Lebanese Hezbollah claims a mortar and missile attack on Israeli territory. Israeli army says it has killed more than 400 militiamen and fighting continues in Israel where the fatalities amount to 700

Mohammed VI convenes urgent Arab League meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian war

PHOTO/FILE - Mohammed VI

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the country currently holding the presidency of the Arab League Council, called on Sunday an "urgent" meeting of the body this week to coordinate following the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East after the attack perpetrated yesterday Saturday from Gaza by the Islamist group Hamas against Israel.

The monarch convened a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to "coordinate and coordinate following the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and the unleashing of military actions against civilians and to find ways to curb this serious escalation," reads a statement from the Moroccan Foreign Ministry. The same source adds that there are "intense discussions" currently underway to hold this meeting this week at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. 

PHOTO/MAP - Mohamed VI preside una reunión de trabajo dedicada a la activación del programa de emergencia para el realojo de las víctimas del terremoto en el Palacio Real de Rabat
PHOTO/MAP - Mohammed VI, king of Morocco

Lebanese Hezbollah claims mortar and missile attack on Israeli territory

The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah today claimed a mortar and guided missile attack on three positions in Israeli territory, in the first action from Lebanon in the war between Israel and Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip. "Groups of martyred commander Imad Mughniyeh attacked three positions of the Zionist occupation in the Chebaa Farms (controlled by Israel but disputed by Lebanon and Syria). 

The attack targeted the positions of Radar, Zeyden and Ruisat al Alam with a large number of shells and guided missiles," according to a statement broadcast by Al Manar television, which acts as Hezbollah's mouthpiece. In the note, the group claimed that the launching of these attacks was carried out on the "road to the liberation of what is left of our occupied Lebanese land, and in solidarity with the victorious Palestinian resistance and the fighting and patient Palestinian people." Following Hezbollah's action, Israel responded with artillery to an area in southern Lebanon after a "firefight" was reported, according to the Israeli Army, in an area that is on high alert. 

The Lebanese National News Agency indicated that since the early hours of this morning "sounds of heavy explosions have been heard in the villages of Arquob and Hasbaya, and the centers of Ruisat al Alam and Radar, which were the target of a violent artillery bombardment. The enemy army shelled occupied regions after announcing that its positions in Chebaa and Jabal al Shaykh were the target of shelling from inside Lebanon." 

The two nations are separated by the so-called Blue Line, a sort of temporary de facto border established by the UN in 2000 to mark the withdrawal line for the departure of Israeli troops who had occupied southern Lebanon until then. Hezbollah fought a war with Israel in 2006 and controls the southern strip of Lebanon bordering Israel. With this action, tension increases on the extremely volatile border, where Palestinian factions and Hezbollah operate, amid the new conflict between Hamas and the Jewish state.

20231008110826infp--afp_33xl79b-1.h (1)
AFP/PATRICIO ARANA - Map of southwestern Israel and the Gaza Strip

Israeli army claims to have killed more than 400 militiamen and fighting in Israel continues where the fatalities amount to 700​

The Israeli army reported today that its troops have killed more than 400 Palestinian militiamen in the Gaza Strip and hundreds more inside Israeli territory since a surprise attack yesterday by the Islamist Hamas movement kicked off a bloody war. More than 700 people have been killed in Israel so far, while fighting continues in communities near Gaza between militiamen and Israeli troops.

"There are hundreds of terrorists dead and dozens of terrorists in our custody. 

Hundreds of terrorists were killed while trying to infiltrate and return to Gaza. We have neutralized approximately 400 terrorists inside the Gaza Strip," Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said today, following a series of heavy Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian enclave. These figures are higher than those reported so far by the Palestinian Health Ministry, which has reported 370 dead in Gaza - including 20 children - and 1990 wounded. The Israeli Health Ministry today raised the number of wounded in Israel to 1864, while sources quoted by local media raised the number of dead to 700. 

20231007161000reup--2023-10-07t160756z_925128706_rc2sn3aawty0_rtrmadp_3_israel-palestinians.h (1)
REUTERS/ASHRAF AMRA - Smoke and flames rise after Israeli forces attacked a high-rise tower in Gaza City, October 7, 2023

To these are added dozens of people captured in Israel and taken into Gazan territory, of whom it is not known how many are dead. "Our mission for the next 24 hours is to evacuate the towns on the periphery of Gaza. There are tens of thousands of soldiers in the area. We will reach each and every town and neutralize all terrorists in Israeli territory," the army spokesman added, while a military source confirmed to EFE that troops are still clashing with Palestinian militiamen in several Israeli communities near Gaza.

Hagari further reported that the Israel Defense Forces have attacked some 500 targets in the Strip, "including the entire Hamas terrorist infrastructure" and "the residences of all its commanders." 

So far, the army said it has recaptured 20 of the 32 points adjacent to Gaza where infiltrations were recorded, including drone strikes against militia cells that re-entered Israeli territory. For his part, a Hamas spokesman stressed that in the last few hours new fighters and more weapons were sent to the Jewish State to strengthen the forces that are facing the Israeli army. These new infiltrations, he added, were carried out simultaneously with the launching of more than 100 rockets from Gaza into Israeli communities bordering the enclave. 

