Israel retaliatory blasts strike Gaza overnight
Israels retaliatory blasts seen lighting up the sky in Gaza overnight (Reuters)
Israeli forces launched retaliatory strikes against Hamas terrorists in Gaza on Sunday after a surprise barrage of thousands of rockets hit southern Israel, while also trading fire with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in the north.
Israeli soldiers battled Hamas fighters in the streets of southern Israel a day after Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists invaded the area and launched rockets from the Gaza Strip, killing at least 300 Israelis and wounding at least 1500 others, according to Fox News.
Israel struck 426 targets in Gaza, blasting residential buildings to the ground, including a 14-story tower that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City. Israeli forces fired a warning just before the strike.
Among the 313 killed in Gaza were 20 children, and close to 2,000 wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
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An Israeli airstrike struck Gaza City on Saturday after Hamas militants carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land, and sea. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair) (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Meanwhile, Israel’s northern border came under attack Sunday as Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells at three Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border. Israel’s military returned fire using armed drones.
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People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)
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Palestinians walk by the rubble of a building after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City on Sunday. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
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Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after it was struck by an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City on Sunday. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
During Saturday’s incursion, Hamas fighters reportedly captured women, children and the elderly.
An Egyptian official told the Associated Press, “It’s clear that they have a big number — several dozens” of hostages. The official said Palestinian leaders claimed that they don’t yet have a “full picture” of hostages, and those who were brought into Gaza were taken to “secure locations” across the territory.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war following the surprise attack on Israel, vowing that Hamas “will pay an unprecedented price.” He warned, “This war will take time. It will be difficult.”
Deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, told Al-Jazeera TV that it had planned for a long fight.
“We are prepared for all options, including all-out war,” al-Arouri, said. “We are ready to do whatever is necessary for the dignity and freedom of our people.”
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The Biden administration “unequivocally” condemned terrorist organization Hamas on Saturday amid its unprecedented and “appalling” assaults against Israel. President Biden and senior administration officials stressed that the United States “stands with Israel.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.