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Death Toll in Gaza and Israel Tops 1,300 as Israel Declares War on Hamas Following Surprise Attack

HeadlineOct 09, 2023

The death toll across Israel and Gaza has topped 1,300 as the bloody conflict stretches into its third day. Israel today announced a “total” blockade on Gaza, including food, water, electricity and fuel. On Sunday, Israel declared war on Hamas after Hamas fighters launched a surprise coordinated attack in Israel Saturday. Among the targets was a music festival, where Hamas gunmen killed some 260 mainly young people. Israel responded by pounding the Gaza Strip with airstrikes, which hit housing blocks, tunnels and a mosque. Over 800 people have been killed in Israel, over 500 in Gaza. Thousands more have been injured on both sides of the separation barrier. Hamas says it has taken over 100 hostages, including civilians and Israeli army officers. The Israeli prime minister has told Gazans to leave — though it’s unclear where they would be able to go — vowing to all but decimate the besieged territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “All of the places where Hamas are deployed, hiding and operating in, that wicked city, we will turn it into an island of ruins. I am telling Gaza’s people to leave those places now, because we will take action everywhere.”

Over 120,000 people in Gaza have already been displaced from the Israeli attacks. Sixty-five-year-old Saber Abu Hilal, who lost his home in an airstrike, says he refused to be uprooted.

Saber Abu Hilal: “I am not the only one left out on the street. There are 17 other families in this area made homeless following this barbaric strike, which killed around 17 or 18 people. Several families are on the street and left without refuge. This is not the first displacement, and it’s as if they are displacing the Palestinian people every now and then on purpose. There was the 1948 migration, and it was followed by similar waves of people leaving the country. Our children are also migrating. And now they are destroying homes over the heads of residents while they sleep, without any warning or reason, with the aim to displace and destroy and to uproot them from this land. However, we refuse to be uprooted. We have firm roots in this land.”

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