Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
alert-–-erdogan’s-fury-at-western-support-for-israel:-turkish-leader-declares-‘the-west-is-ignoring-international-law-in-gaza-because-the-blood-being-spilled-is-muslim-–-what-more-has-to-happen-for-them-to-call-a-ceasefire?’Alert – Erdogan’s fury at Western support for Israel: Turkish leader declares ‘the West is ignoring international law in Gaza because the blood being spilled is Muslim – what more has to happen for them to call a ceasefire?’

Turkey’s president has vented his fury at Western support for Israel, declaring that the West is ignoring international law in Gaza because the ‘blood being spilled is Muslim blood’.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked what more needs to happen for the West to call for a ceasefire, noting that western countries are providing unconditional support for Israeli attacks instead of calling for restraint.

The Turkish leader launched a scathing attack on Israel, saying its bombardment of Gaza has exceeded self-defence and descended into open ‘oppression, brutality, a massacre and barbarism’.

The comments will further inflame tensions after he yesterday declared: ‘Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation group, ‘mujahideen’ waging a battle to protect its lands and people’ – comments which sparked outrage among Israelis. 

His escalating condemnation of Israel and its allies has also seen him raise his concerns with the Pope and cancel a planned trip to the country over what he labelled its ‘inhumane’ war.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked what more needs to happen for them to call a ceasefire, noting that western countries are providing unconditional support for Israeli attacks instead of calling for restraint

A victim covered in blood is seen after pulled from under the rubble in the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza where some buildings collapsed or heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes on October 26, 2023

A view of the area in the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza where some buildings collapsed or heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes on October 26, 2023

A view of the area in the city of Khan Yunis, Gaza where some buildings collapsed or heavily damaged in Israeli airstrikes on October 26, 2023

Relations between Turkey and Tel Aviv have rapidly soured amid Israel’s relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas-run health authorities say over 7,000 people have now been killed since October 7.

Erdogan raised his anger over the huge Palestinian death toll with Pope Francis earlier today, saying he told the head of the Catholic church that the lack of international condemnation over Israel’s strikes on Gaza is ’embarrassing’.

He said Israel’s attack on Gaza had ‘reached the level of a massacre’ and added that ‘the international community’s silence about what is happening is a shame for humanity’.

The Vatican in turn confirmed the call and said Pope Francis had spoken to the Turkish president about the ‘dramatic situation in the Holy Land’. It reaffirmed the Holy See’s hope that a two-state solution could be achieved.

Erdogan’s incendiary comments came as the UK, US and European Union have reiterated their steadfast support to Israel as it continues to bomb Hamas targets and threatens a ground invasion of Gaza.

Meanwhile Arab countries, including Egypt and the UAE, have asserted their condemnation of what they say is Israel’s targeting of civilians and violations of international law in the enclave.

Hamas has warned it will turn Palestinian tragedy into ‘joy’ should the Israeli Defence Forces launch a ground assault of Gaza in a sinister message delivered today.

Deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri said that ‘despite the enemy’s crimes… the resistance is well’, adding that Hamas and other Islamist groups ‘will turn your tragedies into joy, in the event of a ground invasion’ in a statement to Palestinians, suggesting Hamas fighters would inflict huge losses on the IDF.

Al-Arouri declared Hamas was preparing for war, telling Hezbollah-controlled al-Manar TV that ‘the battles have not begun yet’ ahead of the much-anticipated IDF assault. 

He also confirmed that Hamas and the leaders of Hezbollah have been in close contact over preparations for the impending Israeli invasion. 

‘Our battle is also Hezbollah’s battle,’ he said. ‘If the enemy enters by land, it will be an unprecedented defeat [for Israel].’

