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Hamas Threatens Hostages Amid Escalating Gaza Crisis


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The Hamas movement has issued a chilling ultimatum, threatening to take the lives of Israeli hostages in retaliation for Israel’s bombardment of Palestinian homes without prior warning. This dire warning came amidst a backdrop of escalating violence, with Israel mobilizing approximately 300,000 reservists and imposing a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip, depriving its millions of residents of access to necessities such as food, water, and fuel.

The ominous message from Hamas was delivered on Monday, as the death toll surged to 900 in Israel due to a surprise weekend attack by the armed group. In response, Israeli forces launched retaliatory attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip, resulting in the loss of more than 700 lives and leaving around 3,700 others wounded.

Reports indicate that Israeli fighter jets, artillery, and drones targeted residential apartment blocks, hospitals, schools, and even a mosque, intensifying the humanitarian crisis in the region. The situation has prompted widespread condemnation and concerns over the safety and well-being of civilians caught in the crossfire.

Hamas spokesperson Abu Ubaida’s threat to Israeli hostages added a disturbing dimension to the already volatile situation. He asserted that for every Israeli bombing of a civilian residence without prior warning, an Israeli hostage held by Hamas would be sacrificed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen disclosed that more than 100 individuals had been taken captive by Hamas during the recent cross-border incursion. These developments underscore the gravity of the crisis and the pressing need for de-escalation and diplomatic intervention.

As tensions continue to mount, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant’s announcement of a total blockade on Gaza has drawn international condemnation. This blockade, which effectively cuts off access to electricity, food, water, and gas, has been met with deep distress from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He has warned that Gaza’s already dire humanitarian situation is poised to deteriorate exponentially, affecting the lives of millions.

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees) revealed that nearly 190,000 people have been displaced in Gaza due to the Israeli attacks, with this number expected to rise as the violence persists. Furthermore, almost half a million people have been unable to receive food rations this week, as UN food distribution centers have had to remain closed due to the ongoing Israeli onslaught.

Human Rights Watch has labeled Israel’s complete blockade on Gaza, particularly its impact on the basic needs of its residents, as a war crime. The organization strongly condemned Defense Minister Gallant’s statements and highlighted that depriving an occupied territory’s population of necessities such as food and electricity constitutes collective punishment, a violation of international law.

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, stressed that such actions should not go unnoticed by the International Criminal Court, as they amount to a call for war crimes. Shakir also denounced Hamas’s threat to kill hostages, warning that this too qualifies as a war crime, emphasizing the importance of the safe release of all hostages.

Read More: Unprecedented Palestinian Attack: Operation Al-Aqsa Flood

On the diplomatic front, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jointly called for an immediate end to violence and the protection of civilians. Meanwhile, international governments, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, issued a joint statement recognizing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and advocating for justice and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians.

As the world watches this escalating crisis with growing concern, the potential for further violence and regional instability looms large. The situation demands urgent international intervention and a collective commitment to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

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