(IntegrityPress.org) – Israeli officials are issuing warnings about the conflict spreading to involve regional antagonists. Israel is engaged in a war with Hamas, the ruling authority of Gaza, after its military attacked Israeli settlements and a music festival bordering the Gaza Strip on October 7th.
Despite advance warning, Israel failed to appropriately prepare for and defend against the attack, leading to roughly 1200 deaths. Over a quarter of the dead were Israeli military and police, and it is still unknown how many of the casualties were a direct result of Israeli friendly fire, though that number is not zero.
Israel launched an assault on Gaza to dismantle Hamas. Officials are now saying that they will not stop the war in Gaza until Hamas is effectively destroyed.
U.S. authorities are desperate to maintain stability in the region, which is a vital crossroads for trade, including the export of crude oil. Multiple local groups allegedly affiliated with Iran have begun to attack U.S. bases in the region. Yemeni Houthis have allegedly attacked cargo vessels transiting the Red Sea with suicide drones, leading many companies to forgo the route entirely or reroute their cargo ships around the southern tip of Africa.
The chaos is causing disruptions to trade, and many companies are jacking up their fees due to the instability.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken fears the conflict “could easily metastasize” into a wider regional affair which would cost even more in terms of economic disruption and human life. Blinken will be in Israel over the 2nd week of January to meet with authorities and attempt to avoid expanding the conflict, though it may already be too late.
Over the weekend, Israeli military forces reported 30 targets hit in Khan Yunis, the biggest city in southern Gaza. Observers are concerned that Israel could start fighting with Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia based on Lebanon, along Israel’s northern border.
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