Israel ramps up assault on Gaza as UN calls for truce

The resolution for a truce was put forth by Arab nations and received positive votes from over hundred countries.

Published : Oct 28, 2023 15:14 IST - 3 MINS READ

Israeli military struck Gaza with a heavy round of airstrikes after nightfall on Friday, as it announced that it was “expanding ground operations”.

Israeli military struck Gaza with a heavy round of airstrikes after nightfall on Friday, as it announced that it was “expanding ground operations”. | Photo Credit: Abed Khaled/AP Photo/picture alliance

The Israeli military says it has increased its strikes on Gaza “in a very significant way,” as Israel moves a step closer to a full ground offensive in Gaza. Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised address: “We will continue to strike in Gaza City and around.”

“In addition to the attacks carried out in the last few days, ground forces are expanding their operations tonight,” he added. The armed wing of Hamas said it responded with “salvos” of rockets aimed at Israel. It added in a statement on October 28 that their fighters were “completely ready” to confront Israel’s “aggression with full force.”

Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the US and EU among others. Hamas, which runs Gaza, said earlier that Israel had “cut communications and most of the internet” across the Gaza Strip.

Internet watchdog NetBlocks said late Friday that the last remaining major Palestinian telecommunications company, Paltel, reported as having highly disrupted communication lines. Paltel later said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “all telecommunication services including landline, mobile and internet” were severed as a result of Israeli bombardment.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it is “highly alarmed” by the reports of a communications blackout in Gaza. “A communications blackout is a news blackout,” CPJ said in a statement. “This can lead to consequences with an independent, factual information vacuum can be filled with deadly propaganda, dis-and misinformation.”

Also Read | ‘The root of the problem is the occupation’: Moussa Abu Marzouk

Egypt says securing airspace following border missile strikes

Egypt’s armed forces said it was securing the country’s airspace “on all strategic directions,” after a missile strike hit a medical facility in an Egyptian town near the Israeli border earlier on October 27.

Ongoing investigation reveals that two drones were coming from the south of the Red Sea to the north, the military said in a statement on social media. One was targeted outside of Egypt’s airspace in the Gulf of Aqaba, the military spokesperson said. Some of the wreckage from the drone fell into an uninhabited area in the resort city of Nuweiba in South Sinai. The other fell in Taba, the military said. Earlier media reports suggest six were injured in the latter strike.

“The Air Force and Air Defence Forces are intensifying the work of securing Egyptian airspace on all strategic directions of the country,” the statement added. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson said earlier on October 27 that the missile which hit Taba “was launched toward Israel by the Houthis,” the Yemeni rebel group supported by Iran.

Also Read | The Gaza crisis was a ticking time bomb

UN adopts resolution demanding truce, drawing Israeli backlash

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly adopted late on October 27 a non-binding resolution demanding an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” in Gaza. The resolution was put forth by Arab countries. One hundred and twenty countries voted in favour.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan sharply criticised the vote, telling the Assembly that those who voted in favour of the resolution were standing “in defence of Nazi terrorists” instead of supporting Israel.

“This ridiculous resolution has the audacity to call for truce. The goal of this resolution truce is that Israel should cease to defend itself to Hamas, so Hamas can light us on fire,” Erdan told the Assembly after the vote. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour told reporters after vote that it “sends the message to everyone enough is enough.”

“This war has to stop, the carnage against our people has to stop and humanitarian assistance should begin to enter the Gaza Strip,” Mansour said. Fourteen countries were against, including Israel and the United States. Forty-five countries abstained, including Germany.

A Canadian amendment to the resolution, backed by the US, failed to pass after garnering only 88 votes, less than the two-third majority needed. The amendment would have added a condemnation of the “terrorist attacks by Hamas... and the taking of hostages.” The amendment urges the immediate release of those hostages.

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