Dozens of Israeli jets strike Gaza – IDF
Dozens of Israeli jets have struck Hamas targets in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have said. The airstrikes were launched in response to a surprise attack unleashed by the Palestinian armed group against Israel on Saturday morning.
IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said “Hamas terrorists” had infiltrated the Israeli territory from land, sea and air.
More than 2,200 rockets have been fired from Gaza, according to the spokesman. Hamas claimed that it used more than 5,000 projectiles in just the first 20 minutes of its attack.
Rocket sirens have been heard in many places across Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and Ashkelon.
There were at least seven instances of fighting between IDF troops and Hamas militants, Hagari said.
According to the Times of Israel newspaper, gun battles have been underway in and around the towns of Kfar Aza, Sderot, Sufa, Nahal Oz, Magen, Be’eri, and the IDF’s Re’im military base.
In an earlier statement, the IDF said it had declared “a state of readiness for war” due to the attack. “Hamas terror organization will pay a very heavy price,” it warned.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he had approved a call-up of reservists in response to the actions by Hamas.
At least six people are believed to have been killed in Israel on Saturday. Four died in missile strikes in the town of Kuseife and one in the Gderot area.
The head of Sha'ar HaNegev town Ofir Liebstein was also shot dead in a gunfight with Hamas militants. “Ofir was killed when he went to defend a town during the terrorist attack,” the local administration said.
Information coming from medical institutions across Israel suggests that more than 200 people were wounded, including many in serious condition.
Some videos uploaded online during the day purportedly show a number of IDF troops being killed and captured by Hamas fighters. There’s also social media footage and photos of what appears to be a burning Israeli tank and Palestinians celebrating the seizure of a US-made Humvee military vehicle from the IDF. The videos have yet to be verified.