Death Toll Tops 500: Exploring Big Updates On Israel-Palestine War
In one of the most serious escalations in the Israel-Palestine conflict in decades, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel early on Saturday.
More than 300 people have been killed in Israel, with at least 230 reported dead in Gaza owing to Israel’s response. A number of countries have expressed solidarity with Israel.
Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced support for Hamas on Saturday, calling the deadly attack a “proud operation”.
Biden Voices “Rock Solid And Unwavering” Support For Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to avenge what he said was a “black day” for the country, stressing the army will strike back at Hamas with full force.
“The IDF is about to use all its force to destroy Hamas’s capabilities. We will strike them to the bitter end and avenge with force this black day they brought on Israel and its people.”
As the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday, US President Joe Biden voiced “rock solid and unwavering” support for Israel.
Netanyahu Vows To Avenge “Black Day” With Full Force
Saturday’s assault was the biggest incursion into Israel in decades. At about 6:30 AM local time, a barrage of rocket fire began from Gaza, hitting several Israeli cities including Tel Aviv.
This was followed by a number of Hamas fighters taking over Israeli towns. The gunmen breached Gaza’s security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns and military posts.
The Palestinian group released images of several Israelis taken captive. Bodies were strewn on the streets and inside cars, with windscreens shattered by hails of bullets.
Israel Launches “Operation Swords Of Iron” Amid War Escalation
In response to the surprise attack, the Israel Defence Forces launched “Operation Swords Of Iron”, striking a number of targets in the Gaza Strip.
The military took on critical blows too as Hamas claimed to have captured dozens of soldiers. “Terrorists … broke into homes, massacring civilians,” army spokesman Richard Hecht said.
The assault coincides with US-supported moves to push Saudi Arabia toward normalising ties with Israel in return for a milestone defence agreement between Washington and Riyadh.