GAZA is under “complete siege” with no access to electricity, food or fuel as Israel meted out brutal punishment on the region and branded Hamas “human animals”.

Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant has ordered the siege in retaliation for the Palestinian militant’s unprecedented surprise attack which began on Saturday and has seen the Middle Eastern country declare war.

The Times of Israel reported Gallant as saying: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed.

“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.”

Fighting is still underway and Israel has reported 700 deaths while the Palestinians have reported 493, according to local media.

Israel has launched air attacks on two Gaza refugee camps and dozens of casualties have been taken Gaza City’s main hospital, Al-Shifa, reports the Middle Eastern news outlet Al Jazeera.

Israel 'in control'

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Monday morning the country was “in control” of all areas and that communities near the Gaza border were being evacuated, The Guardian reports.

He is said to have insisted only “terrorists” were being targeted and that Israel has called up 300,000 reservists. Most Israeli citizens must perform national service in the country’s army, with the exception of Arab Muslims, Arab Christians and Haredi Jews.

The EU has paused all of its development aid for Palestine, worth €691 million. 

It is not yet clear whether this applies to the humanitarian assitance provided to Palestine, reports Reuters.   

Austria has suspended its aid package to Palestine totalling around €19m (£16.5m).

One British man, who was serving in the IDF, is known to have been killed in the fighting.

Pita, a Kosher restaurant in Golders Green, north London, which has a large Jewish population, has had its windows smashed, with the Jewish News outlet suggesting that “British Jews [were] being targeted amid a rise in antisemitic attacks” in the UK.

'Netanyahu to blame'

An editorial in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has argued that the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (below) was responsible for the Hamas attack because of his Government’s policy of continuing the occupation of Palestine.

The National: Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli journalist Uri Misgav wrote: “These events are the culmination of long-term historical processes. The occupation and its maintenance have diverted the IDF, the Shin Bet security service and the Border Police from their original roles.

“The right-wing governments headed by Netanyahu have persistently weakened Israel and its systems while diverting huge sums of money to the ultra-Orthodox and settlers, who do not contribute to the state’s security, but rather, often harm it.”

He added: “We now have the debacle of October 2023, and Netanyahu’s disastrous government and his accomplices bear full responsibility for it. As soon as this war is over, the failure must be investigated by a commission such as the Agranat Commission, which investigated the lead up to the 1973 war.”