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Hamas gunmen have reportedly started taking hostages off the streets of Israel as the war with Israel takes a chilling new turn.

Horrifying new footage emerging this afternoon showed women marched into vehicles, bloodied and bruised, as the death toll nears 300.

Earlier today, pictures showed Israeli civilian pensioners captured in Israel and taken into the Gaza Strip on golf carts.

Thomas Helm, Jerusalem Correspondent at The National spoke to MailOnline from Jerusalem today. He said the hostage situation set a dangerous tone for how the conflict could develop.

‘There are reports that [the Palestinians] have taken an Israeli General hostage, entire families have been taken, point blank killings… wars have been started where one Israeli hostage was taken and now it seems like there could be about 60.

‘So it couldn’t be worse. Every Israeli I have spoken to, their voices have been quivering.’

Footage appeared to show hostages being taken by Hamas militants into Gaza earlier today

Israeli civilians were purportedly taken off the street and driven back into Gaza

One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart accompanied with three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip

Another image showed a woman, who is being held hostage, holding a gun and putting her hands up in a peace sign alongside a member of Hamas in a balaclava

Hamas claimed to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel from the occupied Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Hamas, the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip, claims to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel today, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The Palestinians appear to have the upper hand, continuing to launch strikes across Israel. With little incentive to de-escalate, onlookers worry the clashes could go on.

Thomas Helm told MailOnline today: ‘It really depends what Hamas wants out of this. I’ve heard comments from Hamas officials saying “we now have enough hostages to free every single Palestinian prisoner in prisoner exchanges.”‘ 

He added: ‘The most safe way of getting hostages back is exchanging prisoners, but do you want to exchange mass prisoners at a time like this? Probably not.’ 

Israel’s army this afternoon acknowledged ‘soldiers, civilians kidnapped’ by Hamas.

From Israel’s perspective, the surprise attack has been ‘humiliating’, undermining intelligence efforts and overwhelming the Iron Dome defence system.

‘Israel has an amazing intelligence network but Gaza is sealed off. And no matter how good your intelligence is, if you don’t have people on the ground you don’t know the full picture.

‘This is a catastrophic intelligence failure, perhaps the worst intelligence in Israeli history. People have been describing it as their 9/11.’

‘There will be a huge response. We never want to say that for certain, but I think now we can because Israel is humiliated and they are obsessed with deterrence.’

Israel has vowed to exact revenge on Palestinian militants after they launched the surprise attack, warning Hamas that they had made a ‘grave mistake’. 

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023

A man runs in the road as fires burn in Ashkelon, Israel, following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip initiated by Islamic militant group Hamas

A rocket is launched from the coastal Gaza strip towards Israel by militants of the Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam militia, the military wing of Hamas movement, in Gaza City, 7 October 2023

Palestinians wave their national flag and celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip fence east of Khan Younis southern Saturday, October 7, 2023

Residents living close to Israel’s border with Gaza have been ordered to stay inside and others have been evacuated after Hamas militants infiltrated the country by land, sea and air and launched a fusillade of missile strikes. 

A resident of Be’eri, Kibbutz, named Ella told Channel 12 that she is hearing ‘lots of gunfire’ nearby. 

Another resident from the south is worried that his family have been snatched and taken into the Gaza Strip. 

He said his wife and daughters have disappeared and that he has tried to ring them, but nobody is answering. 

He then tracked his wife’s phone, which says that it is in the Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

This comes as there are unconfirmed reports that Hamas gunmen are holding hostages at the Kibbutz. 

Around 50 Israelis of all ages are thought to have been taken hostage by Hamas gunmen in Beeri Kibbutz near the Gaza border, according to channel N12.

Pictures show senior Israeli women being transported on golf carts and motorcycles from Kibbutz into the Gaza Strip. 

One grandmother was wedged in between two members of Hamas on a motorcycle. One of them was holding a sizable gun. 

One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart, accompanied by three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip. 

Another image showed a woman holding a gun and putting her hands up in a peace sign alongside a member of Hamas in a balaclava.

A senior leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, said that the group had enough hostages to make Israel free all its Palestinian prisoners.

The murder of civilians has drawn widespread condemnation from world leaders and prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say the country is at ‘war’.

Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the militants will pay an ‘unprecedented price’ after their attacks killed at least 40 Israelis; Palestinian officials have since claimed 161 people have been killed in retaliatory strikes by Israel.

Speaking in a televised address, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said that Hamas had made a ‘grave mistake…and launched a war against the State of Israel’ – vowing that ‘Israel will win’.

Israel has rallied troops as the conflict deepens, despite calls from world leaders to de-escalate. 

Thomas Helm told MailOnline: ‘This call up of reservists is natural at moments like this. But I haven’t seen anything to suggest that a coordinated response is happening… They keep very quiet about very sensitive things… but I mean, something big is coming. 

‘It’s not going to be organised. It’s going to be messy and it’s going to last a long time. It’s just obviously unprecedented.’

‘It’s just impossible to comprehend,’ he said of the situation this afternoon. ‘If you had asked me to imagine a worse case scenario yesterday, I don’t think I could have come up with one short of a nuclear attack.’

Thomas Helm told MailOnline today the situation in Israel ‘couldn’t be worse’

Hamas claimed to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel from the occupied Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Emerging footage shows horrific scenes, including Palestinian groups celebrating as they paraded the naked body of a female IDF soldier on a truck through Gaza.

The coordinated attack has seen border fences broken down, tanks immobilised, dozens of hostages reportedly taken and residential buildings targeted by airstrikes.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘shocked’ by the attacks, writing on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. We’re in contact with Israeli authorities, and British nationals in Israel should follow travel advice.’

Videos on social media appeared to show armed troops from the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ militant arm, moving through built-up areas firing weapons as Israeli residents were evacuated from their homes following air strikes. 

In a statement posted on Telegram, Hamas called on ‘the resistance fighters in the West Bank’ as well as ‘our Arab and Islamic nations’ to join the battle. 

In remarks reported by CNN, militant commander Deif said: ‘If you have a gun, get it out. This is the time to use it – get out with trucks, cars, axes. Today the best and most honorable history starts.’

‘Today the people are regaining their revolution,’ he added, in other statements reported by AP, as he called on Palestinians from east Jerusalem to northern Israel to ‘expel the occupiers and demolish the walls.’

In response, Israeli forces have vowed that Hamas will ‘face the consequences and responsibility for these events’.

It has started striking targets in Gaza in response, and deployed countermeasures to repel further air attacks – prompting further rocket launches from inside the blockaded territory. 

In a filmed statement posted on X, following the attacks, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the incursion was a ‘murderous surprise attack’, adding: ‘We are at war, not an operation, not rounds, but at war.’

Hamas has controlled the Strip since winning the 2006 parliamentary elections and toppling rival party Fatah in a power struggle during the bloody Battle of Gaza in 2007. 

At least 118 people were killed and more than 550 wounded during the fighting up to June 15, 2007, as Hamas militants ousted Fatah officials and took power.

In response, Israel imposed a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. 

The conflict brought an end to the ‘unity government’ administering Gaza and the West Bank, with the Palestinian National Authority overseeing the eastern territory independently.

While the Palestinian National Authority still lays claim to Gaza, the city remains under the control of Hamas.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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