Israel intensifies attacks on Gaza in response to Hamas offensive

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Israel continued to intensively bombard the besieged Gaza Strip this Wednesday, partly transformed into a field of ruins, in response to the offensive of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in a war that has already caused thousands of deaths.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Hamas' surprise offensive, launched on Saturday, "a savagery not seen since the Holocaust" perpetrated by Nazism, and promised that his country "will win through force."

The Hamas attack left more than 1,200 dead on Israeli soil, including 169 soldiers, according to the army, as well as hundreds of civilians massacred by the Islamists in agricultural cooperatives and at a party held on Saturday.

Dozens of people are also listed as missing or held hostage by Hamas.

Israel responded by bombing the impoverished and overpopulated Palestinian enclave on Saturday, mobilizing 300,000 reservists and deploying tens of thousands of soldiers around Gaza and on the northern border with Lebanon, where this Wednesday it crossed fire again with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement, an ally. of Hamas.

At least 1,055 people were killed and 5,184 injured in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities. Hamas said it lost two senior officials in Israeli operations.

"We are trapped, we don't know where to go and we can't stay because our apartment is covered in broken glass and shrapnel," Mohammed Mazen, a 38-year-old Gazan father of three, told AFP.

In the hospitals, the situation is catastrophic, and the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City is full of wounded people. "Some die before" being treated, says a doctor.

The UN stated that the total siege of the Strip, where more than 260,000 people had to leave their homes, is "prohibited" by international humanitarian law.

– Fears for hostages –

The Strip, where 2.3 million Palestinians live, is under siege by Israel, which has cut off water, electricity and food supplies.

Early Wednesday, at least 30 people died in the enclave in Israeli bombings, which affected residential buildings, factories, mosques and shops, according to Hamas, which governs the territory.

According to the Israeli army, several targets of the Islamist movement were hit.

Israeli warplanes also bombed the Islamic University, linked to Hamas, and demolished several buildings, according to an AFP correspondent.

Israel announced on Tuesday that it had regained control of its border with the Gaza Strip, after days of fighting with Islamists.

The Hamas offensive sparked multiple international condemnations, as well as concern about an Israeli ground assault on Gaza.

Pope Francis called for the "immediate" release of the hostages captured in Israel by Hamas, and said he was "very concerned" about the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip, "where there are also many innocent victims."

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