Israel-Hamas : Backed by a barrage of rockets, dozens of Hamas militants broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip and into nearby Israeli towns, killing dozens and abducting others in an unprecedented surprise early morning attack during a major Jewish holiday on Saturday.
A stunned Israel launched airstrikes in Gaza, with its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the country is now at war with Hamas and vowing to inflict an ‘unprecedented price.’ In an assault of startling breadth, Hamas gunmen rolled into as many as 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip, including towns and other communities as far as 24 kilometres from the Gaza border. In some places, they roamed for hours, gunning down civilians and soldiers as Israel’s military scrambled to muster a response.
Gunbattles continued well after nightfall, and militants held hostages in standoffs in two towns and occupied a police station in a third. Israeli media, citing rescue service officials, said at least 300 people were killed and 1,500 wounded, making it the deadliest attack in Israel in decades.
At least 232 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed and at least 1,700 wounded in Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Hamas fighters took an unknown number of civilians and soldiers captive in Gaza, a deeply sensitive issue for Israel, in harrowing scenes posted on social media videos.