Electricity, fuel and food will be cut off to the area, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has announced a blockade of Gaza amid intense fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas militants. It comes after the Palestinian group launched a massive assault against Israel on Saturday, killing and wounding hundreds of people.
“I have ordered a complete siege to the Gaza Strip,” Gallant said following an assessment meeting at the IDF Southern Command on Monday. “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” he added, as quoted by the Times of Israel.
“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” the minister reportedly added, apparently referring to the Hamas militants who have taken control of parts of Gaza.
Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, also stated on Monday that Israel had regained control of all towns on the Gaza border and that there is little to no fighting in the communities which were overrun by Hamas militants during the weekend’s assault.
“It is possible there are still terrorists in the area,” Hagari admitted, stating that clashes between the IDF and Hamas fighters have been “isolated.”
The spokesman added that IDF tanks and drones are currently controlling the openings in the border fence to prevent more infiltrations by Palestinian fighters and that 15 of the 24 border communities have already been evacuated.
Meanwhile, the IDF has said it is carrying out “widespread” airstrikes against a number of Hamas positions across Gaza.
The latest escalation between Hamas and Israel began early on Saturday, when the Palestinian resistance group launched a surprise attack on multiple locations along the Gaza border. Militants overran several military installations and infiltrated deep into Israeli territory, attacking multiple settlements and launching thousands of rockets. Israeli officials have estimated that more than 700 people have been killed in the Hamas assault and over 2,200 have been wounded.
In response, Israel has launched massive airstrikes on Gaza and is apparently preparing a ground operation against the Palestinian exclave. Troops have been redeployed en masse to the south of the country and a call-up of military reservists has been announced. Israel officially declared a state of war on Sunday, invoking Article 40 of its Basic Law.