Israel’s siege of Gaza will not be lifted unless Hamas releases all the hostages it has captured, Energy Minister Israel Katz said on Thursday. His announcement came after Israeli authorities cut off water, fuel and electricity to the Palestinian exclave following a surprise attack by Hamas militants on Saturday.
“Humanitarian aid to Gaza? No electrical switch will be turned on, no water pump will be opened and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home,” wrote Katz on X, formerly known as Twitter.
In a previous post, the minister stated that Israel had for years supplied Gaza with electricity, water and fuel. “Instead of saying thank you, they sent thousands of human animals to slaughter, murder, rape and kidnap babies, women and the elderly,” Katz said, adding that Israel will continue to tighten the siege of Gaza “until the Hamas threat to Israel and the world is removed.”
The blockade of Gaza was initially announced by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday, who said he had ordered a “complete siege of the Gaza Strip” and that there will be “no electricity, no food, no fuel and no water.”
“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” Gallant said.
Meanwhile, both the EU and the UN have raised concerns over Israel’s actions in Gaza, with EU foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell stating on Tuesday that depriving the civilian population of Gaza of food, water and electricity was not in line with international law.
The UN, in turn, has announced that it will launch investigations into potential war crimes committed during the latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting that it had “clear evidence” that both sides had committed serious violations of international human rights laws.
The latest surge in violence began on Saturday when Hamas, a Palestinian militant group which controls much of Gaza, launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, firing rockets and sending commandos deep into Israeli territory. The IDF responded by bombing Gaza and cutting off all of its utilities, as Israel made an official declaration of war.
As of Thursday morning, Israel had recorded at least 1,300 dead and some 3,300 injured among its citizens. The Palestinian authorities in Gaza have recorded at least 1,203 dead and over 5,763 wounded since the outbreak of hostilities.