Israel, in response to the deadliest attack on its soil in the last fifty years, officially announced a declaration of war against Hamas on Sunday. The conflict’s death toll reached 1,000 as the Palestinian militant organization initiated a massive surprise assault from Gaza.
According to AFP, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared the shocked and mourning nation for a “protracted and challenging” war following Hamas’ early Saturday rocket onslaught on Israel, accompanied by the infiltration of fighters who targeted civilians and took at least 100 hostages.
On Sunday, German ministerial sources revealed that several individuals, who also hold Israeli citizenship, were among those abducted by Palestinian Hamas militants during their incursions into Israel. The exact number of individuals involved was not specified.
“As far as we know, they are all Israeli nationals as well as Germans,” they told AFP.
United States President Joe Biden has, however, ordered “additional support” for Israel after the attack, the White House said Sunday, without giving details.
“The President directed additional support for Israel in the face of this unprecedented terrorist assault by Hamas,” the White House said in a statement.
The intense escalation of violence heightened tensions in the Middle East and resulted in over 600 casualties on the Israeli side, marking the nation’s most significant losses since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war when it faced an assault from a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.
In Gaza, which endured a relentless barrage of Israeli airstrikes targeting 800 locations, many feared an imminent ground invasion. Officials reported a minimum of 370 fatalities and thousands more injured throughout the conflict zone.
Tens of thousands of Israeli troops were deployed to confront resilient Hamas fighters in the southern region, where the bodies of civilians were discovered scattered across roads and town centers.
“The enemy is still on the ground,” stated military spokesperson Daniel Hagari to reporters as the second night descended following the attack. Israel is in the process of reinforcing its military presence in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip.
Fierce gunfights persisted as the Israeli military aimed to secure desert regions near the coastal enclave, free Israeli hostages, and evacuate all areas adjacent to Gaza.
Hagari made a resolute commitment, asserting, “We’ll reach each and every community until we kill every terrorist in Israel”. This statement followed the startling offensive by hundreds of Hamas fighters who infiltrated Israel using various means, including vehicles, boats, and even motorized paragliders.
The abduction of around 100 Israeli citizens by Hamas into Gaza generated widespread shock and concern throughout Israel. Images of bloodied hostages and anguished pleas from their relatives on social media underscored the urgency of their rescue.
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