The Israeli military says it has since retaken full control of all communities in Gaza after the "surprise assault" that occurred on Saturday, the last official day of the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot.
Israel decided to take over Gaza despite warnings from Hamas that if the Israeli government targets anyone in the area, then civilian hostages would be executed without warning – and those killings would be publicly broadcasted, Hamas promised.
As of now, Israel has cut off all electricity, fuel, food, and even water from Gaza, and proceeded to "pound the enclave with airstrikes," to quote one media source. Gaza's health ministry says more than 550 Palestinians were killed in these strikes.
Until instructed otherwise, Israelis in some areas of the country are being told to stay inside and lock their doors until given the all clear. Israeli security forces say they are busy trying to apprehend a number of Palestinian terrorists who they claim infiltrated from Gaza into Israeli territory to gun people down in the streets.
"We need to take over Gaza and kill them," said Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi to Channel 12. "They need to be erased."
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In a meeting on Saturday following the initial attack, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office said the security cabinet made a "series of operational decisions aimed at bringing about the destruction of the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
The office further promised to take away Hamas' "ability and desire to threaten and harm the citizens of Israel for many years."
Netanyahu also promised to embark "on a long and difficult war" against Hamas because of the attacked that was "forced upon us by a murderous attack." On X (formerly Twitter), Netanyahu said the first phase involves "destroying most of the enemy forces" that he says have infiltrated Israel to kill civilians and soldiers.
The Israel offensive into Gaza will also "continue without hesitation and without respite – until the goals are achieved."
We will restore security to the citizens of Israel and we will win," Netanyahu promised at the end of his social media address.
A spokesperson from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) issued a message in Arabic to the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip telling them to seek shelter because Israeli forces are now planning to attack with major force.
"Hamas' operations are forcing the IDF to operate in your place of residence," the message, from spokesman Avichay Adraee, stated. "For your safety, you must leave your place of residence immediately."
All across southern Israel where the attack originated, air sirens could be heard warning about incoming rocket attacks, including in Ashkelon and other Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a public condemnation against the "barbarity" of Hamas in attacking Israel.
"As the barbarity of today's atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel," Sunak wrote on X. "This attack by Hamas is cowardly and depraved."
Among those believed to have been abducted by Hamas and brought into Gaza are numerous Israeli citizens and soldiers. Hamas reportedly boasted that the number of hostages it is holding is much higher than Israel even knows.
Sources for this article include: