(iexclusivenews) – The conflict between Israel and Hamas has reached a new level of intensity, as both sides exchange heavy fire and casualties mount.
The violence has also spread to other parts of the region, involving Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Here is a summary of the main events and developments in the ongoing war.
Hamas Launches Surprise Attack on Israel
On Monday, October 2, 2023, Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, launched a surprise attack on Israel, firing hundreds of rockets and missiles at several targets across southern Israel.
The attack was dubbed “Operation Breaking the Siege”, and was aimed at breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza and avenging the recent Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
The Israeli military said it intercepted most of the rockets, but some hit residential areas, causing damage and injuries.
Israel also said it detected an attempt by Hamas to infiltrate its territory through a tunnel under the border fence, and thwarted it with airstrikes.
Israel Declares State of War and Strikes Back
In response to Hamas’s attack, Israel declared a state of war and launched a massive aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza.
Targeting Hamas’s military infrastructure, command centers, weapons depots, rocket launchers, and tunnels.
Israel also said it targeted several senior Hamas leaders, including its chief Yahya Sinwar.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the strikes until Hamas is “eliminated” and Gaza is turned into a “deserted island”.
He also warned that Israel is prepared to launch a ground invasion of Gaza if necessary.
Hezbollah Joins the Fray from Lebanon
On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militant group that is allied with Hamas and Iran, claimed responsibility for firing several mortar shells from Lebanon into the occupied Shebaa Farms area near the border with Israel.
Hezbollah said it was a “message of solidarity” with the Palestinian resistance and a “warning” to Israel not to expand its aggression.
Israel said it responded with artillery fire at the source of the attack, and accused Iran of orchestrating the escalation.
They also said it holds Lebanon responsible for any attacks from its territory, and warned that it will not tolerate any violations of its sovereignty.
Palestinians Rise Up in Jerusalem and West Bank
The war between Israel and Hamas has also sparked a wave of protests and clashes in the occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank, where Palestinians have expressed their anger and frustration over the Israeli oppression and violence.
The protests have been met with brutal force by the Israeli police and army, who have used tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and live ammunition to disperse the crowds.
The tensions in Jerusalem have been high since April, when Israeli settlers launched a campaign to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
The situation worsened in May, when Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, during Ramadan prayers, injuring hundreds of worshippers.
Death Toll Rises as Attacks Continue
The war between Israel and Hamas has entered its seventh day, with no signs of de-escalation or ceasefire.
The attacks have continued to pound Gaza and southern Israel, causing widespread destruction and suffering.
According to health officials in Gaza, at least 413 Palestinians have been killed so far, including 103 children and 83 women.
More than 2,500 others have been wounded. The officials also said that more than 17,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and that more than 200,000 people have been displaced.
According to media reports in Israel, more than 700 Israelis have been killed so far, including 12 children and 18 women.
More than 4,000 others have been injured. The reports also said that more than 3,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed.
The international community has expressed its concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and called for an immediate end to the hostilities.
The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
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