Israel Institutes Comprehensive Siege on Gaza, Responding to Hamas Incursion With Airstrikes

by Ethan Kim
Israel-Gaza conflict

On Monday, the Israeli military imposed a comprehensive blockade on the Gaza Strip, effectively stopping the delivery of food, fuel, and essential supplies to the area’s 2.3 million residents. This action came as the Israeli forces conducted extensive aerial bombardments on the Hamas-controlled territory in response to a surprise attack by the militant group over the weekend.

Two days following the unexpected assault by Hamas, Israeli military officials reported that they had regained substantial control over their southern towns, where they had been combating Hamas militants. The Israeli military and intelligence sectors were taken completely by surprise by the well-coordinated attacks, leading to unprecedented street battles for the first time in many years.

To secure the breached Gaza border fence, Israel deployed tanks and unmanned aerial vehicles. The military also initiated an extensive mobilization of 300,000 reservists, a significant undertaking in a brief period. Concurrently, thousands of Israelis were relocated from several towns situated close to Gaza.

The formal declaration of war by Israel on Sunday indicated a more aggressive stance towards Hamas, signaling potential for escalated destruction in the already impoverished Gaza Strip.

Further Developments

  • Increase in Death Toll Amid Ongoing Israel-Hamas Conflict
  • Key Facts: Israel Formally Declares War, Launches Airstrikes Following Unprecedented Hamas Attack
  • Israeli Military Strives to Dislodge Hamas Fighters Following Surprise Offensive

One significant point of concern is whether Israel will initiate a ground invasion, a tactic that historically has led to elevated casualty rates.

The current conflict is set against an increasingly volatile backdrop. Israel and Hamas have clashed numerous times over the years, often over issues concerning Jerusalem’s holy sites. The stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has further exacerbated tensions, leading both parties to talk about breaking the deadlock through violence.

Israel’s government, dominated by hard-right ministers who are unequivocally against Palestinian statehood, has been shocked by a level of violence and casualties unseen since the 1973 war against Egypt and Syria. This has led to renewed calls for decisive action against Hamas, regardless of the humanitarian cost.

Hamas, conversely, has expressed its readiness for a protracted conflict to end what it views as an intolerable Israeli occupation. The sense of desperation among Palestinians is mounting, with many feeling that they have little left to lose due to the ongoing Israeli control and international apathy.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged steadfastness, promising that “we have only just begun” the operations against Hamas.

As evening fell, rocket attacks from Gaza targeted two neighborhoods in Jerusalem, wounding seven, according to Israeli media reports. Earlier, Israel had destroyed much of the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, claiming it was being used as a launching pad for attacks.

The conflict has resulted in staggering death tolls on both sides. Around 700 people, including 73 soldiers, have been reported killed in Israel, while the Gaza Health Ministry cited 493 deaths, including 78 children and 41 women.

Palestinian militant groups have claimed the capture of over 130 individuals in Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered an all-encompassing blockade on Gaza, indicating that the electricity supply would be cut, and food and fuel deliveries would be stopped.

Israel and Egypt have enforced a varying degree of blockade on Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007. Egypt, meanwhile, has sent over 2 tons of medical supplies and is discussing other forms of aid, although the issue of fuel imports remains undecided.

Israel plans to continue its airstrikes targeting Hamas infrastructure, according to Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. In southern Gaza city of Rafah, 19 people, including women and children, were reported killed in an Israeli airstrike, according to local medical authorities.

After 48 hours of intense fighting, the Israeli military claimed to have secured its border communities. Earlier, a Hamas spokesman stated that their fighters had captured more Israelis, with the aim of negotiating prisoner exchanges.

The international response includes the U.S. deploying an aircraft carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean, ready to provide assistance to Israel, and also promising additional military aid.

This article has been updated to correct the name of the Palestinian family to Abu Quta, not Abu Outa.

Contributions to this report were made by writers from various locations including Rafah, Gaza Strip; Jerusalem; Tel Aviv, Israel; Beirut; Cairo; and Tehran, Iran.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Gaza conflict

What led Israel to impose a full blockade on Gaza?

Israel imposed a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip in response to a surprise attack by Hamas militants. The blockade halts deliveries of food, fuel, and essential supplies to Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people.

What military actions has Israel taken in response to Hamas?

Israel has conducted multiple waves of airstrikes on Gaza, targeting what it claims are Hamas installations. It has also deployed tanks and drones to secure breaches in the Gaza border fence. Additionally, Israel has mobilized 300,000 reservists in a massive, rapid mobilization effort.

What is the status of southern Israeli towns?

More than two days after the surprise attack by Hamas, the Israeli military claims to have largely regained control over its southern towns, which had been infiltrated by Hamas gunmen.

What is the situation with casualties on both sides?

According to Israeli media outlets, around 700 people, including 73 soldiers, have been killed in Israel. The Gaza Health Ministry reports 493 people killed in the territory, including 78 children and 41 women. Thousands on both sides have been wounded.

Is there a possibility of Israel launching a ground assault on Gaza?

The possibility remains open but has not been confirmed. Israel’s actions thus far indicate an increasingly offensive stance against Hamas, raising questions about a potential ground assault, which would likely escalate casualties.

What is Hamas’s stance on the situation?

Hamas states that it is prepared for a protracted battle to end what it describes as an intolerable Israeli occupation. The group has been involved in rocket attacks and incursions into Israeli territory.

What international assistance is being provided?

The U.S. has dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel and has also pledged additional military aid.

What is the status of the blockade that had previously been imposed on Gaza?

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza of varying strictness since Hamas seized power in 2007. In recent years, Israel provided limited electricity and allowed the import of some consumer goods while heavily restricting travel.

Are there any efforts to mediate the situation?

Egypt has been making efforts to mediate, and its officials are attempting to organize food and other essential deliveries to Gaza. The question of allowing in fuel has not yet been decided.

More about Israel-Gaza conflict

  • Israeli Military Actions in Gaza
  • Hamas’s Role in the Current Conflict
  • Status of Southern Israeli Towns
  • Casualty Reports from Both Sides
  • U.S. Support in the Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • History of the Israel-Gaza Blockade
  • Egyptian Mediation Efforts in the Conflict
  • Impact of Blockade on Gaza’s Population
  • Ground Assault Possibilities
  • Previous Israel-Hamas Conflicts

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JaneSmith October 9, 2023 - 4:42 pm

Its heartbreaking to see the death tolls, esp the children and women. When will all this end? 🙁

GlobalCitizen October 9, 2023 - 7:24 pm

At this rate, a ground assault seems imminent. That’s just gonna make things worse.

SaraT October 9, 2023 - 7:25 pm

So Egypt’s mediating? Dunno how much they can do but something’s gotta give.

Mike_89 October 10, 2023 - 12:06 am

Massive mobilization of 300k reservists in such a short time? That’s something. Clearly Israel’s not taking this lightly.

JohnDoe October 10, 2023 - 5:58 am

Wow, this situation is gettin outta hand. How did Israel get caught off guard by Hamas? Intell failure or what?

CryptoFan101 October 10, 2023 - 7:16 am

The geopolitical implications are huge. If the US is sending military aid, you know it’s serious. Watch the oil prices, folks.

Realist999 October 10, 2023 - 10:43 am

Blockade cutting off essential supplies to Gaza? That’s a whole new level of escalation. This could spiral further.


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