TEL AVIV: Israel launched a new barrage of airstrikes on Gaza as it vowed to wipe out Hamas control of the narrow strip of Palestinian territory along the Mediterranean Sea.

With 300,000 Israeli troops stationed on the Gaza border and poised for a ground invasion, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “This will be a long war. The price will be high, but we are going to win for Israel, for the Jewish people and for the values that both countries believe in.”

The top U.S. diplomat assured Gallant of continued American support.

“You know our deep commitment to Israel’s right, indeed its obligation, to defend itself and to defend its people,” Blinken said.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have heeded Israel’s orders to evacuate northern Gaza for the southern half of the Strip.

The humanitarian crisis is rapidly escalating as the territory remains under a complete Israeli siege, with no food, fuel or water allowed in since last Monday.

“There continues to be no water for the vast majority of the population in Gaza,” said Juliette Touma, spokesperson for the U.N. agency that assists Palestinians, UNRWA.

“We’re talking about 2 million people in the Gaza Strip who do not have water, and water is running out, and water is life, and life is running out of Gaza.”

UNRWA said Monday that there are not enough body bags for the dead in Gaza.

Touma said an estimated 1 million Palestinians have fled toward the south and nearly 400,000 of them are sheltering mostly in UNRWA schools. One group is being housed in an UNRWA warehouse, which Touma said is not equipped to be a shelter.

UNRWA has deployed an advance team to Egypt to prepare for the possible opening of a humanitarian corridor to bring aid supplies into Gaza. (VOA)

Related News