Israel taken by surprise as Hamas militants launch a relentless attack in the south. Thousands of rockets were fired, while militant gunmen targeted civilians killing dozens and taking some captive.
In what is now the biggest assault in decades, at least 70 people have been killed by the militants. The paramedics said that apart from the casualties, hundreds of Israelis had been injured. Israel’s military, on the other hand also confirmed that the Palestinian militants had taken hostages, but did not confirm the number.
Israeli forces retaliated, and the fighting continues inside Israel. Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that he had order “an extensive mobilisation of reserves” and that they would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known”. Going on to say, PM Netanyahu avowed that “The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.” Meanwhile the Israeli air force struck multiple targets in the coastal enclave which is under Hamas control since 2007.
The assault apparently caught Israeli forces off-guard owing to the fact that Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah was being observed through the country. Dozens of Hamas militants sneaked into Israel on paragliders by land and from the sea. Thousands of rockets were fired in to Israel. “We’re fighting in certain locations around the Gaza Strip, in the Erez crossing, in Nahal Oz . . . also in the Re’im camp, which is [Israel’s Gaza] division headquarters,” Richard Hecht, a spokesman for Israel’s military said.
Warning sirens were set off by the rockets fired from Gaza across the southern and central Israel. Missiles targeted cities including Tel Aviv and Be’ersheva. Missile strikes destroyed buildings in southern city of Ashkelon while thud of interceptions was heard as far as Jerusalem. The Israeli military forces closed roads around Gaza and said that the south was being flooded with reinforcements in a bid to regain control of the situation.