Israel and Palestinian war: What you need to know right now
Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade on the Gaza Strip, in a sign it may be planning a ground assault in response to the devastating weekend attack by Hamas gunmen.
Israeli TV channels said the death toll from the Hamas attack had climbed to 900. Gaza’s Health Ministry said at least 687 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since Saturday.
ISRAEL TARGETS GAZA
* After hours of intense bombardment by Israeli jets, Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls Gaza, said it would execute an Israeli captive for every civilian house bombed without warning.
* The spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing said the group will not negotiate over Israeli captives “under fire”. The spokesman, Abu Ubaida, said in a video speech that Israel should be ready to “pay the price” in return for the captives’ freedom.
* The U.S. military is sending in fresh supplies of air defenses, munitions and other security assistance to Israel to help it respond to an unprecedented weekend attack by Hamas, a senior U.S. defense official said
* The European Union backtracked in disarray on Monday on an announcement that aid to Palestinians had been suspended in response to the attack on Israel by Hamas after EU countries complained the bloc’s executive had overstepped the mark.
* In a further sign of Israel’s rapid shift onto a war footing, a cabinet member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party said it could set up a national unity government joined by opposition leaders within hours.
* Qatari mediators have held urgent calls to try to negotiate freedom for Israeli women and children seized by the militant group and held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel’s prisons, a source briefed on the talks told Reuters. An Israeli official said no negotiations were under way.
* Lebanese armed group Hezbollah fired a salvo of rockets onto northern Israel on Monday in response to at least four of its members being killed in Israeli shelling on Lebanon, two security sources told Reuters.
AMERICANS, BRITONS DEAD OR MISSING
* U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that at least 11 American citizens were among those killed in Israel following the weekend’s attacks by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Washington believes it is likely U.S. citizens are also among those being held hostage by Hamas, he said in a statement.
* More than 10 Britons are feared dead or missing in Israel, the BBC reported, citing an official source, although foreign minister James Cleverly said he would not speculate on the number of British or dual nationals in the area.
* Hamas carried out a careful campaign of deception to pull of its stunning attack, accounts from Hamas and Israeli sources show.
* U.S. President Joe Biden and Netanyahu, uncomfortable allies in the best of times, will put their uneasy relationship to a further test with Israel preparing a possible ground assault on the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
GLOBAL MARKETS ROILED, FLIGHTS SUSPENDED
* Fears of a widening conflict threatened more volatility for investors, adding to uncertainty ahead of corporate earnings season and crucial U.S. inflation data later in the week.
* Oil prices jumped more than 4%, gold gained and the U.S. dollar edged up against the euro as military clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas fueled some worry that the conflict could spread beyond Gaza.
* Tech companies operating in Israel were expected to fortify security as they could face disruptions, said investors and analysts.
* Major international air carriers suspended or reined in flight services to or from Tel Aviv, saying they were waiting for safety conditions to improve.
* Several U.S. banks have told their staff in Israel to work from home for the near future as the country goes on war footing and mobilises reserve troops.
(Editing by Howard Goller)