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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Israel Reclaims Gaza Border Amid Soaring War Casualties

Israel announced the recapture of Gaza’s border areas from Hamas militants as the death toll in the ongoing conflict surpassed 3,000 on Tuesday, marking the fourth day of intense fighting following a surprise attack by the militant group.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned that Israel’s military campaign, initiated in response to Saturday’s assault, marked the beginning of a sustained effort to eliminate Hamas and reshape the Middle East.

Concerns of a broader regional conflict escalated amid expectations of an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza, the densely populated territory from which Hamas launched its assault by land, air, and sea on the Jewish Sabbath.

The death toll in Israel has risen above 900, marking the country’s deadliest attack in its 75-year history. Meanwhile, Gaza officials have reported 765 fatalities thus far.

Hamas gunmen were responsible for over 100 deaths in the Beeri kibbutz alone, according to Moti Bukjin, a volunteer with the Zaka charity, which retrieves bodies in accordance with Jewish law.

Netanyahu likened the large-scale killing of Israeli civilians to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group during its control of extensive regions in Syria and Iraq.

The long-serving leader of Israel’s hard-right coalition also called for an “emergency government of national unity” following years of political turmoil and societal divisions.

The Israeli military mobilized 300,000 reservists for its “Swords of Iron” campaign and deployed tanks and heavy armor near Gaza and along the northern border with Lebanon.

The military reported that its forces had largely regained control over the embattled south and the border areas surrounding Gaza, displacing remaining Hamas fighters from numerous towns and kibbutzim.

“Approximately 1,500 bodies of Hamas fighters have been discovered in Israel around the Gaza Strip,” stated army spokesperson Richard Hecht, noting that security forces had “largely restored control over the border” with the enclave.

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