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Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night declared that Israel will take ‘mighty vengeance for this black day’ as warplanes launched a retaliatory strikes against Hamas.

Airstrikes yesterday flattened several buildings in the centre of Gaza City, including an 11-storey building called Palestine Tower which houses Hamas radio stations on its rooftop.

Seventeen Hamas compounds were also hit as dozens of fighter jets launched strikes against the terror group.

Israel’s military has mobilised tens of thousands of reservists and is now expected to launch a huge ground operation in Gaza.

The country’s energy and infrastructure minister Israel Katz said Israel will cut off its electricity supply to the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night declared that Israel will take ‘mighty vengeance for this black day’ as warplanes launched a retaliatory strikes against Hamas

Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, October 7

‘I have signed an order instructing Israel’s electric company to stop the electricity supply to Gaza,’ Mr Katz said in a statement.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, an Israeli army spokesman, last night told reporters fighting is still going on at 22 locations on Israeli territory after Hamas terrorists attacked early on Saturday.

He said a ‘severe hostage situation’ was ongoing at Be’eri, a kibbutz in southern Israel, and the nearby town of Ofakim, where Hamas fighters are believed to have taken both Israeli soldiers and civilians hostage.

Earlier, in a statement filmed at Israel Defence forces headquarters in Tel Aviv, Mr Netanyahu declared ‘we are at war’ and said Hamas will pay ‘an unprecedented price’ for its attacks on Israel.

He said: ‘Citizens of Israel, we are at war. Not an operation, not a round [of fighting,] at war!’

He announced that he was launching an ‘extensive mobilisation of the reserves to fight back on a scale and intensity that the enemy has so far not experienced’.

In a further statement, the PM vowed Israel would ‘reach every place Hamas is hiding’. He says the terrorist group is responsible for the wellbeing of the more than 50 captives it has seized. ‘Israel will settle the score with anyone who harms them,’ he added.

Israeli forces have mounted strikes against targets in Gaza City following attacks on Saturday

A tower block in Gaza City is hit by an Israeli airstrike after Palestinian militants struck Israel

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

Medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said a nurse and an ambulance driver were killed in Israeli strikes on two hospitals in Gaza. Israel fired a warning just before its devastating strike against the Palestine Tower.

Video footage showed the building erupting in flames as a blitz of six bombs smashed into it. The number of casualties was not immediately known. Soon after, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into central Israel, hitting four cities, including Tel Aviv and a nearby suburb, where two people were seriously injured.

Meanwhile, Israel was last night facing questions over its ‘colossal failure’ to foresee and prevent the unprecedented attacks from Gaza.

Hamas rocket and drone attacks were coupled with hundreds of gunmen rushing through breaches in the vast border fence to little apparent opposition, after which they spent Saturday indiscriminately killing civilians, seizing hostages and spreading terror.

Commentators were shocked at how such a major attack could have preserved the element of total surprise, despite Israel’s cutting-edge military and sophisticated intelligence services.

Netanyahu announced that he was launching an ‘extensive mobilisation of the reserves to fight back on a scale and intensity that the enemy has so far not experienced’. Pictured: Fire and smoke rises above Gaza after an Israeli air strike

moke and flames rise after Israeli forces airstrikes as clashes continue between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups

‘All of Israel is asking itself: Where is the IDF, where is the police, where is the security? It’s a colossal failure; the hierarchies have simply failed, with vast consequences’, Eli Maron, the former head of the Israeli Navy, said.

Others compared the attack to the beginning of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, which also began with surprise Arab attacks on the eponymous High Holy Day, before Israel launched a successful fightback.

Asked by reporters how Hamas had managed to catch the military off guard, Lt Col Hecht replied: ‘That’s a good question.’

Theories quickly began circulating in Israeli media. Some suggested protests near the Gaza border fence could have been used to disguise operations.

Others blamed the distraction caused by recent political battles over judicial reforms that were pushed forward by the PM and his far-Right coalition partners.

Liberal and Left-wing opponents said they would weaken the rule of law and potentially usher in dictatorship, leading to hundreds of military reservists threatening to stop reporting for duty.

Mainstream protest groups yesterday cancelled further demonstrations and urged supporters to rally to the defence of Israel, ‘without hesitation and immediately’ in light of events.

The shadowy leader of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, said the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, violence at Al Aqsa – the disputed Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount – increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians and growth of settlements.

He said the morning attack was only the start of what he called ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Storm’.

The Israel-Palestine conflict: recent events in a decades-long dispute

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas launched its biggest assault on Israel in years early on Saturday, firing a barrage of rockets from Gaza and sending fighters across the border.

Israel said it was on a war footing and began its own strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, with Israeli media reporting gun battles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in southern Israel.

The following timeline, which begins with Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, details the major flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups in the crowded coastal enclave, which is home to 2.3 million people.

August 2005: Israeli forces unilaterally withdraw from Gaza 38 years after capturing it from Egypt in the Middle East war, abandoning settlements and leaving the enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Jan. 25, 2006: The Islamist group Hamas wins a majority of seats in a Palestinian legislative election. Israel and the U.S. cut off aid to Palestinians because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

June 25, 2006: Hamas militants capture Israeli army conscript Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid from Gaza, prompting Israeli air strikes and incursions. Shalit is finally freed more than five years later in a prisoner exchange.

June 14, 2007: Hamas takes over Gaza in a brief civil war, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank.

Dec. 27, 2008: Israel launches a 22-day military offensive in Gaza after Palestinians fire rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are reported killed before a ceasefire is agreed.

Nov. 14, 2012: Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff, Ahmad Jabari. Eight days of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli air strikes follow.

July-August 2014: The kidnap and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas leads to a seven-week war in which more than 2,100 Palestinians are reported killed in Gaza and 73 Israelis are reported dead, 67 of them military.

March 2018: Palestinian protests begin at Gaza’s fenced border with Israel. Israeli troops open fire to keep protestors back. More than 170 Palestinians are reported killed in several months of protests, which also prompt fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces.

May 2021: After weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians are wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site.

After demanding Israel withdraw security forces from the compound, Hamas unleashes a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel hits back with air strikes on Gaza. Fighting goes on for 11 days, killing at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.

Aug 2022: At least 44 people, including 15 children, are killed in three days of violence that begin when Israeli air strikes hit a senior Islamic Jihad commander.

Israel says the strikes were a pre-emptive operation against an imminent attack by the Iranian-backed militant movement, targeting commanders and arms depots. In response, Islamic Jihad fires more than 1,000 rockets towards Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system prevents any serious damage or casualties.

Jan 2023: Islamic Jihad in Gaza fires two rockets towards Israel after Israeli troops raid a refugee camp and kill seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians. The rockets set off alarms in Israeli communities near the border but cause no casualties. Israel responds with air strikes on Gaza.

Oct 2023: Hamas launches the biggest attack on Israel in years from the Gaza Strip, with a surprise assault combining gunmen crossing the border with a heavy barrage of rockets. Islamic Jihad says its fighters have joined the attack.

Israel’s military said it was on a war footing, adding it had carried out strikes targeting Hamas in Gaza and had called up reservists.

Source: Reuters 

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

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