AFP/JALAA MAREY - Artillery pieces take up position at an undisclosed location in northern Israel, on the border with Lebanon, on October 8, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting today with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and senior security officials to discuss the situation, after announcing last night that Israel "is embarking on a long and difficult war".

At least 700 fatalities on the Israeli side

At least 700 people have been killed in Israel after the Islamist Hamas movement launched a surprise rocket attack and ground incursions into the Jewish state, which has responded with a heavy air offensive that has left 370 Palestinians dead in Gaza. According to the latest Palestinian Health Ministry count, 370 Gazans have been killed by the escalation, including 20 children, while another 1,990 Palestinians in the enclave were injured. 

On the Israeli side, some 700 people have been confirmed dead so far, and 1,864 wounded, of whom 19 are in critical condition, 326 are in serious condition, and the rest are in moderate or light condition, reported the Israeli Health Ministry. For its part, the Israeli Army assured that among the fatalities are at least 26 of its soldiers, whose identities have been announced, although the number will rise during the day as their families are notified. Some of the bodies of Israeli soldiers and civilians have been seized in Gaza by militiamen. 

20231008094216reup--2023-10-08t094048z_2119115935_rc29o3adjoaw_rtrmadp_3_israel-palestinians.h (1)
AFP/JALAA MAREY - An Israeli soldier stands next to artillery shells at an undisclosed location in northern Israel, on the border with Lebanon, on October 8, 2023

Following the surprise attack by Hamas - a group considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union - on Saturday morning, the exchange of fire has continued this Sunday, with numerous rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and Israeli bombardment of 426 Hamas targets in the enclave. Airstrikes are currently continuing over the Strip, according to the army. The Israel Defense Forces "struck the intelligence headquarters of the Hamas terrorist organization and a military compound used by its air forces," in addition to "two banks (...) that serve the organization to finance terrorist activities," an army spokesman said. 

In addition, Israeli forces struck an Islamic Jihad airborne weapons production site in Gaza City, "and a building including offices and storage units where the terrorist organization stores weapons and military equipment," he added. According to sources in Gaza, the bombing targeted 17 homes of Hamas leaders, and the bombing hit six residential towers and eight houses, in addition to killing several civilians. 

AFP/SAID KHATIB - Palestinians take control of an Israeli tank after crossing the border fence with Israel from Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023

On the other hand, the Israeli Army said that its naval force neutralized five Palestinian militiamen on Zikim beach in southern Israel and prevented their infiltration into residential areas. Meanwhile, Israeli troops have regained control of 29 locations inside Israel that were seized by Hamas yesterday, but fighting continues with Hamas militiamen still at eight points. 

In addition, Israel has rescued Israelis who were held hostage by Hamas in the liberated areas, although it has not provided figures; while about fifty people, soldiers, but also civilians, remain kidnapped by the group inside Gaza. The Israeli authorities declared a state of emergency throughout the country, in addition to demarcating a closed military zone around the Gaza Strip, while planning to evacuate all residents of the area.

REUTERS/RONEN ZVULUN - Israeli soldiers view the remains of a police station that was the site of a battle following a massive infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel, on October 8, 2023

London coordinates with allies to support Israel in the face of "depraved" Hamas attack

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed the UK's "unequivocal" backing for Israel and says he is working with international allies to coordinate support measures. "As the barbarity of the atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally behind Israel," he said last night on X, formerly Twitter. "This Hamas attack is cowardly and depraved. We have expressed our full solidarity with @netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and will work with international partners in the next 24 hours to coordinate support," he said. 

For his part, the leader of the Labor Party, Keir Starmer, whose formation begins this Sunday its annual congress in Liverpool (northwest England), has condemned the "heinous attack against Israel, a terrorist attack, for which there is no justification." "The perpetrators have deliberately rejected the prospect of a peace agreement," he said in an interview with the BBC in the English city.

AFP/JALAA MAREY - An Israeli soldier stands next to artillery shells at an undisclosed location in northern Israel, on the border with Lebanon, on October 8, 2023

AU calls on Israelis and Palestinians to cease "military hostilities" and return to negotiations

The chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, urged Israelis and Palestinians to end "military hostilities" to return to the negotiating table, following Saturday's attack from Gaza by the Islamist group Hamas against Israel. 

In a statement issued at the stroke of midnight last night from Addis Ababa, the AU headquarters, Mahamat expressed his "utmost concern over the outbreak of the current Palestinian-Israeli hostilities, which are causing grave consequences for the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians in particular, and for peace in the region in general".

AFP/MOHAMMED ABED - Ruins of a building destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on October 8, 2023

The head of the AU Commission (secretariat) indicated that "the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, in particular that of an independent and sovereign state, is the main cause of the permanent tension between Israelis and Palestinians".

The Chadian politician made "an urgent appeal to both parties to put an end to military hostilities and return, unconditionally, to the negotiating table to implement the principle of two states living side by side, to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples".

Finally, Mahamat called on the international community, and the major world powers in particular, to "assume their responsibilities to impose peace and guarantee the rights of the two peoples".