More than 300 were killed in Israel in a surprise large-scale attack by the Palestinian group Hamas as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to reduce its Gaza hideouts to “rubble”. In Gaza, more than 230 have been killed in Israel’s response.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story
Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to avenge what he said was a “black day” for Israel, saying the army will strike back at Hamas in Gaza with full force. “The IDF (army) is about to use all its force to destroy Hamas’s capabilities. We’ll strike them to the bitter end and avenge with force this black day they brought on Israel and its people,” he said.
The Israel military suffered significant losses and Palestinian group said it had captured dozens of soldiers. “Terrorists rampaged and broke into homes, massacring civilians,” the army said.
The Indian embassy in Israel has asked its citizens to remain vigilant and observe safety protocols as advised by local authorities. “Please exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement, and stay close to safety shelters,” it said in an advisory.
As the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday, President Joe Biden voiced “rock solid and unwavering” support for Israel and warned “against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation”.
Saturday’s assault, the biggest incursion into Israel in decades, coincides with US-backed moves to push Saudi Arabia towards normalising ties with Israel in return for a defence deal between Washington and Riyadh.
The Islamist group started the multi-pronged attack with more than 5,000 rockets aimed as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, some bypassing the Iron Dome defence system and hitting buildings.
Hamas fighters breached Gaza’s security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns and military posts, opening fire on residents and passersby.
Hamas released images of several Israelis taken captive. Bodies were strewn on the streets of the Israeli town of Sderot near Gaza and inside cars, the windscreens shattered by hails of bullets.
Israel and Palestinian militants have fought several wars since Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007. The latest comes as tensions heightened after Israel closed its borders to Gazan workers.
Osama Hamdan, the leader of Hamas in Lebanon, told Reuters that the operation should make Arab states realise that accepting Israeli security demands would not bring peace. “For those who want stability and peace in the region, the starting point must be to end the Israeli occupation,” he said.”
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