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Israel Hits Back After Hamas Attack Kills Over 1000 People

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In retribution for one of the worst attacks in modern history, in which the Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and kidnapped dozens more, Israel bombarded the Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Sunday, killing hundreds of civilians.

As the deadliest such incursion since Egypt and Syria’s attacks during the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago, Hamas rebels’ rampage into Israeli villages on Saturday has threatened to start another inferno in the protracted conflict.

Following the threat of “mighty vengeance” made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli air raids on Gaza’s housing blocks, tunnels, mosque, and homes of senior Hamas figures resulted in the deaths of more than 400 people, including 20 children.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said, “The price the Gaza Strip will pay will be a very heavy one that will change reality for generations.” The town of Ofakim suffered casualties and had hostages taken.

Beyond the border of the blockaded Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, which is backed by Iran, traded artillery and rocket fire, while two Israeli tourists and a tour guide were shot and killed in Egypt.

Worldwide calls for moderation were made, however the majority of Western countries supported Israel, while Iran, Hezbollah, and demonstrators in different Middle Eastern countries praised Hamas.

On Sunday, more than 24 hours after their surprise, multi-pronged attack of missile barrages and gangs of gunmen who overran army bases and raided border towns, Hamas gunmen were still battling Israeli security forces in southern Israel.

“My two little girls, they’re only babies. They’re not even five years old and three years old.” Yoni Asher recalled witnessing video of Palestinian militants capturing his wife and two young girls after she took them to meet her mother.

At a press conference, Uri David stated that he spoke to his daughters, Tair and Odaya, over the phone for 30 minutes during an attack until they stopped responding to him and that he was unaware of their whereabouts. He sobbed, “I heard shooting, shouting in Arabic, and I told them to lie on the ground and hold hands.”

The Israeli military, which is under scrutiny for failing to stop the attack, claimed to have retaken control of most points of entry along security barriers, killed hundreds of terrorists, and captured dozens more. The military claimed to have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers surrounding Gaza, a small area inhabited by 2.3 million Palestinians, and to be beginning the evacuation of Israelis along the border.

“This is my fifth war. The war should stop. I don’t want to keep feeling this,” said Qassab al-Attar, a Palestinian wheelchair user in Gaza whose brothers carried him to shelter.

Israel has not provided an official death toll, although its media reported that at least 700 people, including children, died. Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman, referred to incident as “the worst massacre of innocent civilians in Israel’s history.”

Several Americans were killed by Hamas assailants, a representative for the White House National Security Council acknowledged, adding that the United States would keep a careful eye on the situation.

The unexpected flare-up would jeopardise US-backed efforts to normalise relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a security realignment that might jeopardise Palestinian aspirations for independence and encircle Hamas’ main supporter, Iran.

Hezbollah of Lebanon, Tehran’s other major regional ally, said that its “guns and rockets” support Hamas and engaged in hostilities with Israel in 2006.

According to Israeli media, over 30 Israelis who were missing after a shooting at a dance party have come forward. This brings the total number of fatalities at the outdoor gathering to 260.

Numerous captives, including children and the elderly, soldiers and civilians, were taken by Palestinian fighters and sent to Gaza. Islamic Jihad, a second Palestinian extremist organisation, claimed to be holding more than 30 of the hostages.

After previous incidents where hostages were traded for a large number of Palestinian captives, Netanyahu is left perplexed by the abduction of so many Israelis, some of whom were driven through security checkpoints or transported into Gaza while bleeding.

A Mexican man and lady were thought to be among the hostages.

Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, “The cruel reality is that Hamas took hostages as an insurance policy against Israeli retaliation, particularly a massive ground attack, and to trade for Palestinian prisoners.”

In a post on the social networking site X, Vice President Joe Biden stated that he had spoken to Netanyahu for the second day in a row and offered “my full support for the people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.”

As a sign of solidarity for Israel, U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that he had sent the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean and would soon start supplying new armaments to Washington’s closest Middle Eastern ally.

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