The death toll continues to climb, with devastating consequences on both sides of the battle. This grim turn of events comes four days after the unexpected assault on Israel by the Hamas militant group from Gaza, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a state of war.
Amidst this crisis, President Joe Biden condemned the attack as “an act of sheer evil,” revealing that over 1,000 civilians, including at least 14 Americans, had lost their lives in Israel. Furthermore, American citizens found themselves among those held captive by Hamas, the long-designated terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip.
From the White House, President Biden described the horrors faced by the people of Israel, decrying the “pure, unadulterated evil” perpetrated by Hamas. He recounted tragic accounts of parents sacrificing themselves to shield their children, infants falling victim to violence, entire families wiped out, and young people massacred while attending a peaceful musical festival. Disturbing reports of women being subjected to assault and degradation also emerged.
In response to the crisis, President Biden reiterated unwavering support for Israel, promising to provide the necessary resources to protect its citizens and address this unprecedented attack. He firmly denounced terrorism, emphasizing that there is no justification or excuse for such acts.
The toll in Israel includes over 2,500 reported wounded, with more than 250 fatalities among attendees of the Supernova music festival near the Gaza border, where militants opened fire on the crowd. Israeli authorities report that Hamas fighters have taken over 100 hostages, including women, children, and the elderly, who are believed to be held in Gaza. Concerns remain about the fate of missing American citizens.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip has borne the brunt of Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes, with at least 765 casualties according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Among the victims, 140 children have lost their lives, and 4,000 others have suffered injuries.
This coordinated and multi-front attack on Israel, launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, has brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a perilous point. Occurring nearly 50 years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, it represents a stark and ominous escalation in this longstanding conflict.