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Israel-Hamas Conflict: Updates So far

Jerusalem, Israel, October 08:  The Israel Defence Force has officially declared a ‘state of war’ after Hamas fired 5,000 rockets against Israel as they announced the commencement of “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm” on Saturday.

  • Israeli Casualties: Israel reports at least 250 deaths and over 1,590 wounded due to Hamas attacks.
  • Palestinian Casualties: In Gaza, Israeli strikes have resulted in at least 230 deaths and 1,610 injuries following the initial Hamas attack.
  • Israeli Response: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a prolonged and challenging war, aiming to eliminate Hamas hideouts. Israel also plans to cut off electricity, fuel, and goods supply to Gaza.
  • Incursions into Israeli Territory: Hamas militants entered Israeli territory, seizing control of various southern communities. Ongoing fighting persists in some areas.
  • Rocket Barrage: Hamas reportedly fired thousands of rockets toward Israel, with conflicting figures between 2,500 (Israeli military) and 5,000 (Hamas military commander).
  • Hostages in Gaza: Israeli civilians and soldiers are reportedly held hostage in Gaza, though the exact number remains undisclosed.
  • Unity Government: Prime Minister Netanyahu proposed a unity government to address the national emergency, involving opposition leader Yair Lapid.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas highlights “injustice” as a driving force behind the conflict, citing the denial of Palestinians’ legitimate right to self-determination.

International Responses:

The international community has been closely monitoring the Israel-Hamas conflict and has responded in various ways:

  • UN Involvement: The United Nations Security Council is set to convene to address the escalating conflict. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a statement condemning Hamas’s attack and urging all diplomatic efforts to avoid a wider conflagration. The UN is actively seeking ways to promote peace and stability in the region.
  • US support: The United States has been engaged in discussions with Israel regarding its defense needs. An announcement of military aid from the US to Israel is anticipated in the near future, indicating ongoing US support for Israel during this crisis.
  • International Diplomacy: Egypt has initiated talks with Saudi Arabia and Jordan with the aim of defusing Palestinian-Israeli violence. The European Union is also actively involved in diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and create a viable political path towards a resolution.
  • Saudi Arabia: Officials have been in talks with the United States about normalizing relations with Israel, and called on both fighting sides to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution.
  • Turkey: Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held calls on Saturday with his regional counterparts to discuss the fighting between Israel and Palestinians, and showcased readyness to help de-escalate the situation.

Leaders’ Statements:

Prominent leaders have issued statements in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict:

  • US President Biden issued a strong condemnation of the attacks by Hamas against Israel. In an address, he declared, “The United States stands with Israel,” emphasizing unwavering support for Israel. Prior to this, he had described the attacks as “horrific” and an “appalling assault” in an official statement.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister) has declared that the nation is “embarking on a long and difficult war” in response to the Hamas attacks. He urged Gazans to evacuate the area and vowed to continue the offensive “without reservation and without respite.” Netanyahu offered a unity government proposal to address the national emergency, aiming to unite political leaders during this critical period.
  • Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian President) conveyed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the “injustice” faced by Palestinians is a significant factor contributing to the conflict with Israel. Abbas stressed the importance of addressing the political impasse and recognizing the legitimate right to self-determination for the Palestinian people.
  • Rahim Safavi, A close adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said Iran supported the Hamas attack and called it a “Proud Operation”. “We congratulate the Palestinian fighters,” he said, “We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
  • Indian PM Narendra Modi tweeted “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”
  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that his government stands in “full solidarity” with Israel, characterizing the attacks as “cowardly and depraved.”
  • António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) issued a statement condemning the attack by Hamas and called for “all diplomatic efforts to avoid a wider conflagration.” The United Nations is actively engaged in efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.
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