Israeli forces launched a campaign to regain control of the desert areas around the Gaza Strip and evacuate residents from the embattled border region. The death toll in the conflict with Hamas has now exceeded 1,100, and the situation remains highly volatile.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “long and difficult” conflict as Hamas launched a surprise assault from Gaza, firing rockets and sending fighters who took hostages and targeted civilians. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported over 700 Israeli casualties, marking some of the worst losses since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
In Gaza, officials reported at least 413 people killed, and the enclave, home to 2.3 million people, faced relentless Israeli airstrikes. Concerns of a potential ground invasion loomed as tens of thousands of Israeli forces were deployed to confront Hamas fighters in the south, where civilian casualties were mounting.
This conflict has had global ramifications, with several countries reporting their nationals killed, abducted, or missing. The impact on oil prices has also been significant, with a more than four percent increase raising concerns about potential supply disruptions.
In response to the escalating violence, President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of US ships and warplanes closer to Israel, along with sending additional military aid. The Pentagon announced the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and its accompanying warships to the eastern Mediterranean, while boosting fighter aircraft squadrons in the region.
The US has reaffirmed its support for Israel, expressing condolences for American citizens killed in the violence. Biden and Netanyahu discussed efforts to prevent further destabilization and reiterated their commitment to Israel’s security. However, Hamas accused the US of participating in the aggression by moving the aircraft carrier, further complicating the situation. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced the deployment of forces to enhance regional deterrence efforts.