Israeli forces this Sunday combat hundreds of Palestinian militiamen infiltrated into their territory and continued bombing the Gaza Strip, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “long and difficult” war against the Islamist movement Hamas, which surprised Israel with a major offensive on Saturday.
“The first stage is now ending with the destruction of the vast majority of enemy forces that infiltrated our territory,” Netanyahu declared. The right-wing leader warned his fellow citizens that they are embarking “in a long and difficult war.”
“We are finishing recovering full control of Israeli territory,” said Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, spokesman for the Israeli army, after he reported “hundreds” of infiltrators still present in towns in southern Israel bordering Gaza.
The offensive launched by land, sea and air by the Islamist movement that governs Gaza left more than 200 dead so farincluding 26 soldiers, and more than 1,000 wounded on Israeli soil, according to the army, which accused Hamas of massacring civilians in their own homes.
Israel declared a “state of war” and responded to the Hamas attack: there are more than 500 dead
In Gaza, 313 Palestinians were killed and nearly 2,000 wounded in Israeli attacks launched in response, Hamas said in a new report.
At the same time, Many Israelis, civilians and military, remain hostages of Palestinian fighters. The Israeli army did not specify how many there are, although the digital information portal Ynet speaks of a hundred.
The army announced this Sunday morning that it will evacuate all residents living near the Palestinian enclave in the next 24 hours. Among the deceased is an Argentinean, Rodolfo Fabián Skariszewski, who lived in Moshav Ohad, confirmed a spokesperson for the Argentine Foreign Ministry.
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting this Sunday on the situation in the Middle East, called by Brazil, which holds the presidency of the organization this month.
They released a list of Israeli women kidnapped by Hamas in the last few hours
In search of relatives
Coinciding with the end of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Hamas fighters began their offensive with a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israel, and managed to infiltrate using vehicles, boats and even motorized paragliders. Once on Israeli soil, they attacked military and civilian positions in the middle of the street.
“I saw many corpses”said Shlomi, an Israeli, on a road near the Gevim kibbutz in southern Israel.
Israeli forces responded by air bombing numerous targets in Gaza, including several buildings it presented as Hamas “command centers,” while ground fighting with infiltrators continued.
This Sunday, Israeli forces recaptured the Sderot police station, bordering Gaza, after having “neutralized the 10 terrorists inside,” police said.
Interviews with citizens in search of missing relatives took place on Israeli radio and television this Sunday. Some said they had seen them in videos circulating on social networks, showing people kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza.
The Israeli army assured that Hamas kidnapped “soldiers and civilians” and “will pay for their actions”
Both this movement and Islamic Jihad, another armed Palestinian group, claimed to have captured “numerous Israeli soldiers.”
“What happened is unprecedented in Israel,” Netanyahu acknowledged, in what is the largest attack in decades, 50 years after the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
In the north, from Lebanon, the pro-Iran Shiite movement Hezbollah attacked three Israeli positions in a disputed border area with projectiles, in “solidarity,” it said, with the Hamas offensive.
The Israeli army responded by attacking in southern Lebanon.
Netanyahu announced the suspension of the supply of electricity, food and other goods from Israel to Gaza, an impoverished and overpopulated coastal enclave subjected to a strict Israeli blockade for more than 15 years.
In Israel, schools will remain closed this Sunday, which is the first day of the week there.
The Hamas attack was condemned by numerous European and Latin American countries, and the president of the United States, Joe Bidentransferred his “unfailing support” to Israel.
The Hamas offensive was launched when Israel and Saudi Arabia, under the mediation of Washington, negotiate the establishment of bilateral relations. An approach condemned by Hamas and its ally Iran, which by the way congratulated the Palestinian Islamists for their surprise offensive against Israel.