Israel vows ‘complete siege’ of Gaza as UN envoy calls attack their ‘9/11’ – National

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Israel’s defence minister has ordered a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip following an unprecedented incursion into Israel by Hamas fighters that the country’s United Nations ambassador called “Israel’s 9/11.”

Israel’s security cabinet formally declared a state of war on Sunday and gave the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas for Saturday’s surprise attack. More than 1,100 people have been killed and thousands wounded on both sides.

The defence minister’s announcement on Monday came as Israel’s military scoured the country’s south for Hamas fighters and guarded breaches in its border fence with tanks while pounding Gaza from the air.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said authorities would cut electricity to Gaza and block the entry of food and fuel.

A spokesperson said the Israeli military regained control of border communities taken by Hamas fighters during the attack. But Palestinian militants continued firing barrages of rockets, setting off air raid sirens in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

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Click to play video: 'Risk of war on horizon as Israel calls Hamas attack their ‘9/11’ moment'


Risk of war on horizon as Israel calls Hamas attack their ‘9/11’ moment


Israel and Egypt have imposed various levels of blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

One of Israel’s goals as it battles Hamas fighters is to remove the militant group from power in the Gaza Strip, a military spokesperson said Monday.

Jonathan Conricus made the statement in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. His words appeared to go further than those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said Sunday that his security cabinet had made the decision to destroy Hamas’ ability to govern in a way that posed a threat to Israeli civilians.

A thousand Hamas militants took part in the initial, unprecedented attack on Israel on Saturday, Conricus said.

“It is by far the worst day in Israeli history,” Conricus said.

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Click to play video: 'Israel-Gaza conflict: What will happen next as Netanyahu vows revenge against Hamas?'


Israel-Gaza conflict: What will happen next as Netanyahu vows revenge against Hamas?


The Israeli military has confirmed a “substantial” number of people were abducted, suggesting in government statements that the number is more than 100.

Canadians are believed to be among those abducted: former federal justice minister Irwin Cotler tweeted that a respected humanitarian and advocate for peace, Vivian Silver, from Winnipeg is one of the captives, while administrators at a Vancouver high school are worried about a former student.

“Please say extra prayers for King David alumnus, Ben Mizrachi, Class of 2018, who was attending an event in the south and is missing. Please keep Ben and his family in your prayers,” the post from King David High School in Vancouver read.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs confirmed the high school message is accurate and that Mizrachi is still missing. The centre said the family is asking for privacy at this time.

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Click to play video: 'Canadians stuck in Israel with flights cancelled, embassy closed for Thanksgiving'


Canadians stuck in Israel with flights cancelled, embassy closed for Thanksgiving


The state of war has reverberated around the world over recent days, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warning of the need to prevent a bigger Middle East “conflagration” and the U.S. moving military assets into the eastern Mediterranean as a “deterrence posture.”

A former deputy national security advisor for Israel has called the attack by Hamas this weekend an “earthquake” for the country and people’s sense of security, and says the conflict has become a “battle for national survival.”

Chuck Freilich made the comments in an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson on Sunday, a day after Hamas militants launched a slew of rockets into Israel’s south, as well as attacks by land and sea, in what is being seen as an unprecedented attack.

“This is one of the worst developments in Israel’s history. It’s the first time since the War of Independence in 1948 that Israeli territory was occupied even briefly,” said Freilich, a professor of political science at Columbia University and previously a deputy national security adviser in Israel.

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“This is an earthquake for Israel, militarily, psychologically, the sense of people’s security, and it’s, I believe, a totally different change in the situation, which is going to require responses by Israel on a completely different level. We cannot accept this.”

Following Saturday’s attack, there have also been questions by security experts surrounding what some have called a major intelligence failure. Both CNN and BBC are among those citing American and Israeli intelligence and security officials as saying it is not clear how the attack was not detected earlier and prevented.


Click to play video: 'The West Block: Oct. 8, 2023 |  Fallout from surprise Hamas attack in Israel and federal plan to lower grocery prices'


The West Block: Oct. 8, 2023 | Fallout from surprise Hamas attack in Israel and federal plan to lower grocery prices


— with files from Global News’ Sean Previl, Touria Izri and Darrian Matassa-Fung.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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