A man holds his 3 year-old son who died after the Israeli airstrikes that continues in Gaza City, Gaza on October 26, 2023

A Palestinian man carries a child casualty at the site of Israeli strikes on houses

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (R) meets Jihad Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah (2-L) and deputy leader of Hamas, Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri (1-L) at an unidentified location in this handout image released on October 25, 2023

Israeli armoured vehicles take part in an operation, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, at a location given as the northern Gaza Strip in this image taken from a handout video released October 26, 2023

In an indication Israel was widening assaults into Gaza, the military said ground forces attacked multiple targets in the Hamas-ruled enclave on Thursday before withdrawing 

People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids on October 26, 2023

People carry the bodies of Palestinians killed in the Israeli airstrikes after they were moved from the morgue of Nasser Hospital to be buried at a cemetery in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 26, 2023

Palestinians wait to collect the bodies of their relatives outside the Nasser hospital, killed in Israeli strikes, in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on October 26, 2023

Al-Arouri’s warning came as Israeli tanks rolled into northern Gaza overnight in the biggest incursion of the war so far to carry out ‘targeted raids’ on ‘terrorist cells’ ahead of a full-scale ground invasion.

The military said ground forces led by the Givati infantry brigade and the 162nd Armored Division attacked multiple targets in the Hamas-ruled enclave in the early hours of Thursday before withdrawing, while warplanes struck more than 250 targets across the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours. 

IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said the operation lasted a few hours and that no Israeli casualties were sustained. 

The UN said the number of Israeli strikes meant that ‘nowhere in Gaza is safe’. 

Israel’s battle-hardened prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night warned Hamas terrorists in a televised statement that they were ‘doomed’ as he vowed to push ahead with a ground invasion.

READ MORE – Horrifying footage shows Israeli-American Hersh Goldberg-Polin after Hamas terrorist blew off his arm and then bundled him into the back of a truck 

Advertisement

‘We are raining hellfire on Hamas. We have already killed thousands of terrorists and this is only the beginning. Simultaneously, we are preparing for a ground invasion. I will not elaborate on when, how or how many,’ Netanyahu said.

Meanwhile, in a retort to al-Arouri’s message, former Israeli defence minister and member of Israel’s war carbinet Benny Gantz said that any possible ground offensive would be only ‘one stage in a long-term process that includes security, political and social aspects that will take years’.

‘The campaign will soon ramp up with greater force. We will not be the ones at risk of being wiped out. That will be the fate of those who seek to do us ill,’ he said.

Now Israeli tanks and hundreds of thousands of troops are massing on the border with Gaza awaiting orders. 

International pressure is growing to delay any invasion of Gaza, not least because of hostages taken by Hamas. More than half the estimated 220 have foreign passports from 25 different countries, the Israeli government said. 

Meanwhile, international observers are imploring the Israeli government to allow further resources into the besieged territory, with more than a million Palestinians displaced from their homes and the flow of aid reduced to a trickle by the blockade.

Mr Netanyahu said the battle against the Hamas murderers who massacred around 1,500 Israeli civilians on October 7 was necessary to ‘save our country’ and the airstrikes on Gaza were only ‘the beginning’.

But questions remain over the exact time-frame for the expected invasion after it was reported that the country was delaying the ground attack to allow the US to rush missile defences to the region.

In a televised address yesterday evening, Mr Netanyahu said: ‘We have set over this war two main goals: to do away with Hamas by destroying its military and governmental capabilities, and to do everything within our power to return our hostages back home. 

An Israeli Merkava tank is deploy with other armoured vehicles along Israel’s border with Gaza on October 24, 2023

Israeli air strikes bombarding Gaza on October 25, 2023

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 26, 2023

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses

Smoke rises from nearby Israeli strikes as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians

Palestinians react at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, on  October 26, 2023

A Palestinian man carries a wounded woman after recovering her from the rubble of a destroyed area following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, on October 25, 2023

Smoke rises from an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on October 26, 2023

Israeli Merkava tanks take part in a military drill near the border with Lebanon in the upper Galilee region of northern Israel on October 26, 2023

‘All Hamas militants are doomed. Above the earth, underground, within Gaza and outside of Gaza.’

There are thought to be around 222 hostages, aged from nine months to 85, being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu acknowledged that there would need to be ‘soul-searching’ on how the terrorist group was able to carry out the murderous attack of October 7 without the knowledge of the country’s intelligence services.

