Since night, Israeli special forces have been conducting operations in the West Bank. Hamas has fired rockets at Ben-Gurion International Airport. On Sunday, Israel’s security cabinet formally announced that the country had been placed “in a state of war,” giving the go-ahead for what it called “significant military steps” in response to the Hamas attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “destroy the Palestinian militant group” and signaled that the country’s forces would soon go on the offensive. Israeli special forces have been conducting operations in several areas of the West Bank since nightfall. Hamas claims an attack on Ben Gurion International Airport. For two days, Israeli troops have fought fierce battles with Palestinian militants, both on their own territory and in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
As the conflict escalated, at least 700 Israeli civilians and military personnel were killed and about 100 taken hostage. 260 bodies were found at the site of an open-air music festival in southern Israel.
Dozens of tourists escaped - they had to walk about 30 kilometers through the desert to reach the nearest town of Netivot. Dozens of attacked and burnt-out vehicles were abandoned on roads near the southern town of Sderot, one of the first to be attacked on Saturday morning. Civilians on both sides are paying a heavy price, with Israel launching more than 800 strikes on targets in Gaza, including airstrikes that destroyed much of Beit Hanoun town.
According to Palestinian authorities, retaliatory Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip killed at least 436 people and injured 2,300. An Israeli airstrike reportedly killed 19 members of a Palestinian family in a Gaza refugee camp. Israel claims to be targeting Hamas military facilities and command centers.