Israel towards invasion, raids for hostages. Netanyahu: “We will destroy Hamas, this is just the beginning”


By John

One step away from the ground operation in Gaza, Israel has already put its boots in the Strip with commando actions, supported from the sky with large-scale air strikes, in an attempt to locate the over 150 hostages taken to the Palestinian enclave. It is a necessary action, military experts point out, with the aim of preventing the possible killings of the kidnapped when the invasion of the Strip begins, now defined as “imminent” by several sources. «That cursed Saturday – the prime minister said in the evening Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the nation for the first time on Shabbat – will remain engraved in Israel’s history. We won’t forget it. We are striking our enemies with unprecedented force. They have just started paying the price, they don’t know what will happen, it’s just the beginning. We will destroy and eradicate Hamas.” «The fate of the hostages – the army assured – is an absolute priority. We need reliable information, based on our sources.”

It is not known how much the commando incursion served to gather evidence on their whereabouts. The reality on the ground is that the ultimatum given by the army to the population of northern Gaza to move south accelerated everything. The military’s message was clear, with the request for “evacuation of all civilians in Gaza City from their homes for their safety and the movement to the area south of Wadi Gaza”, a waterway near the city . “He will only be allowed to return to Gaza City when another announcement is made allowing this.” The strategy appears clear: prevent Hamas from shielding itself from the civilian population and enter the Palestinian enclave from the north as the first move. Hamas – which in recent days has rejected any negotiations on humanitarian corridors – reacted to the army’s announcement by calling it “propaganda”. Then it took action and began erecting checkpoints and barriers to prevent residents from leaving Gaza City. Chaos broke out in the northern part of the Strip, with thousands of people fleeing. UNRWA itself, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, announced that it had moved many of its structures to the south and asked that the army not attack the schools where the refugees are taking refuge.

The army replied that “it will do its best not to hit sensitive locations. But – he warned – in the past Hamas has used hospitals, schools and mosques as shields to defend its infrastructure.” While the Ministry of the Interior of Gaza announced that «4 bombs landed on the displaced people and there are at least 70 dead and 200 injured». Previously, Hamas itself had announced that 13 hostages, including some foreigners (some with dual citizenship), were killed in Israeli raids. Shortly before Netanyahu spoke, the Jewish state’s air force announced that it had launched “large-scale” attacks on Hamas targets in the Palestinian enclave. The objective is still to dismantle the command wheel of Hamas and the other factions, hit the rocket launch pads towards Israel and kill the leaders of the terrorist organizations. The shootings on Israel, after a fairly quiet night, instead resumed forcefully in the early afternoon, with dozens of rockets directed at Ashkelon and the southern and central area of ​​the country, including Tel Aviv and the international airport of Ben Gurion.

The death toll on both sides continues to rise inexorably. In Israel there are over 1,300 dead (257 soldiers) and 3,300 wounded. In Gaza, according to the local Ministry of Health, there have been at least 1,800 victims with 6,388 injured. Also in the West Bank there were 11 deaths in clashes with the Israeli army during the Day of Rage proclaimed by Hamas for the first Friday of the ‘Flood of Al Aqsa’ operation. A total of 46 Palestinians have been killed in the Territories since the start of hostilities. The northern front with Lebanon – where the worst is feared – was a succession of rockets from Hezbollah and responses from Israeli artillery. A Lebanese Reuters cameraman was killed in an Israeli attack and five other reporters were injured. Envoys from Europe and the USA arrived in Israel, including Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. They all expressed solidarity with Israel and condemned Hamas. “Worse than ISIS”, said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “The most atrocious attack on Jews since the Holocaust, insisted the President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen.