JERUSALEM and TEL AVIV, Israel – Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued to pummel southern Israel on Wednesday, day 5 of the Israel-Hamas war.
Meanwhile, Israel says it struck at least 450 Hamas targets in Gaza in the last 24 hours, while Israeli ground forces mass on the border for an imminent invasion.
The death toll in Israel continues to climb – more than 1,200 civilians dead, 170 soldiers slain, and more than 3,500 Israelis wounded. Forty murdered Israeli babies were found among the massacred civilians, and some of those babies had been beheaded.
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The health ministry in Gaza says some 1,055 people have been killed and 5,000 injured during Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Hamas in the sealed coastal enclave.
IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus warned in a video posted on X early Wednesday morning that the fighting will intensify and that he hopes the international community will continue supporting Israel as the war rages on.
An Israeli mobile artillery unit fired a shell from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position near the Israel-Gaza border, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Erik Marmor)
“We hope that remains that way even when the fighting will intensify and the scenes coming out of the Gaza Strip will be more difficult to understand and cope with,” Conricus said.
Gaza residents are expected to face a power blackout in the coming hours as hospitals reach capacity and run out of supplies.
‘It’s Not a War… It’s a Massacre’
In the Israeli community of Kfar Aza, soldiers discovered what’s been described as a “massacre.”
Maj. Gen. Itai Veruv, who led the three-day campaign to retake Kfar Aza after Hamas militants invaded, said, “You see the babies, the mothers, the fathers in their bedrooms, in their protection rooms, and how the terrorists killed them. It’s not a war, it’s not a battlefield. It’s a massacre. It’s a terror activity.”
Maj. Doron Spielman, Israel Defense Forces spokesman, added, “Who could do this? They must have shed their humanity, and what is left is something inhuman. To see baby carriages with bullet holes and blood? Who goes up to a baby and kills a baby? Who kills a mother? I see the bodies in their homes.”
IDF spokesman Maj. Doron Spielman says proportionally, it would be like 25,000 people dying in America.
“Killed in cold blood, but it’s the same rage: ISIS, Al-Qaida, and Hamas,” said Spielman. “It’s this absolute disregard for human life. And I know for our soldiers and for our people, the mothers and fathers like myself, we have to see this because the road ahead is going to be very difficult. And if we do not take that road, this would happen again.”
The Fate of Hostages Remain Unknown
One of the most horrifying elements of this war has been the capture of Israeli citizens who were taken by Hamas into the Gaza Strip, and their fate is unknown. Some of them are Americans.
Jonathan Dekel-Chen, an American, revealed the horror he endured Saturday when Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel.
“So, at 6:30 in the morning, Hamas terrorists began rampaging through the kibbutz,” Dekel-Chen said. “Those people that they saw outside, the early risers, were murdered on the spot. Those people who managed to get into their bomb shelters, which are not bulletproof, had better chances of survival.”
Jonathan Dekel-Chen’s son Sagui, also an American citizen, is missing after he and others went to defend their community Nir Oz.
“What we would like is maximum effort to at least be able to tell us what befell our loved ones by any means possible. The United States government in all of its agencies has friends in the world that Israel does not have,” said Dekel-Chen.
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A Multi-Front War Imminent?
In the north, there are concerns of a second front opening up.
Israel launched strikes on Lebanese territory on Wednesday after Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group based in Lebanon, fired anti-tank missiles across the border at Israeli troops.
Hezbollah and Israel have sporadically exchanged fire since Hamas began its massacre on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the IDF said it carried out artillery strikes in Syria after mortars were launched into northern Israel. A Syrian official told the Wall Street Journal the mortars were launched by Iranian-backed militias located near the Golan Heights.
American Aid Arrives
The first batch of American weapons arrived in Israel Wednesday and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive on Thursday to discuss Israel’s military needs and hostage negotiations with Israeli officials.
He is also expected to warn Hamas’ regional allies not to join the war.
On Tuesday, Biden also announced the U.S. is rushing military assistance to Israel including ammunition and interceptors to help the Iron Dome.
The president also said he’s instructed his team to share intelligence with Israel as they work together to safely bring home all the hostages.