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Israel vows Hamas’s destruction after deadly assault

Israel pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip for the fifth straight day since the militants’ audacious attack and the death toll spiralled into the thousands, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed the complete destruction of the militant group. Every Hamas member is a dead man,” the veteran right-wing Israeli leader said, again likening them to the Islamic State group and promising: “We will crush them and destroy them as the world has destroyed Daesh.”

Netanyahu earlier temporarily settled his political differences and set up an emergency government including centrist former defence minister Benny Gantz for the duration of the crisis.

Saturday’s surprise attack — the worst in Israel’s 75-year history — has seen a total of 1,200 people killed in the Islamist militants’ onslaught, according to Israeli forces. Most were civilians.

In Gaza, officials reported more than 1,000 people killed in Israel’s sustained campaign of air and artillery strikes on the crowded Palestinian enclave, sending black smoke billowing into the sky and razing entire city blocks.

The United Nations said 11 of its staff had been killed in Gaza since Saturday, while the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies said it had lost five of its members.

In the occupied West Bank, at least four Palestinians were killed when armed Israeli settlers attacked a town south of Nablus, taking the death toll to 29, the Palestinian health ministry said.

US President Joe Biden pledged to send more munitions and military hardware to its close ally Israel and expressed revulsion at the “sheer evil” of the slaughter of civilians in Hamas’s unprecedented assault. Biden also made his first call for restraint over Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks, urging Israel to abide by the rules of war.

He said he had told Netanyahu it was “really important that Israel, with all the anger and frustration… they operate by the rules of war”.

The crisis, dubbed “Israel’s 9/11”, saw Netanyahu strike a political deal with Gantz and pledge to freeze for now his government’s judicial overhaul plan that has sparked unprecedented mass protests.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid has not joined the temporary alliance, although the joint statement said a seat would be “reserved” for him in the war cabinet. Israel before anything else,” Gantz wrote in a social media post, while the far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir wrote that he “welcomes the unity, now we must win”.

As the war raged on, fears mounted in Israel over the fate of at least 150 hostages — mostly Israelis but also including foreign and dual nationals — held in Gaza by Hamas.

The group has claimed that four captives died in Israeli strikes and threatened to kill other hostages if civilian targets are bombed without advance warning from Israel.

Hamas claimed Wednesday to have released an Israeli woman and her two children it said had been detained during fighting with Israeli forces, but Israeli television networks rejected the announcement.

Concern rose over the worsening humanitarian crisis in war-torn Gaza, where Israel had levelled over 1,000 buildings and imposed a total siege, cutting off water, food and energy supplies for 2.3 million people.

The enclave’s sole power plant shut down Wednesday after running out of fuel, Gaza’s electricity provider said.

More than 260,000 Gaza residents have been forced from their homes, a UN aid agency said, with secretary-general of the world body, Antonio Guterres, voicing fears of a deterioration in an already dire humanitarian situation.

The European Union called for a “humanitarian corridor” to allow civilians to flee the enclave’s fifth war in 15 years. Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo called for aid to be allowed into Gaza “immediately”.

Israel appeared to be readying for a possible ground invasion of Gaza, but faces the threat of a multi-front war after also coming under rocket attack from militant groups in neighbouring Lebanon and Syria. Israel again struck targets Wednesday in southern Lebanon, an area controlled by the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Source: eNCA

In other news – Matty Healy jailed for kissing partner on stage during Malaysia concert

Matty Healy’s unusual act of kissing his bandmate on stage during his live performance at the Kuala Lumpur concert in Malaysia generated a lot of controversy. The singer has now broken his silence on the incident and revealed that he was detained in Malaysia.

Matty Healy

During his recent show at Fort Worth, Texas on Monday. the 1975 frontman opened up about his controversial act of promoting the LGBTQ agenda in a Muslim-majority state. According to Metro, in a 10-minute-long pre-written speech, Matty revealed, “The Malaysian authorities imprisoned us following the incident. Read more

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