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Israel Volunteer Doctor
'There's no mercy at all': Israeli volunteer doctor describes what he saw
03:28 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Israel is hammering Gaza with airstrikes, hitting hundreds of targets and reducing neighborhoods to rubble, as new atrocities are uncovered in its territory after a devastating surprise attack by Hamas militants.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had “more or less” secured the border with Gaza by Tuesday, after Hamas sent fighters pouring into Israeli territory on Saturday. At least 1,200 people were killed in Israel and thousands more injured in the militant group’s onslaught, according to public broadcaster Kan.

During an inspection of the front line along Israel’s border with Gaza on Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he has “released all restraints” for the IDF troops in their fight against Hamas.

“They will regret this moment - Gaza will never return to what it was,” Gallant said

As Israeli troops regain ground, details are gradually emerging of the horror unleashed during the weekend attack. More than 100 bodies have been found in the Israeli kibbutz Be’eri, a farming community near Gaza, which was one of first places targeted by militants on Saturday. Bodies were also found at the nearby Kfar Aza kibbutz, according to an Israeli general.

“I have heard during my childhood about the pogroms in Europe, the Holocaust, of course. All my family came from Europe, they are survivors. But I never thought I would see in my eyes pictures and things like that,” Major Gen. Itai Veruv told CNN.

Israel, which has formally declared war on Hamas, is now battering the densely-inhabited strip with air strikes that have killed at least 900 people, including hundreds of children, women, and entire families, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. It said thousands more had been injured.

Hamas launched a salvo of rockets from Gaza towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon, October 10, 2023.

Israeli officials have also pledged to cut off food, water and energy to the impoverished coastal enclave, which Hamas controls, in a “complete siege” ahead of an expected ground incursion. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to obliterate Hamas’ strongholds.

The strikes have already damaged Gaza’s medical infrastructure, say Palestinian officials, and have forced more than 187,500 Palestinians to flee their homes, the United Nations said.

The full scale of Israel’s response is still unclear, but complicating its retaliation operations are 150 army and civilian hostages – including American citizens according to US President Joe Biden – believed to have been taken to Gaza by militants.

Israel has saturated its southern border with troops, and the entire length of fence along the border with Gaza is covered with tanks and air coverage, the IDF told CNN. Israeli forces have evacuated civilians close to the border, and more than 300,000 Israeli reservists have been called up, it said.

Fears of a wider conflict

There are rising fears of Hezbollah entering the conflict, potentially opening a second front in the war. The IDF said Tuesday that it has added tens of thousands of additional troops to its northern border with Lebanon in anticipation of an attack by the Iran-backed group.

A US carrier strike group is headed to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, which officials say is intended to deter Hezbollah in Lebanon and other militants groups.

Lebanese media outlet Al Manar reported Tuesday that rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel. The IDF said that it responded with artillery fire after “launches” were “identified from Lebanese territory toward Israeli territory.”

Smoke rises over buildings in Gaza City on October 9, during an Israeli air strike.

Rockets were also launched from Syria into Israeli territory, the Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday, adding that they landed in open areas.

Meanwhile, attacks have continued by Hamas, whose fighters have sought to breach the border with Israel in order to launch suicide missions, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said.

A firefight erupted between IDF troops and Hamas militants near the southern town of Mefalsim on Tuesday evening, multiple IDF troops on the ground told CNN.

Israel accused of deliberately targeting civilians

Scenes of desperation have emerged from Gaza amid Israel’s bombing campaign as the Palestinian health ministry accuses Israeli forces of deliberately targeting “civilian neighborhoods, health facilities, and notably, medical and rescue crews, as well as ambulance vehicles.”

Asked whether Israeli forces were distinguishing between civilian, governmental and military targets, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said the distinction was not so simple.

“In buildings where people are living there could be a weapons store… there could be a Hamas kingpin living there,” he said Tuesday.

Homes, schools, medical institutions, dozens of schools and government buildings were flattened in Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Information said Tuesday, forcing displaced people to 70 shelters in the city amid continuing airstrikes.