Israel vowed on Thursday not to pause its relentless siege of the Gaza Strip for aid or evacuations until every single one of its hostages was freed — as the head of the Israel Defense Forces pledged to dismantle Hamas and insisted the Palestinian enclave would “never look the same.”
The Israeli military said it had already dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza since the weekend as it made good on its promise to annihilate Hamas in retribution for the deadliest attack on civilians in Israeli history.
“We will attack them, we will dismantle them, dismantle their system,” IDF chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said Thursday of Hamas in his first remarks since the war broke out.
“Gaza will not look the same.”
However, as the Israeli military continued to pulverize the Hamas-ruled region with airstrikes and prepared for a possible ground invasion, the military chief conceded that the army had failed to thwart the shocking attack.
“The IDF is responsible for defending the country and its citizens, and Saturday morning, in the area around Gaza, we did not live up to it,” Halevi said, adding that lessons would be drawn from the security failures around Gaza that enabled the horror to unfold.
“We will learn, investigate, but now is the time for war.”
As the war entered its sixth day, the death toll surpassed more than 2,700, according to officials on both sides.
Below: Jewish students at University of Washington break down after student orgs host pro-Hamas rally on-campus
More than 1,300 Israelis have been confirmed dead, including a majority who were gunned down in their homes, on the streets, or at a desert rave. Some 150 Israelis and foreigners were taken as hostages back to Gaza, officials said.
Gaza authorities said more than 1,400 Palestinians have been killed so far after Israel subjected the besieged enclave to the most powerful bombing campaign in the 75-year history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite international aid groups warning of a worsening humanitarian crisis after Israel halted deliveries of food, water, fuel and electricity to Gaza’s 2.3 million people, Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz said Thursday there would be no exceptions to the siege without freedom for its hostages.
“Not a single electricity switch will be flipped on, not a single faucet will be turned on, and not a single fuel truck will enter until the Israeli hostages are returned home,” Katz said on social media.
As the death toll continued to mount, the morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital overflowed Thursday as bodies came in faster than relatives could claim them.
Workers at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital had to stack corpses three high outside the walk-in cooler and put dozens more, side by side, in the parking lot.
“The body bags started and just kept coming and coming and now it’s a graveyard,” Abu Elias Shobaki, a nurse at Shifa, said of the parking lot. “I am emotionally, physically exhausted. I just have to stop myself from thinking about how much worse it will get.”
Nearly a week after Hamas terrorists crossed the Israeli border and started killing innocent civilians in a bloody rampage, Israel was preparing for a possible ground invasion of Gaza — the first in nearly a decade.
A ground offensive would likely only further drive up the Palestinian death toll.
Meanwhile, in the biggest sign yet of the conflict potentially spilling across borders, Syria said Israeli air strikes had hit airports in two Syrian cities, Damascus and Aleppo, on Thursday — putting both out of service.
The Israeli military said it doesn’t comment on such reports. Syria is a close ally of Iran, which sponsors Hamas and has celebrated the attacks while denying a direct role.
Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said his country would lodge an urgent protest against Israel at the United Nations Security Council after Israel and powerful armed group Hezbollah began exchanging fire across the Lebanese border.
The Israeli military, which has started digging in along its northern border, said it has responded with artillery fire to launches coming from Lebanese territory.
In internal documents, Biden administration officials admitted that they knew that their policies funding Gaza would support Hamas.
They chose to send the money and fund terrorism anyway.
Biden officials must be held accountable for funding the terrorists that attacked Israel.…
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 13, 2023
We are going all night pummeling the Nazi terrorists #UntilHamasIsGone
— Israel Live War Update ???? (@israelwarlive) October 12, 2023
Happening now in New York after Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal calls for 'day of jihad' on Friday the 13th, and tells Muslims to 'take to the streets' in protest against Israel.#IsraelPalestineWar #IsraelPalestineConflict #Gaza #palastine #طوفان_الاقصى_ pic.twitter.com/eIeROWNeWm
— CBKNEWS (@CBKNEWS121) October 12, 2023
Special Constable Mustafa Rahmanzadeh allegedly called for the destruction of Israel in a post to Instagram amid calls for ‘global Jihad’ by Hamas.
— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) October 12, 2023