Israeli-Palestinian conflict: counteroffensive continues after hitting 'more than 500 targets', over 1,100 dead
The Israeli army continued to fight militants infiltrating southern Israel around Gaza on Monday morning after hitting "more than 500 targets" of Hamas, which is in power in the Palestinian enclave, and Islamic Jihad overnight. Meanwhile, several UN Security Council countries have condemned the offensive by Hamas.
"We are still fighting, there are seven or eight open areas around [the Gaza Strip] where we still have warriors fighting terrorists," Israeli lieutenant-colonel Richard Hecht told reporters. "We thought that yesterday we would have total control of the situation. I hope that will be the case at the end of the day on Monday."
During the night, "fighter jets, helicopters, aircraft and artillery struck more than 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets", the army said in a statement. The airstrikes continued into the early morning. An AFP journalist reported seeing thick clouds of smoke rising over Gaza City.
The Israeli army is trying to regain control from Hamas fighters on the third day of clashes that have left more than 1,100 people dead - more than 700 Israelis, according to a report published on Monday, and 413 Palestinians, according to local authorities.
'Heinous terrorist acts'
Several UN Security Council members have condemned the offensive by Hamas. On Sunday, the council held an emergency meeting on the flare-up of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Before the meeting, the US had called on members to strongly condemn Hamas's "heinous terrorist acts" "against the Israeli people and its government".
"There are a good number of countries that condemned the Hamas attacks but obviously not everyone"
"There are a good number of countries that condemned the Hamas attacks, but obviously not everyone," US deputy ambassador Robert Woods said, indirectly referring to countries including Russia. According to diplomats, no country has put a proposed joint statement on the table.
Iran on Monday denied involvement in Hamas's attack, despite saying "the Palestinians' determined steps are a perfectly legitimate defence against 70 years of occupation and terrible crimes of the illegitimate Zionist regime".
A neighbourhood damaged by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City's Shati refugee camp, early on 9 October 2023 © PHOTO MAHMUD HAMS / AFP