Israel’s war deepens
At least 900 people in Israel and 550 in Gaza have died following Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, leading to “significant military steps” in retaliation. The Israel Defence Force (IDF) is still working to “establish security” in the southern parts of the country as they move against the remaining Hamas militants. The IDF also confirmed that 300,000 troops were amassing on the Gaza border – they are moving on Hamas positions in Gaza to ensure they ”no longer have any military capability to threaten Israeli civilians with”. At the same time, Israeli warplanes and drones are striking the Palestinian territory, hitting around 1,000 targets so far and displacing 123,000 Gazans.
What do we know about what’s gone down so far?
There are some harrowing first-hand accounts that have painted a grim picture. An Australian man described fleeing from the Supernova music festival near the Gaza border that was targeted by Hamas in the early hours of Saturday, and social media videos show attendees sprinting across the desert to escape the attack. At least 260 bodies have been recovered from the site, which a survivor described as “4-5 hours of a horror movie”. More details are also emerging about how Palestinian fighters broke through the border fence that hems in Gaza, including the use of bulldozers. And attention is turning to the fate of Israeli hostages captured by Hamas militants, in what could become a huge issue for Israel’s retaliatory strikes.
And what’s being said about how Hamas launched the attacks?
Eyes are turning to Iran, which has supported Hamas in the past. Yesterday, senior members of Hamas claimed that Iran had been helping to plan the attacks since August. The connection is that Iran – a conservative Muslim-majority country – is strongly anti-Israel and hates America’s support for the Jewish state. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he’s not seen evidence that Iran is behind it but noted its “long relationship” with Hamas. Experts also noted that Iran’s government praised the attacks. Here in Australia, PM Anthony Albanese yesterday called for “restraint when it comes to the targeting of civilians” and condemned rallies in support of Hamas, saying there was “nothing to celebrate by the murder of innocent civilians going about their day”.
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