Gaza Ground Attack Looms
Editor's note: Since the below writing, Israel called on the United Nations to help evacuate roughly 1.1 million residents from northern Gaza. See updates here.
Israeli military officials said yesterday they would seek to end the presence of Hamas in Gaza, likely portending a coming ground invasion into the territory. Israel previously mobilized 360,000 reservists and has begun amassing forces along the Gaza border. Experts say a ground assault into Gaza—140 square miles, with 2.3 million residents (see maps here and here)—is likely to result in a prolonged conflict. The death toll in Israel, primarily from Hamas' initial Saturday attack (warning—sensitive content), rose to 1,300, with around 3,000 others wounded. Officials say the death toll in Gaza stands near 1,400, with 6,200 injured, largely from intense Israeli airstrikes. One strike yesterday killed at least 45 people in a refugee camp, as Hamas called for international protests today. An estimated 150 hostages were taken by militants back to Gaza (including up to 50 foreigners, some believed to be Americans). Israel implemented a full lockdown of Gaza, halting the flow of food, fuel, water, and more, saying humanitarian aid would only be allowed upon their release. Reports of the brutality of the initial Hamas attack continued to emerge yesterday, including evidence of the intentional killing of children and teenagers. Many of the villages that bore the brunt of the assault were known as kibbutzim—communal living arrangements unique to Israel. Read more about their history and what their future may look like after the bloodshed. Finally, the US and Qatar froze $6B intended for Iran in a previous hostage exchange with the US over allegations Iran assisted Hamas in the weekend attack. See photos from the war here (warning—sensitive content).