Over 600 soldiers killed as Hamas surprises Israel

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Over 600 soldiers killed as Hamas surprises Israel

370 Palestinians martyred; many foreign nationals go missing; Israel hurls threats to demolish Gaza Strip

News Desk

RAMALLAH: More than 600 Israelis have been killed in attacks from Gaza since Saturday, the government says It’s believed that as many as 100 soldiers and civilians were kidnapped when Palestinian fighters crossed the border and raided communities

Retaliatory Israeli air strikes have killed at least 370 people in the Gaza Strip, with 2,200 wounded, Palestinian officials say

One British citizen, Jake Marlowe, is missing in Israel – he was working at an outdoor party near the Gaza border when the attack happened

And in Egypt, two Israeli tourists and their Egyptian tour guide were shot dead in Alexandria, apparently by a policeman

The wave of attacks launched by the Hamas militant group on Saturday morning is the biggest escalation in decades between the two sides.

Israeli forces battled holdout Hamas fighters and pounded targets in the Gaza Strip with the army saying tens of thousands of soldiers were deployed in southern desert regions near the coastal enclave, to rescue Israeli hostages and then evacuate the entire region within 24 hours.

“We´ll reach each and every community till we kill every terrorist in Israel,” said military spokesperson Daniel Hagari, a day after hundreds of Hamas fighters crossed into Israel in vehicles, boats and even using paragliders.

“Our mission for the upcoming 24 hours is to evacuate all residents” from communities around the Gaza Strip, he told journalists.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, seven Palestinians were martyred by Israeli gunfire in the same period, the report added.

Six of them, including a 13-year-old boy, were martyred during stone throwing clashes in separate incidents while the seventh man was martyred as he tried to stab an Israeli, the health ministry statement said. 

Hamas said its unprecedented offensive by land, air and sea was in response to the desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as Israeli atrocities against Palestinians over the decades. These include the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians as well as the growth of illegal settlements, according to Al Jazeera.

Mohammed Deif, a Hamas military commander, said the time has come “for the enemy to understand… they cannot keep going without consequences”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to turn the besieged Palestinian enclave into a “deserted island”.

“We will take mighty vengeance for this wicked day,” PM Netanyahu said.

“Hamas launched a cruel and wicked war. We will win this war but the price is too heavy to bear,” he said. “Hamas wants to murder us all. This is an enemy that murders mothers and children in their homes, in their beds. An enemy that abducts elderly, children, teenage girls.”