Why was Israel attacked? Hamas says to ‘change the equation’; How the deal to release 50 hostages backtracked: Updates
The Israel-Hamas war has drawn international attention in the West Asian region. The US has repeatedly warned against ‘reoccupation’ of Gaza by Israel.
The grave destruction caused after the surprise attack by Hamas militants on October 7 is what the senior leadership of the Islamic group of Gaza believe a necessary cost of a great achievement. The reason why the Hamas unleashed the horror on Israel, in which a number of militants rampaged through the southern borders and killed nearly 1,400 Israelis and dragged almost 240 others back to Gaza, is because they wanted to ‘change the entire equation and not just have a clash’.
“We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm,” Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas' top leadership, told The New York Times.
Another Hamas official even hoped that ‘the state of war with Israel will become permanent on all the border’ expecting that the Arab nations will stand with their cause.
Meanwhile, the US daily reported that a deal to release at least 50 hostages from Hamas' captivity was on the verge of closing which was eventually blown off with the ground offensive in Gaza carried out by the Israeli military. The report comes in the backdrop of Israel repeatedly turning down international calls for ‘haumanitarian pauses’ and cease-fire demanding the release of hostages.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, the retaliatory Israeli military campaign has killed more than 10,500 people, many of them children.
- The US has pushed back against Isreli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposition of holding security responsibility in Gaza after it achieves the target of eradicating Hamas. Top US official Anthony Blinken warned against the ‘reoccupation’ of Gaza and said the Palestinians should govern the enclave. "No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza…It must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority," he said.
- Clashes took place within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of the territory's largest hospital, Shifa, which has become a focal point in the war. The Israeli military says Hamas’ main command center is located in and under the hospital complex and that senior leaders of the group are hiding there, using the facility as a shield.
- Over 70% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have already left their homes since the war began but the number fleeing the north has dramatically accelerated. Throngs of people filled Salah al-Din Street, Gaza’s main highway leading south. They appeared to be in greater numbers than Tuesday, when the U.N. said about 15,000 people streamed southward -- which in turn was triple the number the day before.
- The surge in conflict in the West Asian region gave Russia and China way to intervene in the area and alter the geopolitical dynamics. Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Kazakhstan on Thursday, while Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi are expected in Uzbekistan, amid renewed diplomatic interest in the region. More than 1,000 kilometres south, a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation will be held in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. The city will host the Iranian and Turkish presidents, as well as Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Central Asian leaders.
- France's President Emmanuel Macron will on Thursday host a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza although Israel, which has been bombarding the territory since an October 7 attack by Hamas, will be absent. All governments nevertheless have "an interest in the humanitarian situation improving in Gaza, including Israel", a Macron aide told reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the gathering.