On Monday, Hamas threatened to start executing hostages if Israel carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip without prior warning to residents.
The armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam brigades, has announced it will “begin executing an Israeli civilian captive in return for any new Israeli bombing of civilian houses without pre-warning.”
Hamas taking a family hostage. pic.twitter.com/Ru5Nhbj0dK
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 10, 2023
In a post on Telegram, Al Qassam spokesman Abu Obaida blamed the move on “Israel’s stepped-up bombing and killing of children, women, and the elderly inside their homes.”
He added that “the ball is in…Israel’s] court from now on.”
Palestinian militants abducted more than a hundred people during a surprise multi-front attack in which they killed more than seven hundred, making Saturday the deadliest day in Israel’s history. On Monday, Israeli media said the death toll had climbed to nine hundred.
The Times of Israel reported that officers are preparing to inform a hundred families that their loved ones have been taken hostage by Hamas and are being held in Gaza.
Citing the Israeli Army radio, The Times of Israel reported that “the Israel Defence Force is sending out officers today to inform over 100 Israeli families that their relatives are being held in Gaza by Hamas”.
It adds that “UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan [told] CNN that Israel estimates ‘that the number is between 100-150 people.'”
Israel orders complete seize of Gaza
Meanwhile, Israel ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip on Monday as it retaliated for the largest and deadliest incursion in decades into its territory.
The Israel Defence Forces have announced that more than two hundred targets were struck overnight in Gaza.
“In recent hours, IDF warplanes and vessels have attacked many targets of the terrorist organizations throughout the Gaza Strip,” it was said in a post in X, accompanied by a video showing buildings being destroyed. “Dozens of fighter jets attacked over 200 targets throughout the Rimal neighborhood and Khan Yunis during the night.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of Israel said “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” would be allowed into Gaza, the crowded and impoverished coastal territory that is already under a sixteen-year blockade by Israel and Egypt.
Israeli warplanes struck hundreds of sites in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group Hamas, including mosques and a marketplace, while Israeli troops battled to regain control of towns overrun on Saturday by Hamas gunmen.
The US has already begun delivering critical munitions and military equipment to Israel, the White House said on Monday, as the Pentagon reviews its inventories to see what else can be sent to quickly boost its ally in the three-day-old war with Hamas.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, confirmed on Monday evening that the first batch of military aid in the wake of the violent assault by Hamas militants is “making its way” to Israel.
The delivery came as President Joe Biden confirmed that at least eleven Americans were killed in the violence over the weekend.