‘They will regret this moment’: Israel vows to release ‘all restraints’ on troops

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Israel’s defence minister has vowed that Gaza will be irrevocably changed after his nation finishes responding to a series of shock attacks by Hamas, declaring he had “released all restraints” on the Israel Defence Forces.

As Israel announced that the first plane of US armaments had arrived in the country since the crisis broke out, the United Nations said that almost 200,000 people in Gaza had been displaced and expressed alarm at Israel’s blockade of electricity and food supplies to the enclave.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men inspect a road after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit this week.Credit: AP

After confirming Australian-born grandmother Galit Carbone as the first known Australian casualty since the crisis erupted, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the government was assessing all options for Australians wanting to leave.

“We understand the difficulties with limited commercial options,” she said in a post on X.

“If you want to leave and do have a viable option, we encourage you to pursue that.”

As rockets were launched from Lebanon and Syria into Israel, with the latter landing in open areas, Israeli officials on Wednesday revealed horrific details of a weekend assault on a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

“Whoever comes to decapitate, murder women, Holocaust survivors – we will eliminate him at the height of our power and without compromise,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told soldiers during an inspection of the front line along Israel’s border.

“Hamas wanted a change in Gaza, it will change 180 degrees from what he thought.

“They will regret this moment. Gaza will never return to what it was.”

More than 1000 people have been killed in Israel and more than 900 people are dead in Gaza, according to Israel’s Army Radio and the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said in a post on X: “The first plane carrying US armaments has since arrived at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel this evening.

“The cooperation between our militaries is a key part of ensuring regional security and stability in times of war.”

Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden condemned Hamas’s attacks as “pure unadulterated evil”, decrying “stomach churning reports of babies being killed” and “women raped, assaulted and paraded as trophies”.

Israel continued to bombard targets in Gaza with air strikes, including on the Gaza port, where a fishing boat was pictured ablaze.

Photographs also showed large parts of the upscale Gazan city of Rimal – a district home to ministries of the Hamas-run government, universities, media and aid agencies – had been reduced to rubble by Israeli air strikes.

Smoke from an Israeli airstrike in the Rimal district of Gaza CityCredit: Bloomberg

In a letter to the UN Security Council, originally reported by Reuters, Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour said: “Such blatant dehumanisation and attempts to bomb a people into submission, to use starvation as a method of warfare, and to eradicate their national existence are nothing less than genocidal…These acts constitute war crimes.”

More than 187,000 people have been newly displaced in Gaza with many sheltering at UN facilities, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

“We are extremely alarmed about measures to cut electricity food, water and fuel from entering Gaza,” James Elder, a spokesman for the UN children’s agency UNICEF, said.

“This will add another layer of suffering to the existing catastrophe faced by families in Gaza.”

Meanwhile, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into the coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon, with a spokesman saying on the Telegram social media platform that the attacks were in “response to the displacement of civilians in Gaza”.

Hamas had earlier issued a warning to the city’s residents to leave by 5 pm local time.

The Israeli military on Wednesday took international journalists on a tour of Kfar Aza, a kibbutz located 3 kilometres from the Gaza Strip, where dozens of residents were killed by Hamas militants over the weekend.

Among the dead were babies and pregnant women whose heads had been cut off.

“Mothers, fathers, babies, young families killed in their beds, in the protection room, in the dining room, in their garden,” Israeli Major General Itai Veruv said.

“It’s not a war, it’s not a battlefield. It’s a massacre…I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve served for 40 years.”

According to the Israeli military, up to 70 Hamas militants stormed the faming community using an earthmover, motorcycles and a hang-glider while brandishing rifles and hand grenades.

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