Mideast War, Day 5: Power Runs Out In Gaza, Egypt's Role Is Crucial As Siege Takes Effect
The U.S. is said to be in talks with Cairo about setting up a humanitarian corridor into Egypt for the Palestinian civilians fleeing Israeli airstrikes and shortages brought on by "complete siege" announced earlier this week. Also new brutal revelations of Hamas massacre of Israeli children.
Updated October 11, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.
Forty-eight hours after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a "complete siege" of Gaza, halting the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the Palestinian enclave, the humanitarian situation is already dire: locals are facing both shortages, and also Israel's ramping up of airstrikes.
Gaza's power plant, the only public source of electricity , has run out of fuel, head of the Gaza power authority Galal Ismail told CNN on Wednesday. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency said late Monday it has been forced to close all 14 of its food distribution centers in Gaza with about 80% of people in Gaza relying on humanitarian aid even before the latest attack on Saturday.
The focus now turns to Egypt, which borders Gaza to the south. Egypt is trying to avert a mass exodus from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula after Israeli bombardment halted crossings at the main exit point from the Palestinian enclave. The Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt — the only possible escape for the 2.3 million Palestinian residents — remained closed on Wednesday morning. The rest of the densely populated strip of land is surrounded by the sea, and by Israel.
According to Egyptian media Mada Masr , there are several key questions facing Egypt right now. The first involves the possibility of tens of thousands of refugees flowing out of Gaza, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on residents of the enclave to leave if they wanted to survive ahead of an expected ground invasion and continued air strikes. The second question concerns Egypt's ability to take a lead role in diplomatic mediation between Israel and the Hamas leaders in Gaza.
The U.S. has signaled efforts to broker a humanitarian corridor with Egypt for civilians fleeing Gaza, including American citizens. Cairo officials have indicated that they are willing for the Rafah crossing be opened to allow supplies to enter Gaza, rather than a mass exodus of civilians in the other direction who could wind up as refugees in Egypt.
A spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry said on X , formerly known as Twitter, that “Egypt is working every effort to contain the escalation, calm the situation, and facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”
Bombardment in the south of Lebanon
Hezbollah, a powerful Iranian-backed faction of Palastinians based in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for a ‘guided missile” attack against Israel on Wednesday according to French daily Le Monde . The group claimed to be acting in response to the “Zionist” attacks they believe to have killed three Hezbollah activists on Monday.
Fears have been rising since the start of the crisis that Hezbollah could enter the war against Israel, which would bring the conflict to a new front to Israel’s north and would undoubtedly exacerbate the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in the region.
Imminent ground offensive on Haaretz’s front page
Tel Aviv-based daily Haaretz lends its front page to counting down the hours toward the all-but-certain Israeli ground offensive, writing that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are “increasing attacks and preparing for a ground entry into Gaza.”
But as Pierre Haski reported for French radio station France Inter , a ground war in Gaza risks turning into a lose-lose situation: First, the human cost will be very high, both for Israeli soldiers and for Palestinian civilian populations; second, in case of a victory, a new Israeli occupation of Gaza would be in no one's interest.
‘Horrific scenes’ as dozens of bodies found in Israel’s Kfar Aza near Gaza
Dozens of bodies of Israeli civilians and Hamas fighters have been found among burned-out houses, scattered furniture and torched cars on the grounds of Kfar Aza in southern Israel, just off the fence with besieged Gaza. The Israeli military brought the press to the site on Tuesday, as the soldiers went from house to house to take away the dead.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career, never in 40 years of service this something I never imagined,” Maj. Gen. Itai Veruv told CNN on Tuesday, just a few hours after Israeli troops secured the kibbutz from Hamas assailants.
In Kfar Aza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was going house to house, collecting the dead in body bags and loading them onto a truck, they said that women, children, toddlers and elderly were “brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action.” Kfar Aza is one of the several kibbutzim, small farming enclaves, that suffered from the Hamas’ ground assault on Saturday.
The death toll now rises to 1,200 Israelis and 1,055 Palestinians.
Pope calls for immediate release of hostages
Pope Francis, at the end of his weekly general audience, called upon Hamas to release all hostages taken from Israel in the war so far, according to Italian daily La Stampa . “I demand that the hostages be released immediately” he declared. The pontiff also said that he is troubled by the siege being imposed upon the coastal Palestinian enclave. “I am very concerned about the total siege in which Palestinians live in Gaza, where there are also many innocent victims.”
Report: Israel targets Hamas leader Mohammad Deif, kills his father, brother and son
GAZA: Israeli airstrikes hit the home of relatives of Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif in Khan Younis.— Hamdah Salhut (@hamdahsalhut) October 11, 2023
The strike killed his brother, his son, and the brother’s granddaughter. pic.twitter.com/RNOaL328FF
According to Hebrew-language media citing Palestinian reports, Israeli airstrikes overnight targeted the home of relatives of Mohammad Deif, the leader of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, in Khan Younis, south of Gaza. The attack reportedly killed his father, his brother, his son and brother’s granddaughter and trapped an unknown number of other relatives in the rubble.
Also nicknamed "The Guest" (the literal translation of Arabic word 'Deif'), "the cat with nine lives", "Son of Death" and "Snake head", Mohammad Deif is the architect of Hamas's attack on Israel on Saturday. Arabic newspaper Majalla published a profile of this secretive figure.
Born Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri in the 1960s, he comes from a family of Palestinian refugees who settled in Khan Younis. He studied at the Islamic University of Gaza before joining Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and then Hamas, where he quickly became commander.
He supervised a number of military operations and is supposedly the mastermind behind the series of attacks in response to the assassination of Yahya Ayyash, one of Hamas’s main explosives experts and his mentor, by Israeli intelligence services in 1996.
Deif became head of al-Qassam Brigades in 2002. He survived five assassination attempts from Israel between 2001 and 2014. The latter targeted his home in Sheikh Radwan, a district of Gaza City, and killed his wife and two children. According to Hamas media, he was left heavily wounded. He would now be paralyzed, in a wheelchair, both his legs and an arm amputated.
More Iranian funds released, could be funneled to Hamas
A new report cites Iran's claim that European courts have ordered repayments of $1.7 billion more of its money frozen in Western banks, which risks being transferred to help fund Hamas' war with Israel.
On Tuesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied any direct Iranian involvement in the latest attack against Israel. Yet even if it played no direct role, Tehran is likely to want to support the Palestinian militants in the unfolding conflict against Israel.
Read more from Kayhan-London , translated from Farsi by Worldcrunch, about the $1.7 billion, and the recent $6 billion un-frozen in South Korea as part of a prisoner exchange with the U.S.
U.S. promises it can support both Israel and Ukraine at the same time
U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan announced on Wednesday that the United States could undoubtedly support Ukraine and Israel’s wars at the same time, according to Kyiv-based Ukrianian daily Kyiv Independant . The announcement pushes aside fears that the attack against Israel by Hamas would distract U.S. efforts away from Ukraine.
On Tuesday evening, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the first plane carrying U.S. armaments arrived at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel.
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