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Israel’s air force says it has struck several Hamas compounds, including one belonging to the head of intelligence, across the Gaza Strip as its retaliatory strikes against the militant group are well underway. 

Drone footage, taken over the last 24 hours and released by the military branch, shows a group of Hamas fighters being attacked from the sky as they try to cross into Israeli territory. 

At least seven armed men can be seen moving, before being consumed by a fireball caused by an Israeli missile. 

The footage also shows a drone attack on a car that is driving at high speeds through the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians.

It comes as the air force said it hit 150 targets so far, including banks, weapons factories and the homes and compounds of key Hamas leaders. 

At least seven armed fighters were seen in the drone footage

They were consumed by an explosion, though their fates have not yet been confirmed

The attack on the militants come as Israel’s retaliatory strikes are well underway 

The country’s air force says it has targeted 150 sites

Drone footage of a car being blown up was released 

The car was travelling at high speeds before it was consumed in a fireball

The military branch announced in a post to X, formerly Twitter, early on Sunday morning that it had ordered a missile strike on a compound belonging to Hamas’ head of intelligence, along with a video of a purported attack. 

It said: ‘A short while ago, IAF fighter jets struck a compound belonging to the head of the intelligence department in the Hamas terrorist organization.

‘The IAF is currently continuing to strike terror targets in the Gaza Strip.’

The short black-and-white clip, shared to social media, shows a missile cruising into a house in a densely built up area, before smoke and fire begin pouring out of the building. 

On top of this, it said it targeted two banks ‘belonging to Hamas terror organisation for terror funds’, an  ‘aerial weapons production’ site belonging to the ‘Islamic Jihad terrorist organisation’, and a building ‘including offices and storage units’ where weapons and military equipment were stored. 

Palestinian officials claim that since Saturday, Israel’s retaliatory strikes have claimed the lives of 313 civilians, while nearly 2,000 have been injured. 

Israel has reportedly lost about as many, with the country’s embassy in Turkey quoting Israel’s health ministry figures that claim that at least 300 Israelis have been killed, while close to 2,000 people are being treated in hospitals. 

19 people are said to be in a critical condition. 

Israel’s air force claims it targeted the compound used by Hamas’ intelligence chief

The compound was blown up by a missile fired early on Sunday morning

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

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

The surprise attack began on Saturday morning after Hamas fighters blitzed into Israel on motorised paragliders during a lightning offensive, while thousands of rockets rained down across the south of the country. 

Footage showed squads of Palestinians on suicide missions swooping over the border on the aircraft, spreading fear and chaos among cowering families below before landing and opening fire on Israeli civilians and soldiers alike.  

Fighters fired some 2,500 missiles into Israel from 7am UK time. As they rained down on major towns, and even as far as Tel Aviv nearly 50 miles away, fighters used explosives to break through the border fence. 

Israel as since begun retaliating, striking Gaza and flattening residential buildings in massive explosions, including a 14-storey tower that was home to dozens of families. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today warned that Israel faces a ‘long and difficult war’ with Palestine, telling reporters after a meeting of the country’s security cabinet early on Sunday that it had now begun its ‘offensive phase.’

Israeli airstrike hits Al-Watan Tower in Gaza City, causing it to collapse

Netanyahu, 73, claimed that Israel has already destroyed the ‘vast majority of the enemy forces that infiltrated our territory.’

The Israeli ambassador to the UK has said the country’s reality has ‘become a nightmare’ and said its military needs to defend its people.

Tzipi Hotovely told BBC Breakfast: ‘Israel is in a war that Hamas started yesterday. Calculated. Planned. Targeting Israelis, targeting civilians, targeting innocent children.

‘We saw Prime Minister Sunak, we saw President Biden yesterday, they’re supporting Israel’s right for self-defence, because we are in a reality that has become a nightmare.

‘We can’t do anything else… we need to protect our people.

People standing on a rooftop watch as a ball of fire and smoke rises above a building in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike that hit the Palestine Tower building on Saturday

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon in southern Israel early Sunday

People assess the destruction cause by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on Saturday. Israel has launched a counterstrike against Hamas militants after a sneak attack that killed hundreds

‘This is a necessity war. (Israel) wasn’t expecting this to happen (but) we need to make sure the infrastructure of terrorism is 100 per cent destroyed.’

 UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said last night in a post to X: ‘As the barbarity of today’s atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel. 

‘This attack by Hamas is cowardly and depraved. We have expressed our full solidarity to [Benjamin Netanyahu] and will work with international partners in the next 24 hours to co-ordinate support.’

US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said he ‘unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza’, and said ‘we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel’.

‘Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people,’ he added.

At the White House, he went on national television to say Israel had the right to defend itself, issuing a blunt warning to Iran and other countries: ‘This is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage. The world is watching.’

More than 2200 missiles launched from Gaza rained down on Israel 

Images coming out of Israel after the missile attacks horrified the world

Residents look at the wreckage of destroyed vehicles in Ashkelon following a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on October 7

The United States has been seeking a deal to normalize ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, seen by Israelis as the biggest prize yet in their decades-long quest for Arab recognition.

Palestinians fear any such agreement could sell out their dreams of an independent state.

Osama Hamdan, the leader of Hamas in Lebanon, told Reuters that Saturday’s operation should make Arab states realize that accepting Israeli security demands would not bring peace.

Across the Middle East, there were demonstrations in support of Hamas, with Israeli and US flags set on fire and marchers waving Palestinian flags in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Iran and Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese allies, praised the Hamas attack.

Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri told Al Jazeera the group was holding a large number of Israeli captives, including senior officials.

In footage posted to TikTok revelers appeared to be oblivious to the impending terror floating hundreds of feet above their heads in the distance 

He said Hamas had enough captives to make Israel free all Palestinians in its jails.

Hamas said the attack was driven by what it called escalated Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

That Israel was caught completely off guard was lamented as one of the worst intelligence failures in its history, a shock to a nation that boasts of its intensive infiltration and monitoring of militants.

The war has already seemingly spilled outwards to neighbouring countries.  

Israel has been pounding Lebanon with artillery strikes today after claiming there had been ‘shooting’ directed towards it from its northern neighbour. 

Columns of heavy weaponry including tanks and armored personnel carriers were also spotted moving north toward Israel’s border with Lebanon and Syria, after Iran-backed Hezbollah said it was striking Israel in ‘solidarity with the Palestinian resistance.’

Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for Israel’s armed forces, said the military was looking into the incident but that it had not been an ‘all out’ attack from Lebanon. 

He urged Hizbollah, which has a strong presence in southern Lebanon, not to enter the fighting, telling the FT: ‘I don’t think they will. But if they do, we are ready.’

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

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