Israel Imposes ‘Complete Siege’ on Gaza Amid Escalating Conflict

Israel Imposes 'Complete Siege' on Gaza Amid Escalating Conflict
Military vehicles deployed at Gaza border in Sderot ( Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency )

Tensions have reached a boiling point as Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant orders a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip amidst escalating conflict. This move comes in the wake of an unprecedented incursion from Hamas fighters into southern Israeli towns.

Siege Details and Repercussions

Israeli authorities are to cut off essential supplies to the Gaza Strip, including electricity, water, food, and fuel. This decision has been met with alarm by global humanitarian organizations due to Gaza’s overcrowded population of 2.3 million people.

“We are putting a complete siege on Gaza… No electricity, no food, no water, no gas — it’s all closed,” Gallant announced in a poignant video message. Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz further echoed this sentiment, stating, “What was in the past, will no longer be in the future,” signaling a major shift in policy.

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Palestinians inspect damages in the aftermath of Israeli strikes at Beach refugee camp in Gaza City on Oct. 9, 2023. (Reuters)

Ground Zero: A High Human Cost

The conflict has claimed a heavy toll on both sides. More than 700 Israelis have been reportedly killed, with Israeli forces describing it as “the worst massacre of innocent civilians in Israel’s history.” This was followed by the chilling account of an estimated 250 people killed by Hamas gunmen at a music festival near Kibbutz Reim, close to Gaza.

Gaza has not been spared either, with at least 493 confirmed dead after a series of Israeli airstrikes. In total, nearly 1,200 lives have been lost since the conflict’s inception, making it the deadliest raid into Israeli territory since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

“We are fighting animals and are acting accordingly,” Gallant remarked, reflecting the heightened emotions and the grave nature of the situation.

Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer toward targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on May 12, 2021. (AFP)

Ongoing Battles and Military Maneuvers

Following the infiltration by Hamas, Israeli forces have reported success in retaking control of the communities that were overrun. The Israeli military continues to engage Hamas in “seven to eight” locations in southern Israel, despite reduced fighting in border towns. Moreover, the Israeli Defence Forces recently revealed that 70 additional militants had made their way into Be’eri kibbutz overnight.

On the other hand, Palestinian militants show no signs of retreat, firing rockets towards southern Israeli cities and claiming to hold over 130 captives from the Israeli side.

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Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

A Global Eye on the Crisis

As both sides remain entrenched in the conflict, the international community watches closely, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities. With the recent draft of over 300,000 reservists, the largest in Israel’s history, and the increasing number of civilian casualties, the urgency for peace has never been more pronounced.