Tue. May 21st, 2024

New Delhi:

High-altitude footage released by the Israel Defense Forces – and shared online by an open-source intelligence handle Monday evening – spotlighted devastating aerial strikes on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. The 14-second clip begins with multiple rocket missile strikes on what seem to be residential colonies. At least six explosions are recorded – flashes of orange followed by plumes of ominous and slow-spreading dark grey smoke that blanket the surrounding areas.

The camera then seems to pan and zoom in to show smoldering concrete shells that were once houses and apartment blocks. The centre of the neighbourhood appears to have been completely levelled.

There is absolutely no movement of sign of life.

Multiple reports indicate that over 1,300 people have been killed in a bloody and brutal war after Hamas fighters took Israel by surprise and stormed past one of the world’s most fortified borders.

So far more than 800 people have died in Israel and around 560 in Gaza. Several thousands more have been injured and, according to the United Nations, 1.23 lakh have been displaced so far. There is no estimate of property damage yet but this likely to run into the billions by the time the dust settles.

An Israeli government bent on revenge has vowed to obliterate the Hamas; Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million people and is already a heavily blockaded strip of land. “No electricity, no food, no water, no gas. It’s all closed,” he said.

READ | Israel Orders “Complete Siege” On Gaza, Cuts Off Food, Water: 10 Points

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on Hamas and has vowed to reduce to rubble all of the group’s hideouts in Gaza. He has warned civilians to stay away from such structures

However, as ex-PM Yair Lapid told NDTV, Israel appears less concerned about the death of civilians and non-combatants; “We are going to do our best to avoid killing bystanders and collateral damage, but there will be (collateral damage) because this war is in a very densely populated area,” he said.

READ |“There Will Be Collateral Damage…”: Ex-Israel PM’s Warning To Hamas

On Day 3 of the war, Israel fighter jets and attack helicopters continue to pound the Gaza Strip. The IDF said over 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the Strip had been attacked since Sunday night.

Tel Aviv has also massed tens of thousands of troops along the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, Hamas has kept up a steady barrage of rocket strikes while hundreds of its gunmen engage Israeli ground forces in border towns. Israeli officials have accused the Hamas of going door-to-door to take hostages back to Gaza, and that these include children and elderly people.

READ | Video: How Party Turned Into Tragedy As Hamas Gunmen Storm Israeli Music Festival

The war – the bloodiest in nearly five decades – broke early Saturday morning after an estimated 1,000 Hamas gunmen attacked Israeli border posts under the cover of a barrage of rockets that proved too much even for that country’s famed Iron Dome, or all-weather aerial defence system.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has vowed to continue “the battle to liberate our land…”, and has called on “resistance fighters in the West Bank” as well as in “Arab and Islamic nations” to join the war.

The attack has also prompted questions over the failure of Mossad and Israel’s much-vaunted intelligence network to raise a red flag. Experts suggest this means Hamas is evolving as a military outfit – into one capable of conducting top-secret long-term strategic operations.

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