The worst Hamas attacks in modern history, in which the Islamist organization Hamas murdered 700 Israelis and kidnapped dozens more, Israel bombarded the Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Sunday, killing hundreds of civilians.
The death toll in Israel was 1,100 on Sunday after the Hamas attack, the bloodiest strike on Israeli territory in 50 years. Israel then formally declared war on Hamas.
Beyond the blockaded Gaza Strip border, Israeli soldiers and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, which Iran backs, traded artillery and rocket fire. In contrast, two Israeli tourists and a tour guide were shot and killed in Egypt.
Worldwide calls for moderation were made. However, most Western countries supported Israel, while Iran, Hezbollah, and demonstrators in several 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 facilities and raided border towns, Hamas gunmen were still battling Israeli security forces in southern Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “long and difficult” war ahead. He sent thousands of Israeli forces to battle remaining Hamas attackers in south Israel while the air force once more bombed targets in the Gaza Strip.
The Israel and Palestine conflict, which is being considered as the biggest escalation in decades, prompted Netanyahu’s warning. Check the latest Israel Updates.
According to Reuters, the most recent fighting has resulted in 700 deaths on the Israeli side and over 400 deaths, including 20 children, in Gaza. Both sides have also sustained thousands of injuries.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers were sent into the south to engage stubborn Hamas militants, where dead civilians had been discovered scattered throughout streets and town squares.
After the strike, as darkness set, a military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, told reporters, “The enemy is still on the ground,” adding that Israel was bolstering its military might close to the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army engaged in fierce gun fights as it attempted to capture the desert areas close to the coastal enclave, free Israeli hostages, and evacuate all nearby localities.
A day after hundreds of Hamas gunmen started their surprise onslaught and poured into Israel using trucks, boats, and even motorized paragliders, Hagari pledged, “We’ll reach every community until we kill every terrorist in Israel.”
At least 100 Israelis were taken captive by a Hamas attack and taken to Gaza, causing shock and outrage throughout the country. Pictures of the bruised hostages and bereaved families asking the government to save them circulated on social media.
Yifat Zailer, 37, expressed her horror after seeing internet video footage of her female cousin and the woman’s children, who were nine months and three years old, in Gaza.