An Israeli military official says the death toll from Hamas’ surprise attack over the weekend has now risen above 1,000.
Brigadier General Dan Goldfus announced the figure during a briefing with reporters on Tuesday.
He spoke as Israel was pressing ahead with a fierce offensive of airstrikes in Gaza that has claimed 830 lives on the other side and caused widespread destruction.
“We will have to change the reality from within Gaza to prevent this from happening again.”
The Hamas incursion is by far the deadliest militant attack in Israeli history.
The announcement came as Israeli warplanes hammered the Gaza Strip neighbourhood by neighbourhood on Tuesday, reducing buildings to rubble and sending people scrambling to find safety in the tiny, sealed-off territory as Israel vowed a retaliation for Hamas’ attack that would “reverberate … for generations.”
The United Nations human rights chief said Israel’s announcement of a “complete siege” of Gaza would exacerbate the “already dire” humanitarian situation in the strip, as he condemned alleged mass killings and executions by Palestinian militants.
Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement that such siege “risks seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate”.
The embassy’s spokesperson Marina Ryazanova told the Russian state news agency Tass that the victims had dual Israeli and Russian citizenship. She said six others remain missing.
Previously, two Russian citizens were believed to have been killed and four were missing, according to Anatoly Viktorov, Russian Ambassador to Israel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin described the latest Israel-Palestinian war as a result of failed US foreign policy.
Speaking at the start of his talks with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, Mr Putin said in his first comment on the war that “many will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of the US policies in the Middle East.”
He added that the US has “tried to monopolise the settlement, but, regrettably hasn’t bothered to search for compromises that would be acceptable to both parties and, just the opposite, sought to enforce their own view of how it should be done, exerting pressure on both parties.”
Mr Putin said the US has failed “to take vital interests of the Palestinian people into account,” ignoring UN General Assembly resolutions envisaging the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt said on Tuesday the ongoing escalation between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza “is very serious,” warning of repercussions on the region’s “security and stability”.
Mr El-Sissi, whose government maintains ties with Israel and Hamas, said they have intensified their efforts to reach a ceasefire of the ongoing war, according to the state-run MENA news agency.
“We are communicating with all international and regional parties in order to reach an immediate cessation of violence and achieve de-escalation,” he was quoted as saying.
The Egyptian leader affirmed his country’s position on establishing a “just and comprehensive peace” based on the two-state solution.
Fabrizio Carboni, the regional director for the Near and Middle East for the ICRC, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that included the Israelis taken hostage by Hamas during their unprecedented incursion into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
“The level of violence is still very high but we’ve asked for access,” Mr Carboni said from Geneva.
“We ask also for the civilians who have been captured to have an opportunity to communicate with their family, to tell them that they are safe and well.
“We also ask that some people who have nothing to do in prison or shouldn’t be captured to be released.”