December 11, 2023


TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Israeli authorities formally declared struggle and gave the inexperienced mild for “vital navy steps” to retaliate in opposition to Hamas for its shock assault, because the navy labored into Monday to crush fighters nonetheless in southern cities and intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The toll handed 1,100 lifeless and 1000’s wounded on either side.

Greater than 40 hours after Hamas launched its unprecedented incursion out of Gaza, Israeli forces had been nonetheless battling with militants holed up in a number of places. At the very least 700 folks have reportedly been killed in Israel — a staggering toll on a scale the nation has not skilled in many years — and greater than 400 have been killed in Gaza.

Israel stated it introduced in particular forces to attempt to wrest management of 4 Israeli websites from Hamas fighters, together with two kibbutzim that militants entered earlier of their assaults. Footage launched by Israeli police from one space confirmed forces kneeling in tall grass as they exchanged hearth with Hamas militants throughout an open subject.

The declaration of struggle portended larger preventing forward, and a serious query was whether or not Israel would launch a floor assault into Gaza, a transfer that previously has introduced intensified casualties.

In the meantime, Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad group claimed to have taken captive greater than 130 folks from inside Israel and introduced them into Gaza, saying they might be traded for the discharge of 1000’s of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. The announcement, although unconfirmed, was the primary signal of the scope of abductions.

The captives are identified to incorporate troopers and civilians, together with ladies, youngsters and older adults — principally Israelis but in addition some folks of different nationalities. The Israeli navy stated solely that the variety of captives is “vital.”

The Israeli navy estimated 1,000 Hamas fighters took half in Saturday’s preliminary incursion. The excessive determine underscored the extent of planning by the militant group ruling Gaza, which has stated it launched the assault in response to mounting Palestinian struggling below Israel’s occupation and blockade of Gaza.

The gunmen rampaged for hours, gunning down civilians and snatching folks in cities, alongside highways and at a techno music pageant attended by 1000’s within the desert. The rescue service Zaka stated it eliminated about 260 our bodies from the pageant, and that quantity was anticipated to rise. It was not clear what number of of these our bodies had been already included in Israel’s general toll.

In response, Israel hit greater than 800 targets in Gaza up to now, its navy stated, together with airstrikes that leveled a lot of the city of Beit Hanoun within the enclave’s northeast nook.

Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari informed reporters Hamas was utilizing the city as a staging floor for assaults. There was no speedy phrase on casualties, and a lot of the group’s inhabitants of tens of 1000’s seemingly fled beforehand.

“We’ll proceed to assault on this means, with this pressure, constantly, on all gathering (locations) and routes” utilized by Hamas, Hagari stated.

Civilians on either side had been already paying a excessive value. The Israeli navy was evacuating not less than 5 cities near Gaza.

A line of individuals snaked outdoors a central Israel police station to produce DNA samples and different signifies that may assist establish lacking relations.

Mayyan Zin, a divorced mom of two, stated she realized that her two daughters had been kidnapped when a relative despatched her pictures from a Telegram group exhibiting them sitting on mattresses in captivity. She then discovered on-line movies of a chilling scene in her ex-husband’s dwelling within the city of Nahal Oz: Gunmen who had damaged in communicate to him, his leg bleeding, in the lounge close to the 2 terrified, weeping daughters, Dafna, 15, and Ella, 8. One other video confirmed the daddy being taken throughout the border into Gaza.

“Simply convey my daughters dwelling and to their household. All of the folks,” Zin stated.

In Gaza, a tiny enclave of two.3 million folks sealed off by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for 16 years because the Hamas takeover, residents feared additional escalation. Israeli strikes flattened some residential buildings.

Nasser Abu Quta stated 19 members of his household together with his spouse had been killed when an airstrike hit their dwelling, the place they had been huddling on the bottom flooring within the southern Gaza metropolis of Rafah.

There have been no militants in his constructing, he insisted. “This can be a protected home, with youngsters and girls,” the 57-year-old Abu Quta stated by phone. The Israeli navy didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark concerning the strike. One other strike in the identical metropolis early Monday killed 11, together with ladies and youngsters.

As of late Sunday, the retaliatory Israeli airstrikes had destroyed 159 housing items throughout Gaza and severely broken 1,210 others, the U.N. stated. It stated the variety of displaced Gazans had jumped by tens of 1000’s, to greater than 123,000. The U.N. company for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, stated a faculty sheltering greater than 225 folks took a direct hit. It didn’t say the place the hearth got here from.

A number of Israeli media retailers, citing rescue service officers, stated not less than 700 folks have been killed in Israel, together with 44 troopers. The Gaza Well being Ministry stated 413 folks, together with 78 youngsters and 41 ladies, had been killed within the territory. Some 2,000 folks have been wounded on both sides. An Israeli official stated safety forces have killed 400 militants and captured dozens extra.

In northern Israel, a short trade of strikes with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fanned fears that the preventing may increase right into a wider regional struggle. Hezbollah fired rockets and shells Sunday at Israeli positions in a disputed space alongside the border, and Israel fired again utilizing armed drones. The Israeli navy stated the scenario was calm after the trade.

The declaration of struggle on Hamas introduced by Israel’s Safety Cupboard was largely symbolic, stated Yohanan Plesner, the top of the Israel Democracy Institute, a assume tank, nevertheless it “demonstrates that the federal government thinks we’re getting into a extra prolonged, intense and vital interval of struggle.”

Israel has carried out main navy campaigns over the previous 4 many years in Lebanon and Gaza that it portrayed as wars, however and not using a formal declaration.

The Safety Cupboard additionally authorized “vital navy steps.” The steps weren’t outlined, however the declaration seems to provide the navy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a large mandate.

In a press release, Netanyahu’s workplace stated the goal would be the destruction of Hamas’ “navy and governing capabilities” to an extent that stops it from threatening Israelis “for a few years.”

Israelis had been nonetheless reeling from the breadth, ferocity and shock of the Hamas assault. The group’s fighters broke by means of Israel’s safety fence surrounding the Gaza Strip early Saturday. Utilizing bikes and pickup vans, even paragliders and speedboats on the coast, they moved into close by Israeli communities — as many as 22 places.

The excessive loss of life toll and gradual response to the onslaught pointed to a serious intelligence failure and undermined the long-held notion that Israel has eyes and ears in every single place within the small, densely populated territory it has managed for many years.

The presence of hostages in Gaza complicates Israel’s response. Israel has a historical past of creating closely lopsided exchanges to convey captive Israelis dwelling.

An Egyptian official stated Israel sought assist from Cairo to make sure the security of the hostages. Egypt additionally spoke with either side a couple of potential cease-fire, however Israel was not open to a truce “at this stage,” in keeping with the official, who requested to not be recognized as a result of he was not licensed to transient media.

Elsewhere, six Palestinians had been killed in clashes with Israeli troopers Sunday across the West Financial institution.

Over the previous 12 months, Israel’s far-right authorities has ramped up settlement development within the occupied West Financial institution. Israeli settler violence has displaced a whole lot of Palestinians there, and tensions have flared across the Al-Aqsa mosque, a flashpoint Jerusalem holy website.


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