Fighting between Israeli forces and the Palestinian group Hamas continues with hundreds killed on both sides after a surprise attack on Israel prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn of “a long and difficult war“.
Here is the situation on Sunday, October 8, 2023.
The 2.3 million Palestinians who live in the besieged Gaza Strip spent the night in terror and darkness as Israel intensified air attacks and cut off power to the coastal enclave.The Israeli attacks flattened residential buildings in giant explosions, including a 14-storey tower, that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City.The Israeli army said its forces struck the home of Hamas’s intelligence chief in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu pledged “mighty vengeance” against Hamas.Israel fired barrages of artillery into southern Lebanon after Hezbollah targeted three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms.Israeli forces have taken control of a police station in the southern city of Sderot, killing at least 10 Palestinian fighters after an hours-long standoff, according to local media.The Qassam Brigades of the Hamas said its fighters were still engaged in “fierce clashes” in several cities inside Israel.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will hold emergency closed consultations on Sunday over the escalating violence.The meeting was first called by Malta, currently a UNSC member, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Brazil later supporting it.China said it was “deeply concerned” by the weekend’s dramatic escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, urging all sides to show “calm”.Egypt is in talks with Saudi Arabia and Jordan to defuse Palestinian-Israeli tensions, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of the “volatility” of the situation, “particularly in light of what cities and areas of the West Bank are witnessing of Israeli attacks and violations against the Palestinian people”.
Saudi Arabia called for an “immediate cessation of violence”.US President Joe Biden described Saturday’s Hamas attacks in Israel as “unconscionable” and his administration pledged to ensure Israel has “what it needs to defend itself”.
The number of Palestinians killed in the besieged Gaza Strip has risen to 256, health officials say. About 1,800 others were wounded.The death toll in the Gaza Strip included 20 children, according to the Ministry of Health. At least 120 minors were wounded.Israel’s military says at least 26 soldiers were killed in the unprecedented Hamas attack on the country’s south. In all, at least 300 Israelis have been killed, according to local media reports.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies