Israel is in a “war to ensure our existence” after Hamas militants launched a devastating attack on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, warning “difficult days are still ahead of us”.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which rules the Gaza Strip, launched an extensive attack against Israel on Saturday, coinciding with the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah. It launched thousands of rockets from Gaza, while militants infiltrated Israeli communities, killing residents and abducting some 150 hostages.
Israel launched a wave of air strikes in retaliation for the bloody attack and has imposed a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip, cutting off electricity, food, water and gas. Israel is threatening a ground invasion as more than 300,000 reservists are called up.
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‘A war to ensure our existence’: PM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has addressed the nation in a televised speech, his first public appearance since Saturday night.
“We are on the third day of the operation,” he said.
“We are in an operation for our home, a war to ensure our existence, a war that we will win. This war was imposed upon us by a despicable enemy — by beasts who celebrate the murder of women, children, and the elderly.
“The atrocities carried out by Hamas have not been seen since the atrocities of ISIS. Children bound and executed with the rest of their families, young girls and boys shot in the back, executed, and other atrocities that I will not describe here.
“We have always known what Hamas is. Now the whole world knows. Hamas is ISIS. And we will defeat [Hamas] precisely as the enlightened world defeated ISIS.”
Gaza death toll rises to 687
The death toll in the Gaza Strip rose to 687 on Monday, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said, as Israel pounded Hamas targets for the third consecutive day.
The Hamas-controlled ministry said hospitals in Gaza had “received 687 martyrs and another 3727 injured” since Israel unleashed a wave of air strikes after a surprise attack on Israel launched by Hamas militants on Saturday morning.
Death toll rises to 800 in Israel
The death toll in Israel has surged to more than 800 after a surprise attack by Hamas, while about 150 “prisoners” were being held by the militant group, the Israel government said Monday.
More than 2600 people were also injured in the assault, according to the latest figures posted by the Israeli government press office on its Facebook page.
Foreigners killed, missing or abducted
Dozens of foreigners have been killed, injured or taken hostage during a surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas Saturday that has left 800 people dead, mostly Israelis.
Many of the missing foreigners were at an electronic music festival in the southern Israeli desert, at which scores of revellers were massacred.
Here is what we know so far.
Thailand: 12 dead, 11 hostages — Twelve Thai labourers were killed, eight were wounded and 11 were taken captive, foreign ministry spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said Monday. Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said there were around 5000 Thai labourers working in the areas hit by fighting who were being moved to safety.
Nepal: 10 dead — Ten citizens of Nepal were killed in Kibbutz Alumim, one of the flashpoints of the Hamas assault, the Himalayan republic’s embassy in Tel Aviv said on Sunday. Four others were being treated in hospital while a search was underway for a fifth person, the embassy added. Kibbutz Alumim was hosting 17 students at the time of the attack.
US: 9 dead, others missing — The United States confirmed Monday the deaths of nine US citizens and said others were still unaccounted for. “At this time, we can confirm the deaths of nine US citizens,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, adding that the US was working with Israel to locate those still missing.
Ukraine: 2 dead — Two Ukrainian women who had been living in Israel for years were killed, Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Sunday.
France: 2 dead, 14 missing — Two French people have been killed in “Hamas’s terrorist attacks against Israel”, the French government said. A 12-year-old is among 14 of its nationals missing after Hamas launched deadly raids into Israel, the French foreign ministry said calling the situation “worrying”. “Based on the information we have, we consider it highly likely that some of them have been abducted”, the ministry said in a statement, adding that “this number is still subject to change”.
Russia: 1 dead, 4 missing — At least one Russian has been killed and four others are missing, the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv announced on Monday, quoted by the Russian news agencies.
UK: 1 dead, 1 missing — Israel’s ambassador to Britain said there was one 26-year-old British citizen missing, without naming the person. A British man who was serving in the Israeli army, Nathanel Young, 20, also died in fighting with Hamas, his family said on Sunday.
Canada: reports of 1 dead, 2 missing — The Canadian government said on Sunday that it was trying to confirm reports that one Canadian had died and two others were missing.
Cambodia: 1 dead — Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Manet said one Cambodian student was killed.
Germany: several hostages — Several dual German-Israeli nationals were kidnapped, a German foreign ministry source said Sunday. The mother of 22-year-old Shani Louk told news outlet Der Spiegel that she recognised her daughter in videos circulating online of a half-naked woman lying face down in the back of a pick-up truck in Gaza with armed men seated around her. Ricarda Louk told Spiegel that her daughter had been at the music festival.
Brazil: 3 missing, one injured — Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that three dual Brazilian-Israeli nationals were missing after attending the festival and a fourth was being treated in hospital.
Paraguay: 2 missing — Two Paraguayan nationals who had been living in Israel are missing, Paraguay’s government said, without giving details.
Mexico: 2 hostages — Mexico’s Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that two Mexicans, one man and one woman, had been taken hostage, without giving further details.
Colombia: 2 hostages — Two Colombians who were at the Supernova festival are missing, Israel’s ambassador to Colombia said on X. The Colombian government confirmed that two Colombians were at the rave and said it was trying to help locate them.
Panama: 1 missing — Panama’s government said one of its nationals, Daryelis Denises Saez Batista, was missing.
Ireland: 1 missing — An Irish-Israeli woman has been confirmed missing by the Irish government.
Hamas warns it will execute hostages
Hamas has warned Israel that if it bombs civilian houses in Gaza without warning then the militants will execute Israeli hostages in return, according to Reuters.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida said that every Israeli massacre or attack without prior warning on Palestinian homes will be met with the execution of an Israeli captive.
Response will ‘change the Middle East’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday to “change the Middle East” in Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas, as the army pounded the Gaza Strip with air strikes.
“What Hamas will experience will be difficult and terrible … we are going to change the Middle East,” Mr Netanyahu told officials in the country’s south where Hamas militants carried out a surprise attack on Saturday morning. “This is only the beginning … we are all with you and we will defeat them with force, enormous force.”
— with AFP