GAZA/JERUSALEM, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) — Israel’s cabinet declared a “state of war” on Sunday after a massive surprise attack launched by Hamas has so far killed at least 700 in Israel while retaliatory Israeli airstrikes killed at least 413 in Gaza.
The Israeli army continued its extensive airstrikes on targets in Gaza on Sunday as Hamas militants are fighting with Israeli soldiers on Israeli territories. Hamas militants remained in control of several communities in southern Israel on Sunday evening, as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers engaged in gunfights with them, the IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said.
Zaka, an Israeli rescue service, said in a statement that it has collected the remains of about 260 young women and men who were partying at the Nova festival, an outdoor music event in a rural farmland area near the Gaza-Israel fence. Many festival attendees were still missing on Sunday night.
Social media was flooded with people trying to locate their relatives and friends after Hamas militants raided the festival and other locations in the area as part of the massive surprise attack on Israel that included the firing of thousands of rockets.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday that the Pentagon is sending warships and fighter jets to the Eastern Mediterranean region in a show of support for Israel amid escalating conflicts between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters.
Austin said in a statement that he had directed the movement of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group, which consists of an aircraft carrier, a guided missile cruiser and four guided missile destroyers, to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Pentagon had also “taken steps to augment U.S. Air Force F-35, F-15, F-16 and A-10 fighter aircraft squadrons in the region,” the defense chief said. He added that the U.S. government “will be rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions.”
The UN Security Council on Sunday held emergency consultations behind closed doors following massive attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants in occupied Gaza. The council did not come up with any document after the consultations. Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Nations, said before the consultations that Israel’s impunity and international inaction are to blame for the current situation.
“Regrettably, history, for some media and politicians, starts when Israelis are killed,” he said in a statement.
“This is not a time to let Israel double down on its terrible choices. This is a time to tell Israel it needs to change course, that there is a path to peace where neither Palestinians nor Israelis are killed.”
Bangladesh has denounced the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestine and deplored the resultant loss of innocent civilian lives and the injury of victims, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday. In a statement, it said Bangladesh underlines that escalation of conflicts and violence benefits no party.
“We urge both Israeli and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint and calls for immediate ceasefire to avoid further loss of innocent lives from both sides,” said the statement.
It said Bangladesh holds that living under the Israeli occupation and forced settlements in Palestinian territory will not bring peace in the region.
“Therefore, Bangladesh supports a two-state solution, Palestine and Israel, living side by side as independent states free of occupation following UN (Security Council) Resolutions No. 242 and 338, which could bring lasting peace and stability in the region,” the statement added.