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The Israeli military said that through its ground operations in the Gaza Strip, it has targeted several Hamas operatives and positions, including over 150 underground tunnels and bunkers.

israel gaza hamas war top points october 29
Israel continued their ground offensive in the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday (October 28), aimed at destroying Hamas’s operation

Israeli forces continued pounding the Gaza Strip throughout Saturday even as Israel’s deadly conflict with the Palestinian terrorist group – Hamas – entered the 23rd day. The Israeli military said that through ground operations, it has targeted several Hamas operatives and positions, including over 150 underground tunnels and bunkers, The Times of Israel reported.

 

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has also warned north Gaza residents, calling the region to be a “battlefield” as it increased its air campaign against Hamas terrorists in the Palestinian territory.

Here are the latest developments of the Israel-Hamas war:

1. At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his forces have unleashed the “second phase” of the war against Hamas in Gaza as he vowed to eliminate the enemy “above ground and below ground”. Calling the war with Hamas, Israel’s fight for survival, the Prime Minister said that the second stage of ground operation in Gaza would be a “long and hard” campaign. “We now face that test and I have no doubt how it will end: We will be the victors. We will do and we will be the victors,” he added at the presser.

2. Netanyahu also said that Israel will utilise “every opportunity” to return the hostages to their “families’ embrace”. He called the kidnapping of Israelis and other nationals a “crime against humanity” and also called the IDF a “moral army”, noting that it does not “harm non-combatants”. The Israeli Prime Minister reiterated calls for north Gaza residents to head south of the region.

3. Hamas’s health ministry in Gaza said on Sunday that the death toll in the strife-torn region has exceeded 8,000 since Israel’s retaliatory offensive commenced there. Meanwhile, the death toll in Israel due to Hamas’s surprise and unprecedented attack on October 7 stands at 1,400.

4. Israel has announced recalling its diplomatic staff from Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the Israeli retaliation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. At a rally and in an hour-long speech, Erdogan called Israel a “war criminal” and an “occupier”, while reiterating that Hamas is not a terrorist organisation.

The Turkish President also criticised Western countries’ “unconditional support” for Israel. This development is a jolt to the ongoing efforts to amend political and economic ties between the countries after only agreeing to reappoint envoys in 2022. Israel and Turkey were also resuming discussions on a US-supported natural gas pipeline project, which could have laid the foundation for a much closer and more lasting relation in the coming years, AFP reported.

5. Several families of the Israelis who are held captive in Gaza by Hamas feel that the ongoing military campaign in the region would put their loved ones’ lives at risk. Hundreds of the hostages’ relatives took to Tel Aviv streets on Saturday, threatening to stage protests if a government minister failed to meet them. Netanyahu’s assurance of using every option to bring back the hostages came after he met with the relatives at a hastily arranged meeting.

6. Gaza’s residents remained in near-complete communications and internal blackout on Saturday as Israeli warplanes dropped bombs on the region and its military forces continued their ground offensive, announcing an expansion of the same. However, according to a latest update by Reuters, citing Palestinian media, services are gradually being restored in the Gaza Strip.

7. Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri met with the Speaker of Lebanon’s Parliament Nabih Berri, who is also a Hezbollah ally, in Beirut on Saturday. The Hamas leader was accompanied by other members of the terrorist group, The Times of Israel reported. They discussed the ongoing war with Israel and the need to allow humanitarian convoys into Gaza. Berri, as per The Times of Israel report, congratulated Hamas for their October 7 attack against Israel.

8. Massive pro-Palestinian protests erupted on Saturday in the West Bank, and several Muslim and European countries in solidarity with the residents in the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, many protestors waved Hamas flags along with banners representing a range of Palestinian factions. Similar stirs were reported from Jordan and Iraq as well, with protestors in the first nation carrying ‘partners in crime’ placards showing Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Joe Biden as “war criminals”, The Times of Israel and AFP reported.

Protests were held in Paris, France as well, with hundreds being encircled by police for defying a ban on pro-Palestinian agitation. Similar demonstrations took place in London, Norway, Italy and Switzerland as well. New York City’s Grand Central Station on Saturday night saw several wearing black tees saying ‘Jews say ceasefire now’ and ‘Not in our name’. Similar stirs happened in the Asian nations of Indonesia and Pakistan as well.

9. Qatar-led negotiations between Israel and Hamas continued on Saturday, Reuters reported, citing a source. Talks have not faded away, but are happening at a “much slower pace” than before the recent escalation on Friday evening. Qatar’s role as a mediator led to the release of four hostages by Hamas, which include an American mother-daughter duo, and two Israeli grandmothers.

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