7 Oct 2023

Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Nearly 200 Palestinians Killed; Hamas Says It Has Captured Enough Israeli Prisoners

Jerusalem/Gaza: Medical sources in Gaza say nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in Israeli air raids launched after a surprise attack by Hamas that killed dozens of Israelis. Media reports said about 100 Israelis were killed.

Palestinian group running the Gaza Strip launched the largest attack on Israel in years, infiltrating areas in the south of the country following a barrage of more than 2,000 rockets fired from the besieged enclave.


Captured enough Israeli prisoners: Hamas

Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri has said in a statement that the Palestinian militant group has enough prisoners for Israel to free the Palestinian prisoners. Al-Arouri says, “Hamas has enough Israeli captives to make Israel free all Palestinian prisoners in its jails."


Hamas made a grave mistake: Israel

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned Hamas that it had made a “grave mistake” in launching the attack, which began at 06:30am local time (03:30 GMT) on Saturday and involved barrages of rockets fired from multiple locations in Gaza as well as fighters infiltrating the Israeli border by land, sea and air.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message from military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Later on Saturday, Israel’s military said it had launched air strikes on Gaza in response to the attack.

IDF fighter jets are striking a number of targets: Israel

“Dozens of IDF fighter jets are currently striking a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said.

Fight Israeli occupation: Hamas military commander

Mohammed Deif, a senior Hamas military commander, said earlier that the rocket fire marked the start of “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, and he called on Palestinians everywhere to fight the Israeli occupation.

“We’ve decided to say enough is enough,” Deif said as he urged all Palestinians to confront Israel. “This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” he said in an audio message.

Israel’s military told Israelis living around the Gaza Strip to stay in their homes and warned that Hamas would pay a “heavy price for its actions”.

Israeli media reported that Palestinian fighters had opened fire on passersby in the town of Sderot, in southern Israel, and footage circulating on social media appeared to show uniformed Palestinians engaged in clashes in the border area.

Another video on social media appeared to show a burning Israeli tank surrounded by jubilant Palestinians.

By late Saturday morning, Israeli warplanes had started to pound locations in Gaza – in what the military called “Operation Iron Swords” – and Israeli soldiers were engaged in ground fighting in several locations around the besieged Palestinian enclave.

“Right now we’re fighting. We’re fighting in certain locations around the Gaza Strip … our forces are now fighting on the ground,” Israel’s army spokesman Richard Hecht told reporters.

Witnesses in Gaza heard loud explosions.

"Deeply shocked...we stand in solidarity with Israel": PM Modi

Expressing solidarity with Israel over the rocket strikes launched by Hamas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that India's thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families.

"Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour," PM Modi posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Naor Gilon, Israel's Ambassador to India said that the "situation is not normal" but "Israel will prevail".

"Thank you@PMOIndia. India's moral support is much appreciated. Israel will prevail," Israel envoy posted on X.

Netanyahu says Israel at war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel is in fact in a state of war, and not in the format of a military operation since the morning attack by militants from the Gaza Strip.

"Citizens of Israel! We are at war. This is not an operation ... but a war. This morning, Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel and its citizens. In the morning, I convened the heads of law enforcement agencies and instructed them to clear populated areas from terrorists who had infiltrated [Israel]. This operation is carried out during these hours. At the same time, I ordered a widespread mobilization of the reserves. The enemy will pay a price it has never known," Netanyahu said in an address to the nation.

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