UN blasts Israel for defending itself: Secretary-General says he is ‘deeply distressed’ after Netanyahu called for a total siege of Gaza
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blasted the order of a ‘complete siege’
- More than 700 Israelis killed in attacks launched by Hamas gunmen on Saturday
- Israel struck back by hitting more than 1,000 Hamas targets in the past two days
The United Nations has blasted Israel for imposing a siege on the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ assault on the country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is ‘deeply distressed’ after Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a ‘complete siege’ of Gaza by cutting off food and electricity in the area.
Guterres added: ‘The humanitarian situation in Gaza was extremely dire before these hostilities. Now it will only deteriorate exponentially.’
More than 700 Israeli soldiers and civilians were shot dead or blown up in rocket attacks launched by Hamas on Saturday, who mowed down some 260 innocent people at a music festival in a brutal, unexpected offensive that drew comparisons with the 9/11 attacks or Pearl Harbour.
In retaliation, Israel’s Defence Forces (IDF) and air force pounded the Gaza Strip with air strikes and missile attacks, claiming they hit more than 1,000 Hamas targets in the past two days and killing 560 Palestinians.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today addressed the situation in Israel after an attack by Hamas on Saturday
A plume of smoke rises in the sky of Gaza City during an Israeli airstrike on Monday
A Palestinian emergency responder directs other after an Israeli airstrike on buildings in the refugee camp of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip on Monday
Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Gaza on Monday
People douse a car blaze in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after a rocket attack from Gaza on Monday
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said authorities will cut electricity to the Gaza Strip and block the entry of food and fuel, declaring his troops are ‘fighting barbaric [terrorists] and will respond accordingly’.
READ MORE: Hamas announces it will begin to EXECUTE hostages and post video evidence online for every Israeli airstrike as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders Israel’s Defence Forces to besiege Gaza
The measures will essentially enact siege-like conditions that will see the millions of Palestinians living in the tiny, fenced-in region begin to starve as they are attacked from the skies.
Israeli forces have already used their strike force of 600 planes and 300 rocket launchers to relentlessly pound the Gaza Strip,
But the onslaught is not expected to stop there, with Israel’s 173,000 soldiers, including 8,000 of its fearsome elite commandos, vying for the opportunity to kill Hamas terrorists.
They are now preparing to launch a massive co-ordinated ground assault within the ‘next 48 hours’ to destroy the Hamas fighters and infrastructure in Gaza that will see fierce fighting erupt in the streets.
The ground troops are drawing from Israel’s arsenal of 300 military tanks including self-propelled howitzers to scour the country’s southern and northern borders for Hamas gunman and guard the breaches in its border.
Israel’s military might is far superior to that of the Hamas terrorists, who currently only possess around 10,000 rockets that had been built up in secret.
On top of the 173,000 active Israeli soldiers, Israel has today drafted in a record 300,000 reservists in its response to a multi-front Hamas attack from Gaza and is ‘going on the offensive,’ the chief military spokesperson said.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant (pictured last month) said authorities will cut electricity to the Gaza Strip and block the entry of food and fuel
Israel is drawing on its huge military might – including thousands of tanks, warplanes and troops – to obliterate Hamas
Israeli soldiers on a tank move near Gaza border as Israeli army deploys military vehicles around the Gaza Strip in Sderot, Israel, on Monday
Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel near Sderot, southern Israel, on Monday
Israeli forces launch artillery fire towards southern Lebanon from the border zone in northern Israel on Monday
Israeli soldiers on a tank are seen near the Israel-Gaza border on Monday
Israeli forces, dispatched to the border with Gaza in southern Israel, scan the area near Ashdod on Monday
A Palestinian child walks past damaged cars amid the rubble of a destroyed area after Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on Monday
Israeli soldiers gather at an area along the border with Gaza on Monday
A fireball erupts during Israeli bombardment of Gaza City on Monday
Israel is also drawing on its special forces from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit to fight against Hamas. It is believed that they will be aiming to take out those high-ranking fighters within the terrorist organisation and also rescue the hundreds of Israelis who have been taken hostage.
READ MORE: Israel PM Netanyahu vows to ‘change the Middle East…what Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible’ after defence minister said ‘we’re fighting animals and we act accordingly’
Israel’s Defence Forces have said they want to completely strip Hamas of its power to govern in Palestine after what has been described as the country’s ‘worst day in history’ with the number of Israeli’s killed in the conflict set to rise further.
Hundreds of Palestinians, including children, have also been killed and buildings reduced to rubble after Israel began its deadly revenge attack.
By Monday afternoon, Hamas said more than 500 people had been killed, 2,700 wounded and 80,000 displaced in the hundreds of strikes that Israeli warplanes, drones, helicopters and artillery cannon have fired into Gaza.
The Israeli airstrikes have flattened much of the town of Beit Hanoun in the Palestinian enclave’s north-east corner, which Hamas terrorists had been using as a staging ground for their attacks.
In a statement, the Israeli Air Force said it dropped some 2,000 munitions and more than 1,000 ton bombs on Gaza aimed at over 10,000 targets in Gaza in the last 20 hours.
Among the targets were three rocket launchers directed at Israel, a mosque where militants were operating and 21 high-rise buildings that served militant activity.
But Palestinians are preparing for an offensive of unprecedented scale on the tiny, crowded enclave, exceeding previous bouts of destructive warfare that they fear will leave survivors destitute, without homes, water, electricity, hospitals or food.
‘It doesn’t need much thinking about. Israel suffered the biggest loss in its history so you can imagine what it is going to do,’ said a resident of Beit Hanoun on Gaza’s northeastern border with Israel.
‘I took my family out at sunrise and dozens of other families did the same. Many of us got phone calls, audio messages from Israeli security officers telling us to leave because they will operate there,’ he said.
Families began stockpiling food as soon as Saturday’s attack began but fear that despite Hamas assurances supplies will run low.
Gaza has no protected shelters designated for times of war.
Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Gaza on Monday
A paramedic holds a little girl with her face full of blood and dirt from the effects of the bombing of Israeli planes in Gaza on Monday
Palestinians evacuate a body following an Israeli airstrike on the Sousi mosque in Gaza City on Monday
A member of the Palestinian civil defence carries a wounded boy rescued from the rubble of the Tattari family home which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on Monday
A six-month baby called Sema al-Misri is being rescued under rubble after Israeli airstrike in Gaza Strip on Monday
Palestinians carry a wounded man on a stretcher following Israeli strikes on a residential building in Gaza on Monday
It comes as Israeli soldiers backed by helicopters killed at least two gunmen who crossed the northern border from Lebanon today, in a sign of a possible new front opening as Israel’s forces continued to battle Hamas terrorists to the south.
Artillery shelling and gunfire were heard at Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, a local journalist said.
Earlier, Israel’s army said its forces were in ‘full control of communities’ in its southern territory near Gaza – hours after it said it was fighting Hamas terrorists in ‘seven to eight’ locations in the south.
‘We are in full control of the communities,’ military spokesman Daniel Hagari told journalists.
But he said that fighting still raged in locations inside Israel where the fighters were still holed up after killing 700 Israelis and seizing dozens of hostages in a raid that shattered Israel’s reputation of invincibility.
‘We are now carrying out searches in all of the communities and clearing the area,’ he said in a televised briefing.
Military officials had previously said that their focus was on securing Israel’s side of the border before carrying out any major escalation of the counter-offensive in Gaza.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally declared war on Sunday and has vowed to completely destroy ‘the military and governing capabilities’ of Hamas, which is deeply rooted in Gaza and has ruled unchallenged since 2007.
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