Over 500 Killed As Israel-Palestine War Escalates, Residents Flee Homes

Hamas fighters breached Gaza’s security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns

More than 300 were killed in Israel in a surprise large-scale attack by the Palestinian group Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to reduce its Gaza hideouts to “rubble”. In Gaza, more than 230 have been killed in Israel’s response.

Here are the top 10 updates on this big story

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to avenge what he said was a “black day” for Israel, saying the army will strike back at Hamas in Gaza with full force. “The IDF (army) is about to use all its force to destroy Hamas’s capabilities. We’ll strike them to the bitter end and avenge with force this black day they brought on Israel and its people,” he said.

  2. The Israel military suffered significant losses as the Palestinian group claimed to have captured dozens of soldiers. “Terrorists rampaged and broke into homes, massacring civilians. Hundreds had invaded the country, hundreds were still fighting troops inside Israel,” army spokesman Richard Hecht said.

  3. As the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday, President Joe Biden voiced “rock solid and unwavering” support for Israel and warned “against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation”.

  4. Saturday’s assault, the biggest incursion into Israel in decades, coincides with US-backed moves to push Saudi Arabia towards normalising ties with Israel in return for a defence deal between Washington and Riyadh. 

  5. At about 6:30 am (local time) on Saturday, a barrage of rocket fire began from Gaza into Israel, hitting several cities including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Gedera and Ashkelon. This was followed by several Hamas fighters taking over Israeli towns.

  6. Hamas fighters breached Gaza’s security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns and military posts, opening fire on residents and passersby. The gunmen also seized security posts and overran the Erez crossing – a high security facility that channels people entering and leaving Gaza through a tight series of controls.

  7. Hamas released images of several Israelis taken captive. Bodies were strewn on the streets of the Israeli town of Sderot near Gaza and inside cars, the windscreens shattered by hails of bullets.

  8. In response to the deadly attacks, the Israel defense forces also declared a “readiness for war”. The forces launched “Operation Swords of Iron”, striking a number of targets in the Gaza Strip.

  9. The Indian embassy in Israel has asked its citizens to remain vigilant and observe safety protocols as advised by local authorities. “Please exercise caution, avoid unnecessary movement, and stay close to safety shelters,” it said in an advisory.

  10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on X, “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”

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