The Israeli government has said there will be no humanitarian break to allow power, water, food or fuel into Gaza Strip until all hostages held by Hamas militants are freed.
What is Israel planning?
Israel is preparing to launch a ground invasion into Gaza in response to bloody massacres carried out in 20 Israeli communities by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas last weekend, during which dozens of hostages were also seized, in the most serious escalation in the region for 50 years.
The energy minister, Israel Katz, wrote on social media on Thursday, October 12 that no ‘electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter’ until the ‘abductees’ were free.
Israel Defence Forces strikes killed at least 33 people within two hours overnight on Thursday, according to Al Jazeera bringing the death toll in Gaza to 1,354.
The publication said fighter jets had attacked houses in several areas, and civil defence groups recovered the bodies of the dead.
In some areas, residents were sifting through rubble with their bare hands looking for survivors and bodies.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, landed in Tel Aviv on Thursday as part of a Middle East tour to show Washington’s solidarity with Israel, after a first plane loaded with US munitions arrived in Israel on Wednesday night.
‘You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself,’ Blinken said at a joint press conference with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
New threats from Israel
‘But as long as America exists, you will never, ever have to. We will always be there by your side.’
Netanyahu has vowed to ‘crush and destroy’ Hamas and as of Wednesday night, he leads a newly formed unity government and war cabinet, including members of the opposition.
The UN said late on Wednesday the number of people displaced by the airstrikes had soared 30% within 24 hours to 339,000 – two-thirds of them crowding into UN schools.
Palestinian media said that bombing had killed the brother of Mohammed Deif, Hamas’s military commander, and a senior commander from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.