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Hezbollah and Israel exchange fire as Israeli soldiers battle Hamas the day after surprise attack

Fireplace and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza Metropolis, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front assault on Israel at dawn Saturday, firing hundreds of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the closely fortified border in a number of areas by air, land, and sea, killing dozens and gorgeous the nation. Palestinian well being officers reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.(Supply: AP Picture/Fatima Shbair)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Israeli troopers battled Hamas fighters within the streets of Israel’s south on Sunday and exchanged strikes with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group within the north, whereas Israel’s retaliation strikes leveled buildings in Gaza. The prospect of Hezbollah becoming a member of the preventing a day after an unprecedented shock assault from Gaza raised the possibilities of a broader battle.

Hamas fighters, backed by a volley of hundreds of rockets, broke by Israeli barricades early Saturday to rampage by close by Israeli communities. They took captives again into the coastal enclave, together with ladies, kids and the aged, whereas Israel’s retaliation strikes leveled buildings in Gaza and its prime minister stated the nation was at struggle. Israeli media, citing rescue service officers, stated a minimum of 300 folks had been killed, together with 26 troopers.

At the least 250 folks had been killed in Gaza and civilians paid a staggering value for the violence on either side. Israeli TV information aired a stream of accounts from the kinfolk of captive or lacking Israelis, who wailed and begged for help amid a fog of uncertainty surrounding the destiny of their family members. In Gaza, residents fled their properties to search out refuge from the onslaught of Israeli strikes, fleeing the border space after warnings from the Israeli army, and sheltering in faculties.

Earlier conflicts between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers introduced widespread destruction in Gaza and days of rocket hearth on Israeli cities. The state of affairs is probably extra unstable now, with Israel’s far-right authorities stung by the safety breach and Palestinians in despair over a unending occupation within the West Financial institution and suffocating blockade of Gaza.

The flare-up on Israel’s northern border additionally threatened to attract into the battle Hezbollah, a fierce enemy of Israel’s which is backed by Iran and estimated to have tens of hundreds of rockets at its disposal. Hezbollah struck Israeli positions in a disputed space alongside the border with Syria’s Golan Heights, and Israel’s army responded with armed drone strikes on Hezbollah targets in a disputed space the place the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria meet.

In an assault of startling breadth, Hamas gunmen used explosives to interrupt by the border fence enclosing Gaza, then crossed with bikes, pickup vehicles, paragliders and pace boats on the coast. They rolled into as many as 22 areas outdoors the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning, together with cities and different communities so far as 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Gaza border, whereas Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.

“Israel is waking up this morning to a horrible morning,” stated Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli army spokesman. “There are lots of people killed… kids, grandmothers, households, our bodies.”

(Supply: Pool)

On Sunday, the Israeli army stated its forces had been preventing Hamas incursions in eight locations. An Israeli army spokesperson stated that two hostage conditions had been “resolved,” however didn’t say whether or not all of the hostages had been rescued alive.

Israel struck 426 targets in Gaza, its army stated, flattening residential buildings in large explosions. That included a 14-story tower that held dozens of flats in addition to Hamas workplaces in central Gaza Metropolis. Israeli forces fired a warning simply earlier than.

Among the many 256 killed in Gaza had been 20 kids, and near 1,800 wounded, the Palestinian Well being Ministry stated.

Israeli media stated a minimum of 300 folks had been killed and 1,500 wounded in Saturday’s assault, making it the deadliest in Israel in many years. Hamas fighters took an unknown variety of civilians and troopers captive into Gaza and a line of Israelis with lacking kinfolk snaked outdoors a police station in central Israel to provide investigators with DNA samples and different implies that may assist establish their members of the family.

Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells on Sunday at three Israeli positions within the disputed space and Israel’s army fired again utilizing armed drones on the Lebanese areas.

Israel and Hezbollah are archenemies and have fought a number of wars up to now, the newest a 34-day battle in 2006 that left 1,200 lifeless in Lebanon and 160 in Israeli. Tensions have been simmering alongside Israel’s northern border for months.

In a televised tackle Saturday night time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the army will use all of its power to destroy Hamas’ capabilities. “All of the locations that Hamas hides in, operates from, we’ll flip them into ruins,” he added.

Fireplace and smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza Metropolis, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented, multi-front assault on Israel at dawn Saturday, firing hundreds of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the closely fortified border in a number of areas by air, land, and sea, killing dozens and gorgeous the nation. Palestinian well being officers reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.(Supply: AP Picture/Fatima Shbair)

“Get out of there now,” he instructed Gaza residents, who haven’t any strategy to depart the tiny, overcrowded Mediterranean territory. Gaza’s 2.3 million folks have endured a border blockade, enforced to various levels by Israel and Egypt, since Hamas militants seized management in 2007.

