- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:
- Palestinian Health Ministry says death toll in Gaza exceeds 5,000
- Former US president urges Israel not to ignore human costs
- Blinken goes to the UN for the Security Council meeting in the Middle East
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s military said it was preparing for “relentless attacks” to dismantle Hamas, while former U.S. President Barack Obama warned that “any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately prove counterproductive.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said the death toll in Gaza had surpassed 5,000 in two weeks of Israeli airstrikes in response to the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel, in which the Islamist militant group killed more of 1,400 people.
Israel beat hundreds of targets in Gaza from the air on Monday as his soldiers battled Hamas militants during raids in the besieged Palestinian strip where civilians are trapped in harrowing conditions.
Hamas released two on Monday israeli women among the more than 200 hostages taken during the October 7 assault. They were the third and fourth hostages to be released.
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi issued a statement suggesting that Israel had no intention of slowing its attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip and hinting that it was well prepared for a ground attack.
“We want to bring Hamas to a state of total dismantling,” Halevi said Monday night. “The path is a path of relentless attacks, which damage Hamas everywhere and in every way.
“We are well prepared for ground operations in the south,” he added, referring to southern Israel, which borders Gaza. “Troops that have more time are better prepared and that’s what we’re doing now.”
Publicly, the United States has stressed Israel’s right to defend itself, but two sources familiar with the matter said the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department have stepped up their efforts. private appeals for caution in talks with the Israelis.
A U.S. priority is to buy time for negotiations to free other hostages, said the sources, who spoke before the hostage release was announced Monday.
Asked about the possibility of a ceasefire, US President Joe Biden said: “We should release those hostages and then we can talk.”
OBAMA WARNS ISRAEL AGAINST CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
Obama, in a rare comment by a former American president on a foreign policy crisis, issued a written statement warning Israel not to cause so many civilian casualties in retaliation against Hamas that it would alienate generations of Palestinians.
“Any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire. Thousands of Palestinians have already died in the bombings of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes,” Obama said. in a statement published on social networks.
It was not immediately clear whether Obama coordinated his statement with Biden, who was his vice president. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis,” he added.
“It could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long-term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he wrote in the released statement. on Medium who also condemned the Hamas attack and reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East on Tuesday, although it was unclear what action, if any, the council, whose five powers with veto power appear divided.
The Israeli bombing of Gaza has allowed China and Russia to burnish their credentials as champions of the developing world, in contrast to the United States, which has directly supported Israel. The three great powers have a veto in the Council.
On Monday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said 436 people had been killed in shelling over the previous 24 hours, mostly in the south of the coastal enclave next to which Israeli troops and tanks have been massed for some time. possible land invasion.
The Israeli military said it had struck more than 320 targets in Gaza in 24 hours, including a tunnel housing Hamas fighters, dozens of command and surveillance posts, and anti-tank missile and mortar launcher positions.
The Israeli army said it attacked a Hamas target in The Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza which, according to the Palestinian enclave’s Health Ministry, killed or injured dozens of people on Monday night.
Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.
At least 5,087 Palestinians have been killed in two weeks of attacks, including 2,055 children, the Health Ministry said.
While Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants lack the basics, European leaders He seemed willing to follow the United Nations and Arab nations in calling for a “humanitarian pause” in hostilities so that aid could reach them.
A convoy of humanitarian aid trucks delivered water, food and medicine to the Gaza Strip on Monday – the third since aid began arriving on Saturday – but the United Nations said fuel was not included and supplies will run out in two days.
The UN said desperate Gazans also lacked places to shelter from the relentless onslaught that has devastated large areas of the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Steve Holland, Rami Ayyub and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; Dan Williams and Emily Rose in Jerusalem; Moaz Abd-Alaziz in Cairo; written by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Howard Goller and Michael Perry.
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.