"I say to the residents of Gaza: leave there now, because we will work everywhere with all our strength," emphasized the Israeli head of government. With regard to the Hamas attacks, Netanyahu spoke of a "black day" for his country and the people, for which Israel would "take revenge." The Israeli army will devote all its strength to "destroying" Hamas' capabilities.
“What happened today has never happened before in Israel, and I will ensure that it does not happen again,” Netanyahu said. The head of government had previously classified Hamas' major attack as a "war".
The radical Islamic Hamas launched a new war against Israel on Saturday morning with rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, and fighters also invaded Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip. Israel responded with retaliatory attacks on the Gaza Strip. According to preliminary information, a total of more than 300 people were killed and more than 2,000 others injured on both sides within one day.
The Israeli army called their use "Iron Swords". According to her own statements, she fought against Hamas supporters in “22 locations” on Saturday evening. According to reports from an AFP journalist, the army carried out airstrikes on several buildings in the Gaza Strip shortly before midnight, while rockets continued to be fired from there. According to the Israeli army, the targets were Hamas "command centers."
By the evening, more than 200 people had been killed in Israel by Hamas attacks, the Israeli army said on the online service X, formerly Twitter. "The terrorists rioted and broke into houses and massacred civilians," it said. More than 1,000 people were also injured in the Hamas attacks.
According to Palestinian information, at least 232 people were killed and at least 1,697 other people were injured by evening. Three high-rise buildings with more than 10 floors were also destroyed in Gaza, AFP journalists observed.
US President Joe Biden assured Israel of the US's "rock-solid and unwavering" support. He also warned that this was "not the moment for any hostile anti-Israel party to take advantage of these attacks."
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in view of the current crisis. Blinken called on “all leaders in the region” to condemn the attacks on Israel. According to US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, Blinken also spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Schukri about the "urgency of an immediate cessation" of the fighting. Egypt is considered an important mediator between Israel and Hamas.
The United Nations called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council for Sunday to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
Hamas' unprecedented major attack began at around 6:30 a.m. local time on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah and apparently took Israel completely by surprise. Hamas spoke of over 5,000 rockets that it fired at Israel in its "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" and that not all of them could be intercepted by Israel's missile defense system. Explosions were also heard as far away as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
At the same time, Hamas fighters advanced into Israeli territory on foot, in vehicles, boats and even motorized paragliders. They attacked the surprised Israeli soldiers on the heavily secured border with the Gaza Strip and also civilians in the middle of the street.
In the afternoon, the Israeli army confirmed that Israeli soldiers and civilians had also been taken hostage and some had been kidnapped. The army did not initially provide any figures.
Hundreds of people fled their homes in northern Gaza with food and blankets, an AFP journalist reported. Violence also escalated in the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem. Six Palestinians were killed and another 120 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007. Since then, Israel has maintained a strict blockade of the narrow coastal strip.