In a shocking turn of events, Israel has formally declared a state of war following an unprecedented attack by Hamas. The death toll from this assault has risen above 700 and is expected to further increase. As of Monday afternoon, the toll was updated to 800.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has reported that over 100 hostages have been taken to the Gaza Strip. Contrary to this, Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed on Sunday night that they were holding approximately 130 Israeli hostages, including high-ranking army officials.
Israeli jets launched intense airstrikes on targets in Gaza on Sunday afternoon. This move came shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that the country was officially at war, granting it the authority to execute significant military activities.
Hamas gunmen infiltrated as many as 22 locations in southern Israel on Saturday morning. These gunmen roamed freely in some areas, targeting both civilians and soldiers. Concurrently, thousands of rockets were launched at towns in the southern and central regions of Israel.
The nation is in shock and outrage due to the chaos and prolonged failure to control the situation. Questions are being raised about the intelligence, deployment, and policy failures that allowed such a catastrophe to occur.
The death toll is considered the bloodiest day in the nation’s history. Over 700 people were killed in the massive assault launched by Hamas terrorists in Israeli communities near Gaza and by the thousands of rockets fired into Israel.
Hamas, meanwhile, has threatened to kill hostages if the Israeli army carried out air strikes without prior warning targeting residents of the Gaza Strip.
The Health Ministry reported that the number of wounded individuals in hospitals had reached 2,243, with 22 in critical condition and 343 seriously wounded.
In addition to the casualties, Hamas gunmen have abducted an unknown number of civilians and soldiers into Gaza. Social media platforms are flooded with distressing videos of men, women, and children being taken into the Strip. Some videos even show dead Israelis, including soldiers, being paraded on the streets.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has established a situation room to gather accurate information regarding the Israeli hostages held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF has also been actively targeting Hamas assembly areas used to launch attacks against Israel. Over 50 fighter jets targeted 120 sites in the Beit Hanoun neighborhood. In total, the IDF has struck approximately 800 sites since the onset of the conflict.
On the northern border with Lebanon, the Hezbollah terror group shelled Israeli positions, leading to Israeli counterstrikes. This has raised concerns about a potential second-front opening in the war.
Israel has received widespread support from Western governments and leaders, many of whom have condemned the Hamas assault and the systematic abduction of civilians.