Israel put a full siege on the Gaza Strip on Monday and cut off its water supply. It also continued to bomb targets in the Palestinian territory as a reaction to Hamas’s surprise attack, which Israel has compared to the 9/11 attacks.
Israel has lost over 700 people in attacks on land, air, and sea by the Islamist group that have never been seen before. They have also started a fierce barrage of strikes on Gaza that have killed 560 people there.
The sky over Gaza was filled with thick clouds of smoke from loud explosions. Hamas kept firing rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, setting off missile defense systems and air raid alerts.
On Saturday, Hamas militants stormed into Israeli towns, opened fire on citizens, and took about 100 hostages. On Monday, Hamas said that Israeli airstrikes had killed four of the hostages.
Israel said it had called up 300,000 army reservists, and tanks were seen being moved by truck convoys to the south, where its troops had pushed the last few Hamas fighters out of towns that were under attack.
Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said, “We are in control of the communities,” but he warned that some “terrorists” may still be there after about 1,000 militants rushed into the area on the Jewish Sabbath.
The area had been under “complete siege” for a long time, according to Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. He went on to explain what this meant for the 2.3 million people who lived there: “There is no gas, electricity, food, or water. Everything is closed.”
Many Palestinians in the poor coastal area were getting ready for what they thought would be a huge Israeli ground attack to defeat Hamas and free the prisoners.
People in Gaza were told by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stay away from all Hamas sites, which he promised to destroy.
Iran, Israel’s biggest enemy, and Hezbollah, their ally in Lebanon, have praised the Hamas attack, which has made things worse in the Middle East. However, Tehran has denied having any part in the military action.
Many people in the occupied West Bank and other Arab and Islamic countries have been asked to join Hamas’s “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” which began 50 years after the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.
The United States has promised Israel “rock solid” backing and said it will send weapons and other military equipment to its most important ally. It will also send an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean.
“They killed people”
Israel has long been proud of having the most advanced military and intelligence in all of its wars. Hamas’s attack, which has never been seen before, has shaken the country to its core.
Hezbollah fired guided missiles and artillery shells from the north on Sunday “in solidarity” with Hamas, which some saw as a warning shot. This means that there could be war on more than one front.
Israel is scared and disgusted that more than 1,000 terrorists broke through the fence it thought was impregnable along the Gaza border and swarmed into Jews living nearby.
Israel says that among the hostages they brought back to Gaza were children and a Holocaust victim who used a wheelchair.
There were up to 250 bodies found at a music festival in the Negev desert. Most of the bodies were young people, and other festival-goers were thought to be prisoners.
Moti Bukjin, a spokeswoman for the Zaka volunteer group that helped get the bodies, said, “They killed people in cold blood in an unimaginable way.”
Israelis are angry about the lack of information that caught the whole country off guard, but they are trying to put aside their deep political differences for now as they get ready for what Netanyahu has called a “long and difficult war.”
“The worst in Israeli history”
Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesman for the army, said, “Never before have so many Israelis been killed by one thing, let alone enemy activity in one day.”
He said that the coordinated attack had made that day “by far the worst in Israeli history,” comparing it to a mix of the “9/11 and Pearl Harbor” strikes.
Also, things were very bad inside Gaza, which has been blocked off by Israel since Hamas took over 15 years ago. During that time, there have been several wars with Israel.
Tower blocks of apartments, churches, and the central bank have all been destroyed by airstrikes. The UN says that more than 120,000 people in Gaza have had to leave their homes.
“The situation is unbearable,” Amal al-Sarsawi, 37, said as she and her scared children took cover in a school classroom.
Jason Lee of the charity group Save the Children said that children no longer feel safe. “Our teams and their families are so scared that they feel like they could be sitting targets.”
“Kids all over the area are always scared.”
Large-scale shock waves
In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians have come together to back the protesters and fought with Israeli police, killing 15 Palestinians since Saturday.
Protests against Israel have happened in Iraq, Pakistan, the US, and other places. At the same time, security was tightened around Jewish schools and churches around the world.
The war that is getting worse has shocked people all over the world because they are afraid it will get worse even more. This has caused oil prices to rise because people are afraid supplies will run out.
The United States and the European Union both see Hamas as a terrorist group, so they were against the attack.
People from Brazil, Britain, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Thailand, the United States, and other countries have been killed, kidnapped, or reported missing.
An Egyptian police officer shot and killed two Israeli tourists and their Egyptian guide “at random” in Alexandria on Sunday before being caught.
In the past few years, the US has helped Israel make a number of peace agreements with Arab countries. Recently, Israel has warned its people not to travel to certain areas, especially in the Middle East.