The Palestinian armed group Hamas launched a surprise missile attack on Israeli territory on Saturday (October 8) morning. The attack caused extensive damage to various places, including the Israeli temporary establishment. As a result of this attack, Israel declared war and launched a counterattack on Palestine. Gaza, in particular, has been subjected to continuous airstrikes, with Israeli military planes launching one assault after another. The Israeli military has also instructed residents of seven Gaza districts to evacuate their homes and seek shelter in designated safe areas. Even a 14-story building in Gaza, which houses Hamas offices, has been targeted in the airstrikes.
Journalists on the ground report that several dozen families have left their homes to take refuge in United Nations-run schools. Despite calls for restraint and appeals for a ceasefire from global leaders, many observers fear that a major escalation of hostilities may be underway. Over 230 Gazans have been killed so far, with more than a thousand injured.
Al Jazeera reports that Gazans are spending their nights in darkness and uncertainty because Israel has cut off the electricity supply in the region. Amid this darkness, Israel has unleashed intense bombardments. Journalist Rafik in Gaza describes a terrifying experience. He says, “My wife was with me. She was trembling with fear, tears in her eyes. She kept trembling as we hid in the stairwell. But we all tried to comfort each other.”
The outside of journalist Rafiq’s house was a shambles by then. Old buildings were collapsing. Dust and smoke were blowing in the air. One by one there were explosions and Rafiq and his family were shaking. They were shaking with the sound of warplanes.
Rafik states, “All day long, we spoke on the phone, conveying news to relatives, friends, and neighbors who were desperately searching for information. Even strangers were comforting each other.” However, he admits that despite his courage, both he and his family were physically and mentally exhausted after a day of intense conflict.
In the midst of fear and destruction, Gaza residents find unity and resilience as their only source of hope. They firmly believe that by standing together and resisting Israeli incursions, they can protect their fellow Palestinians. This unity and determination are what Gazans see as their strength in facing the ongoing conflict.
On the other side, Salah al-Aruri, Deputy Chief of Hamas’s Political Bureau, told Al Jazeera that Hamas has captured a substantial number of Israeli soldiers and civilians, holding them as prisoners. Hamas holds Israeli civilians and military personnel hostage as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody.
Jerusalem Post’s military analyst, Yonah Jeremy Bob, suggests that Israel will demonstrate its overwhelming military capabilities in the coming days. He believes that Israel will be capable of neutralizing the Hamas military force in Gaza.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with residents enduring fear and uncertainty as violence escalates. The hope for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to elude the people of Gaza.
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