In a single day, the Israeli army issued warnings in Arabic to communities close to the border with Israel to depart their properties for areas deeper contained in the tiny enclave.

Earlier than dawn Sunday, militants fired extra rockets from Gaza, hitting a hospital within the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, stated senior hospital official Tal Bergman. Video supplied by Barzilai Medical Middle confirmed a big gap punched right into a wall and chunks of particles scattered on the bottom of what gave the impression to be an empty room and a hallway. The army stated sufferers had been evacuated from Barzilai earlier than the strike.

Faculty was canceled throughout Israel.

Round 3 a.m., a loudspeaker atop a mosque in Gaza Metropolis blared a stark warning to residents of close by condo buildings: Evacuate instantly. Simply minutes later, an Israeli airstrike diminished one close by five-story constructing to ashes.

After one Israeli strike, a Hamas rocket barrage hit 4 cities, together with Tel Aviv and a close-by suburb. All through the day, Hamas fired greater than 3,500 rockets, the Israeli army stated.

The shadowy chief of Hamas’ army wing, Mohammed Deif, stated the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, and a sequence of latest incidents which have introduced Israeli-Palestinian tensions to a fever pitch.

Over the previous yr, Israel’s far-right authorities has ramped up settlement development within the occupied West Financial institution, Israeli settler violence has displaced a whole bunch of Palestinians there, and tensions have flared across the Al-Aqsa mosque, a flashpoint Jerusalem holy website.

“Sufficient is sufficient,” Deif, who doesn’t seem in public, stated within the recorded message. He stated the assault was solely the beginning of what he referred to as “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm” and referred to as on Palestinians from east Jerusalem to northern Israel to hitch the combat.

The Hamas incursion on Simchat Torah, a usually joyous day when Jews full the annual cycle of studying the Torah scroll, revived painful recollections of the 1973 Mideast struggle virtually 50 years to the day, by which Egypt and Syria launched a shock assault on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, aiming to take again Israeli-occupied territories.

Comparisons to some of the traumatic moments in Israeli historical past sharpened criticism of Netanyahu and his far-right allies, who had campaigned on extra aggressive motion towards threats from Gaza. Political commentators lambasted the federal government and army over its failure to anticipate what gave the impression to be a Hamas assault unseen in its stage of planning and coordination.

Requested by reporters how Hamas had managed to catch the military off guard, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, replied, “That’s a great query.”

The kidnapping of Israeli civilians and troopers additionally raised a very thorny subject for Israel, which has a historical past of creating closely lopsided exchanges to deliver captive Israelis dwelling. Israel is holding hundreds of Palestinians in its prisons. Hecht confirmed {that a} “substantial” variety of Israelis had been kidnapped Saturday.

Related Press photographs confirmed an aged Israeli lady being introduced into Gaza on a golf cart by Hamas gunmen and one other lady squeezed between two fighters on a motorbike. AP journalists noticed 4 folks taken from the kibbutz of Kfar Azza, together with two ladies.

In Gaza, a black jeep pulled to a cease and, when the rear door opened, a younger lady stumbled out, bleeding from the pinnacle and along with her fingers tied behind her again. A person waving a gun within the air grabbed her by the hair and pushed her into the automobile’s again seat.

A serious query now was whether or not Israel will launch a floor assault into Gaza, a transfer that previously has introduced intensified casualties. Netanyahu vowed that Hamas “pays an unprecedented worth.” However, he warned, “This struggle will take time. It is going to be troublesome.”

Israel’s army was bringing 4 divisions of troops in addition to tanks to the Gaza border, becoming a member of 31 battalions already within the space, a spokesperson stated.

Hamas stated it had deliberate for a probably lengthy combat. “We’re ready for all choices, together with all-out struggle,” the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh al-Arouri, instructed Al-Jazeera TV. “We’re able to do no matter is important for the dignity and freedom of our folks.”

In Gaza, a lot of the inhabitants was thrown into darkness after dusk as electrical provides from Israel — which provides nearly all of the territories’ energy — had been minimize off. Netanyahu’s workplace stated in an announcement that Israel would cease supplying electrical energy, gasoline and items to Gaza.

U.S. President Joe Biden stated from the White Home that he had spoken with Netanyahu to say the USA “stands with the folks of Israel within the face of those terrorist assaults. Israel has the fitting to defend itself and its folks, full cease.”

The assault comes at a time of historic division inside Israel over Netanyahu’s proposal to overtake the judiciary. Mass protests over the plan have despatched a whole bunch of hundreds of Israeli demonstrators into the streets and prompted a whole bunch of army reservists to keep away from volunteer responsibility — turmoil that has raised fears over the army’s battlefield readiness.


Shurafa reported from Gaza Metropolis. Related Press writers Isabel DeBre, Julia Frankel and Josef Federman in Jerusalem; Issam Adwan in Rafah, Gaza Strip; and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.

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