Israel has pummelled Gaza with air strikes and artillery fire which have claimed at least 2,215 lives in the blockaded Palestinian enclave over the past week
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh urged Palestinians Saturday to reject “displacement” within the Gaza Strip or out of the blockaded enclave to Egypt, following Israeli air strikes and calls to evacuate.
In a televised speech, the Qatar-based leader called the massive assault that targeted Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7 a “strategic strike” that would aid “our liberation”.
More than 1,300 people have been killed in Israel since Hamas militants stormed the country’s south, killing both civilians and security forces and taking at least 120 captives, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has pummelled Gaza with air strikes and artillery fire which have claimed at least 2,215 lives in the blockaded Palestinian enclave over the past week, according to Hamas officials.
The Israeli army has called on Gazans in the north of the enclave to head south to avoid the strikes.
“No to displacement from the (West) Bank, not from Gaza and no to displacement from Gaza to Egypt,” Haniyeh said in his speech.
“Our decision is to remain on our land.”
“We want this occupation to leave our land,” Haniyeh said, “for us to have a state with Jerusalem as its capital… and for our Palestinian people to return”.
Earlier Saturday, Haniyeh accused Israel of committing war crimes and preventing humanitarian aid from entering Gaza.
“Israeli atrocities amount to war crimes,” he said in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that was posted on the Palestinian group’s website.
Haniyeh also condemned the “barbaric Israeli siege imposed” on the Palestinian territory, charging that “the Israeli occupation is banning entry of humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip”.
He urged Guterres to pressure Israel into letting humanitarian aid enter into Gaza.
Israel has imposed a “complete siege” on the enclave following the October 7 assault, halting electricity, water and fuel supplies.
It says supplies will not be resumed until Hamas releases all of the captives its gunmen seized during the cross-border attack.
Around 2.4 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since Hamas seized power in the coastal enclave in 2007.