Israel Takes Over 1,000 Hostages In Gaza, Steps Up Strikes: 10 Points

Around 19,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials.

New Delhi: Israeli forces have taken more than 1,000 people captive in the war against Hamas in Gaza, Israel’s military chief said on Sunday. The IDF chief said that when combatants “lay down their arms, raise their hands, we arrest them, we don’t shoot them.”

Here are 10 points on this big story:

  1. Israel’s army said on Sunday it had found a vast Hamas tunnel as it pressed its offensive in Gaza despite growing international calls for a ceasefire and pleas from relatives to bring home the remaining hostages. 

  2. The biggest Hamas tunnel so far was found near the border crossing at Erez — large enough for small vehicles to use, an AFP photographer reported. Israel said the tunnel cost millions of dollars and took years to construct, featuring rails, electricity, drainage and a communications network.

  3. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will fight until the end. We will achieve all of our aims” — eliminating Hamas, freeing all hostages and ensuring that Gaza will not again become “a centre for terrorism.”

  4. Two Egyptian security sources told Reuters on Sunday that Israel and Hamas are both open to a renewed ceasefire and hostage release, although disagreements remain on how it would be implemented.

  5. Israel opened a direct crossing for aid into Gaza for the first time in its more than two-month-old war on Hamas on Sunday but also stepped up attacks on the Palestinian enclave, saying military pressure was the only way its hostages would be freed.

  6. Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza killed 90 Palestinians on Sunday, Gaza’s health ministry spokesman told Reuters. There was no immediate Israeli response. Another missile attack on a house belonging to the Shehab family killed 24 people, Hamas Aqsa radio said.

  7. The accidental killing of three of the hostages on Friday by Israeli forces has increased pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu to secure the release of the others, but Hamas has said it will not negotiate any exchange “unless the aggression against our people stops once and for all”.

  8. Israeli air strikes against targets near Syria’s Damascus wounded two Syrian soldiers on Sunday, the Syrian defence ministry said in a statement carried by state media. A British-based war monitor said Israeli aircraft struck Syrian “regime anti-aircraft defences as well as positions of (Lebanon’s Iran-backed) Hezbollah near Sayyida Zeinab” district south of the capital.

  9. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan asked his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a call on Sunday for Washington to use its influence over Israel to halt Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters.

  10. Around 19,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials, since Oct. 7 when Hamas operatives killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities, and captured 240 hostages in their surprise raid.

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