Israel fights Hamas the next day and exchanges fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

TEL AVIV, Israel (APP) – Israeli troops battled Hamas fighters in the streets of southern Israel on Sunday and launched counterattacks that leveled buildings in Gaza, while Lebanon’s Hezbollah in northern Israel. A brief exchange of fire with the militant group raised fears of a wider attack. The conflict

The battle continued for more than 24 hours An unprecedented surprise attack From Gaza, in which thousands of rockets helped Hamas militants break through Israel’s security barrier and infiltrate nearby communities. At least 600 people were reportedly killed in Israel – a staggering number not seen by the country in decades – and more than 300 in Gaza.

The militants also took captives back to the coastal Gaza enclave, including women, children and the elderly, who they will likely try to trade for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Secretary of State Anthony Blanken told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the United States is working to confirm reports that several Americans are dead or missing.

The high death toll, the number of captives and the slow response to the attack pointed to a major intelligence failure and undermined the long-held perception that Israel had omnipresent eyes and There are mines that he has controlled for decades.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the country is at war and will pay a heavy price to its enemies. His security cabinet officially declared the country at war on Sunday, saying the decision formally “authorizes the taking of significant military measures.”

The implications of the announcement were not immediately clear. Israel has conducted major military campaigns in Lebanon and Gaza over the past four decades in what it has described as wars, but without any formal declaration.

Yohanan Plessner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, a local think tank, said the decision was largely symbolic, but “it shows that the government understands that we are entering a long, intense and critical period of war. are.”

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Saturday, October 7, 2023.  The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented, multi-pronged attack on Israel early Saturday morning.  , fired thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated multiple locations along the heavily fortified border by air, land and sea, catching the country off guard on a major holiday.  (AP Photo/Fatima Shabbir)

Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building in Gaza City as a result of an Israeli airstrike. (AP Photo/Fatima Shabbir)

A big question was whether Israel would launch a ground attack on Gaza, a move that has caused heavy casualties in the past. Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would “pay an unprecedented price.” But he warned: “This battle will take time. It will be difficult.”

The citizens had to pay a heavy price for violence from both sides. Several Israeli media cited rescue service officials as saying that at least 600 people were killed in Israel, including 44 soldiers, while Gaza officials said 313 people were killed in the area. About 2,000 people have been injured on each side. An Israeli official said that security forces have killed 400 militants and arrested dozens.

Israeli TV news broadcast a series of accounts from relatives of captured or missing Israelis, crying and pleading for help amid a fog of uncertainty about the fate of their loved ones. In Gaza, residents fled their homes near the border to escape Israeli attacks, fleeing deeper into the territory after warnings in Arabic from the Israeli army.

In neighboring Egypt, a police officer shot dead two Israeli tourists and an Egyptian at a tourist attraction in Alexandria, the Interior Ministry said. Egypt made peace with Israel decades ago, but anti-Israel sentiment runs high in the country, especially during the Israeli-Palestinian violence.

The flare-up on Israel’s northern border also threatened to draw in Hezbollah, Israel’s arch-enemy, which is backed by Iran and has tens of thousands of rockets.

Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells at three Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border on Sunday, and the Israeli army returned fire using armed drones. According to the nearby Marjawan Hospital, two children were slightly injured by broken glass on the Lebanese side.

Israeli Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters that the situation on the northern border is calm after the exchange. But he said fighting was still going on in the south.

He said troops had moved into every community near the Gaza border, where they planned to evacuate all civilians and cordon off the area for militants.

“We will go through every community until we kill every terrorist in the land of Israel,” he said. In Gaza, “Every terrorist in a house, every commander in a house, will be targeted by Israeli fire. It will continue to increase in the coming hours.”

A Palestinian celebrates by a burning Israeli civilian car taken from Kafra Izza Kibbutz in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip, on Saturday, October 7, 2023.  The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented, multi-pronged attack on Israel in the early hours of the morning.  On Saturday, thousands of rockets were fired as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated several points along the heavily fortified border by air, land and sea, catching the country off guard on a major holiday.  (AP Photo/Ali Mehmood)

A Palestinian celebrates by a burning Israeli civilian car taken from Kafra Azza Kibbutz in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Ali Mehmood)

Hamas said it “continues to send troops and equipment overnight to multiple locations inside our occupied territories,” referring to Israel. Hamas-affiliated media reported that Nizar Awadullah’s son, a A senior political official has been killed. The Islamic militant group has not reported any senior members being captured, killed or injured.

Saturday’s surprise attack was the deadliest to hit Israel in decades. I An attack of shocking magnitudeHamas gunmen used explosives to breach the border fence with Gaza, then crossed the coast on motorcycles, pickup trucks, paragliders and speedboats.

They entered 22 locations outside the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, including towns and other communities within 24 kilometers (15 miles) of the Gaza border, while Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli towns.

Israel hit 426 targets in Gaza, its military said, as large explosions demolished residential buildings.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said more than 20,000 Palestinians left the Gaza border to go further into the territory and take shelter in UN schools.

In a televised address on Saturday night, Netanyahu said the military would use all its might to destroy Hamas’ capabilities.

“Get out now,” he told Gazans, who have no choice but to leave the tiny Mediterranean enclave. Since the takeover by Hamas militants in 2007, Gaza’s 2.3 million people have faced a border blockade, enforced to varying degrees by Israel and Egypt.

In Gaza, much of the population was plunged into darkness on Saturday night after Israel cut power and said it would no longer supply electricity, fuel or other supplies to the area.

Hamas said it planned a long fight.

“We are ready for all options, including all-out war,” Saleh al-Aruri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, told Al Jazeera TV.

Israel has a history of conducting very one-way exchanges to bring captive Israelis home. The military confirmed that a “substantial” number of Israelis were abducted on Saturday, without giving exact figures.

An Egyptian official said Israel sought help from Cairo to ensure the safety of the hostages, and Egypt’s intelligence chief contacted Hamas and the smaller but more radical Islamic Jihad group, which took part in the attack. To get information. Egypt has often mediated between the two sides in the past.

Palestinian leaders claimed they did not yet have a “full picture” of the hostages, but said those brought to Gaza had been taken to “safe havens” across the territory, the official said. .

“It’s clear there are a large number of them – several dozen,” said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Egypt also discussed a possible ceasefire with the two sides, but the official said Israel was not ready for a ceasefire “at this stage”.

In Iran, which has long supported Hamas and other militant groups, President Ibrahim Raisi praised the Palestinian nation’s “legitimate defense” and said Israel and its supporters “must be held accountable.” State news agency IRNA reported on Sunday that Raisi spoke by phone with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhla.

Mohammed Daif, the shadowy leader of Hamas’ military wing, said the attack, dubbed “Operation al-Aqsa Storm,” was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, and a series of recent incidents between Israel and Palestine. has given rise to tension between toward the fever.

Over the past year, Israel’s far-right government has… The construction of the township was accelerated. In the occupied West Bank Violence against Israeli settlers Hundreds of Palestinians have been displaced there, and tensions have flared around Al-Aqsa Mosque. A Flashpoint Jerusalem Holy Place.


Shurafa reported from Gaza City. Associated Press writers Isabel Debre, Julia Frankel and Joseph Federman in Jerusalem; Essam Adwan in Rafah, Gaza Strip; Basim die in Beirut; Sami Magdi in Cairo; and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.

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