But he said his role now was to lead Israel to ‘all-out victory’ over its enemies. He added: ‘When we enter Gaza, later on in our fighting, we are going to take the full prize from those terrorists who carried out those atrocities of Hamas.’

Mr Netanyahu said the country’s special war cabinet had taken the final decision on when forces would go into the blockaded Palestinian enclave. He said he ‘will not tell’ how and when the invasion would happen, nor how extensive it would be.

READ MORE – Gaza’s hospitals face becoming ‘mass graves’ if fuel supplies dry up, doctors say 

Advertisement

But it had been suggested last night that the planned assault was on hold at the request of the White House.

The Pentagon is scrambling to deploy nearly a dozen air-defence systems to protect US troops serving in the Middle East, including in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Syria.

US officials are said to be concerned that terrorist groups across the region would target American troops once the incursion begins, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In Iraq and Syria, there have been at least 13 drone and missile attacks since October 18, which have wounded some two-dozen US personnel. President Joe Biden denied the reports however, telling reporters: ‘It’s their decision but I did not demand it.’

Israel is also weighing up the need to supply humanitarian aid to civilians inside Gaza, as well as the diplomatic efforts to free more hostages from the clutches of Hamas. A full-scale ground assault threatens to further stoke geopolitical tensions in the region.

On Tuesday, a news agency with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it is ‘likely’ the Tehran-backed Hezbollah group in Lebanon would become involved in the war with Israel. 

During a trip to Cairo yesterday, French president Emmanuel Macron said that a ‘massive’ ground incursion into Gaza would be a mistake, instead suggesting that the international coalition formed to fight terror group Isis should be resurrected to eradicate Hamas. 

More deadly attacks on Gaza on October 25, 2023 

Satellite view shows the Palestinian city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza on October 10

Satellite view shows damaged areas in the Palestinian city of Beit Hanoun, due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, northern Gaza Strip, October 21, 2023

Satellite view shows the Palestinian city of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, May 1, 2023

Satellite view shows damaged areas in the Palestinian city of Beit Hanoun, due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, northern Gaza Strip, October 21, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023 

Mr Biden warned ‘there’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October 6’ between Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking alongside Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, Biden said he would ‘guarantee’ Israel had ‘what it needs to defend itself against these terrorists’.

Last night Mr Netanyahu vowed to gain the support of the international community for the upcoming invasion. He said: ‘We are mobilising the support of world leaders to continue this campaign and many of them understand today what we keep repeating since 2014: Hamas is Isis and Isis is Hamas.

‘I am telling them that our war against Hamas is also their war against Hamas… it is a struggle between the axis of evil of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and that of progress and freedom.’

Eight Syrian soldiers were killed by Israeli air strikes on southwest Syria yesterday, according to the Syrian state news agency Sana. Israel’s military said its jets had struck Syrian army infrastructure and mortar launchers in what it described as a response to rocket launches from Syria toward Israel.

Now, analysts are considering how a ground invasion of Gaza might play out. 

Unlike the last Israeli ground invasion of Gaza in 2014, in which some 2,300 Palestinians were killed, this time Hamas has captured more than 200 Israeli soldiers and civilians, who are now almost certainly dispersed throughout an intricate network of tunnels and hiding spots built in the past decade by the militant force. 

Hamas has already declared its intention to execute civilian captives one by one if Israel continues its policy of devastating airstrikes on military and civilian targets in the densely populated Gaza Strip. 

Besides, Hamas has consolidated its power since the 2014 incursion and its military wing is thought to be tens of thousands strong – and could be supported by Hezbollah – with access to a serious arsenal of weapons provided over many years by Iran. 

This means Israel would need to deploy hundreds of thousands of troops if it is to launch a full-scale invasion to wipe out Hamas – and the operation would likely share stark similarities with the bitter urban warfare seen in Mosul and other areas of Iraq. 

Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel

Israeli tanks head towards the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel

Israel continues to deploy soldiers, tanks and armored vehicles near the Gaza border in Sderot, Israel on October 24, 2023

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 26, 2023 shows black smoke billowing over the northern Gaza Strip

A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot on October 26, 2023 shows flares fired by the Israeli army over the northern Gaza Strip

‘At present, it seems likely that Israel is seeking the decisive defeat of Hamas and its military wing al-Qassam. That may result in very protracted and violent fighting,’ Cranny-Evans said.

‘We are already seeing the first phase of any full-scale ground invasion. Israeli airstrikes are most likely aimed at al-Qassam’s leadership, ammunition stockpiles and locations used to house and hide personnel. 

‘In this way, the IDF is likely seeking to degrade their ability to put up a coordinated resistance once troops move in on the ground.’

He continued: ‘The next phase may include movements to encircle the cities in Gaza and establish greater control over the whole area with troops and drones. 

‘All of this will be accompanied by a build-up of supplies, munitions, medical facilities, food etc. Urban warfare consumes a lot of ammunition and leads to a lot of casualties. So, there will be efforts underway to ensure appropriate stocks in appropriate locations.

‘I think we should also expect to see the IDF taking measures against small drones with electronic warfare, as well as gathering signals intelligence on al-Qassam to improve its targeting capabilities.’

However, Hamas has already shown its willingness to engage in particularly brutal warfare, and is also more technologically advanced than previously thought, having demonstrated an ability to deploy aerial munitions via drone and makeshift anti-aircraft munitions. 

This means Israeli forces would be in for a particularly bloody fight, Cranny-Evans said, likening the potential conflict to scenes from the most bitter urban fighting amid the Iraq war. 

‘The tactics employed by the IDF will depend in part on the tactics used by al-Qassam. 

Hand-to-hand combat, fatal booby traps and the risk of friendly fire: How Israel hostage rescue operation will unfold, and the deadly dangers they face 

Advertisement

‘It is likely that drones will be used to drop bombs on Israeli forces, and that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) will be deployed to slow them down. The IDF has experienced these technologies, but they do have the ability to inflict serious casualties. 

‘So, if al-Qassam has a lot of fighters who are determined to hold their ground, the Israeli forces may be faced with several Mosul-type operations requiring each urban area to be encircled and gradually cleared street-by-street.

‘The predominant approach will be to use combined arms tactics where the efforts of armoured formations are coordinated with air power, artillery, and electronic warfare – as well as information warfare – to defeat al-Qassam.’

Cranny-Evans added that Israeli forces could attempt a multi-pronged assault, deploying troops amphibiously into Gaza from the Mediterranean sea, but cautioned that such units would only be lightly armoured and supplied, meaning they’d need to be bolstered by other units on the ground or via air support. 

‘There is a possibility for an amphibious assault, but it would have to be coordinated with the main thrust of operations and serve a useful purpose,’ he concluded.

‘The forces used for amphibious operations are inherently light – no or little armour available. So, the risk to them when fighting other light infantry is high relative to an armoured formation. Nevertheless, if the IDF feels there are targets worth seizing or engaging on the coast, that are within the capabilities of light and special infantry, it is reasonable to presume that they might try.’

Israel also has advanced technology at its disposal to help its forces fight Hamas.

‘The IDF has a developed and capable communications and battle management infrastructure, which will really be key to this operation. It enables commanders to keep tabs on where their units are and understand what enemy forces they have encountered. It also makes communication between units easier, which is a major challenge in urban settings,’ Cranny-Evans said. 

‘The IDF also has other systems like the Fireweaver fire control system, which coordinates sensors and shooters through a central battle management system and uses AI to suggest the best-placed shooter to the commander. 

‘They have relatively advanced multi-domain capabilities and are well-versed in coordinating air strikes with ground operations.’

More than 7,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s war on Hamas on October 7, it has been reported.

This total of 7,028 includes 2,913 children, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

The estimated number of Hamas-held captives killed in Gaza due to Israeli strikes is around 50, Hamas’s armed wing said via Telegram.

The spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, failed to provide any further details. The claims have not been independently verified.

error: Content is protected !!