile, the U.S. Secretary of State is en route to the Middle East to express solidarity with Israel and meet with various Arab leaders, including Palestinians.
Israel’s recent bombing campaign is the most intense in its 75-year conflict with the Palestinians. The Israeli government has pledged to eliminate the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust.
During the weekend, hundreds of Hamas gunmen breached the border fence and entered Israeli towns, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians killed in their homes or on the streets. They also took numerous hostages back to Gaza.
In response, Israel has imposed a complete blockade on Gaza, a territory with a population of 2.3 million people. The ongoing bombing campaign has caused significant destruction in many neighborhoods, and the Israeli government has called up hundreds of thousands of reservists while forming a unity war cabinet, possibly in preparation for a ground invasion.
Although no official decision has been made regarding a ground assault, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht, the military spokesperson, has confirmed that the military is actively preparing for such an operation.
The latest overnight strikes primarily targeted Hamas’s “Nukhba Force,” which played a central role in the weekend attacks. Additionally, Palestinian gunmen are attempting to infiltrate Israel by sea, and the military is actively working to secure the Gaza fence.
Deaths of 15 Palestinians
According to Hamas media, the recent Israeli airstrikes resulted in the deaths of 15 Palestinians and left several others wounded. Eyewitnesses reported heavy Israeli airstrikes in Gaza city, and Gazan authorities confirmed an airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.
Gaza’s hospitals face an overwhelming number of wounded and fatalities and are quickly depleting their supplies. Their generators have only a few days’ worth of fuel left.
In an effort to support Israel, secure the release of captives, including Americans, and prevent the further escalation of the conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to the Middle East. His visit will begin on Thursday and include a stop in Jordan. Hussein Al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, announced on the social media platform X that Blinken will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.
The Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank but lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas, an Islamist militant group supported by Iran, in 2007.