Home Trending Israel strikes back with Gaza air strikes after Hamas terrorist attack

Israel strikes back with Gaza air strikes after Hamas terrorist attack

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Israeli artillery replied to mortar fire from Lebanon and drones attacked positions held by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia along Israel's northern border, serving as a warning that the battle may escalate beyond Gaza

A day after suffering its worst attack in decades, when Hamas terrorists rampaged through Israeli cities, murdering hundreds and kidnapping an undetermined number of others, Israel pounded Gaza on Sunday, threatening a massive new Middle Eastern conflict.

Israeli artillery replied to mortar fire from Lebanon and drones attacked positions held by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia along Israel’s northern border, serving as a warning that the battle may escalate beyond Gaza.

Overnight, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened “mighty vengeance for this wicked day,” Israeli air raids pummelling housing blocks, tunnels, a mosque, and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza, killing more than 300 people, including 20 children.

In southern Israel, Hamas gunmen were still fighting Israeli security forces 24 hours after a surprise, multi-pronged assault during a rocket barrage smashed through security barriers and army bases to send hundreds of fighters into nearby towns.

Israel’s military said it had regained control of most infiltration points, killed hundreds of Palestinian terrorists and taken dozens more prisoner but was still fighting in some places.

It said it had deployed tens of thousands of soldiers in the area surrounding Gaza, a narrow strip that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and planned to evacuate all Israelis living around the frontier of the territory.

“We’re going to be attacking Hamas severely and this is going to be a long, long haul,” a military spokesman told a briefing with reporters.

Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said the attack had been “in defence of our people,” and that the group’s militants were still engaging in covert operations.

Since Egypt and Syria suddenly attacked Israel in an effort to retake territory lost in the Yom Kippur war fifty years ago, this onslaught was the largest and deadliest incursion into Israel.

A security realignment that might jeopardise Palestinian dreams for self-determination and encircle Hamas’ biggest supporter, Iran, could be threatened by the conflict and hinder U.S.-backed efforts to normalise relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hezbollah of Lebanon, Tehran’s other primary regional partner, engaged in combat with Israel in 2006, and tensions have continued to rise ever since.

“We recommend Hezbollah not to come into this and I don’t think they will,” Israel’s army spokesperson said.

On Sunday morning, the attack’s debris was still scattered throughout southern Israeli cities and border settlements, and Israelis were in shock as they saw the bloodied remains that were left in cars, homes, and suburban streets.

At least 250 Israelis, including senior military officers, were massacred in the raid by gunmen while horrified Israelis holed in safe rooms described their predicament on live television over the phone.

Numerous captives, including soldiers and civilians, were taken hostage by fighters as they fled back into Gaza. Hamas promised to announce how many prisoners it had taken in a statement later on Sunday.

After earlier incidents when so many Israelis were captured and others were captured being hauled through security checkpoints or driven into Gaza while bleeding, this adds another level of complexity for Netanyahu.

On Sunday, Hamas continued to launch rocket salvos into Israel, air raid sirens wailed over the southern region, and the Israeli military said that it would combine the evacuation of border regions with a search for additional gunmen.

According to Netanyahu’s administration, his security council had approved measures to “for many years” disrupt the military and political capacities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another militant group. These measures included shutting off Gaza’s access to electricity, petrol, and commerce.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza started shortly after the Hamas attack and persisted through the night and into Sunday, demolishing the organization’s offices and training grounds as well as homes and other structures.

According to Palestinian health officials, the retaliatory attacks left 313 people dead in Gaza and over 2,000 more wounded.

Explosions lit up the sky with orange flashes, black smoke, and sparks. Israeli drones were audible in the sky. Israel’s military did not give early notice of strikes on civilian buildings, in contrast to several earlier rounds of operations.