'Be Ready': Israeli Defense Minister Tells Soldiers As Gaza Ground Offensive Looms
Gallant's call for readiness comes as Israel has amassed tens of thousands of troops along the Gaza border following a recent cross-border attack by Hamas militants on October 7.
TEL AVIV: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant delivered a passionate speech to infantry soldiers stationed on the Gaza border on Thursday, emphasizing the need to be prepared for a potential ground offensive. In his address, Gallant stated, "Whoever sees Gaza from afar now will see it from the inside... I promise you." He acknowledged that this would be a challenging campaign, with the timeline for action uncertain, saying, "It might take a week, a month, two months until we destroy Hamas."
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke to IDF soldiers during a visit to southern Israel. "We are going to win with all our strength!," the Israeli PM said. Gallant's call for readiness comes as Israel has amassed tens of thousands of troops along the Gaza border following a recent cross-border attack by Hamas militants on October 7.
Tragedy Strikes Gaza Again
Tragedy struck central Gaza City as the historic Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church compound became the target of an Israeli air attack on Thursday night. The devastating bombardment resulted in eight confirmed fatalities, with numerous others wounded.
Orthodox Church Condemns Attack
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemned the attack, considering it a war crime. They highlighted the targeting of churches and their shelters, which had been providing refuge for innocent citizens affected by Israeli air strikes.
On the international stage, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his support for Israel and Ukraine. He called for substantial aid packages for both nations while denouncing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the United States.
President Biden emphasized the importance of supporting Israel in its response to Hamas terror attacks and providing continued aid to Ukraine in defending itself against Russian aggression. He stressed that these actions are not only crucial for global security but also essential for US national security interests.
Gaza's Humanitarian Situation
Israel's agreement to allow the entry of food, water, and medicine offers a glimmer of hope for Gaza's residents who have been facing dire conditions. However, Gaza still awaits the arrival of humanitarian aid from Egypt to address its urgent needs. Many are down to one meal a day and drinking dirty water.
The situation in Gaza remains critical, with Israel blocking essential supplies of water, electricity, food, and fuel. With the Egypt-Gaza border crossing in Rafah still closed, the already dire conditions at Gaza’s second-largest hospital deteriorated further, warned Dr. Mohammed Qandeel of Nasser Hospital in the southern town of Khan Younis. Power has been cut in most departments to save it for intensive care and other vital functions, and staff members were using mobile phones for light.
The Gaza Health Ministry has pleaded with gas stations to give whatever fuel they had left to hospitals. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has given some of its last remaining fuel supplies to hospitals, spokesperson Juliette Touma said. More than 200 trucks and some 3,000 tons of aid are still positioned at or near Rafah, according to Khalid Zayed. the head of the Red Crescent for North Sinai.
The conflict has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with over 3,700 people killed in Gaza and more than 1,400 people killed in Israel. Over 1 million Palestinians, approximately half of Gaza's population, have fled their homes since the conflict began, seeking refuge in UN-run schools-turned-shelters or with relatives.