Israel officially at war – Netanyahu’s office
Israel’s security cabinet voted on Saturday night to officially go to war following a major attack on the country by Palestinian armed group Hamas, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
The invocation of Article 40 of Israel’s Basic Law allows the government to take “significant military action that may lead, with a level of probability close to certain, to war,” Netanyahu’s office said on Sunday.
Under the legislation, the prime minister will be able to make certain decisions regarding the war with just the approval of the security cabinet, it added.
Netanyahu’s office also said the government had asked the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to activate emergency regulations allowing for detainees to be held in custody for a longer period without being brought before a court.
Netanyahu declared that Israel was at war in his first message a few hours after Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel and sent its fighters into Jewish settlements near the border with Gaza on Saturday morning.
“Citizens of Israel, we are at war. And we will win,” the prime minister said in his address. “The enemy will pay a price like they have never known before,” he vowed, referring to Hamas.
ZAKA, a volunteer group that handles human remains after terrorist attacks in Israel, has said that more than 600 Israelis have been killed since the launch of the surprise attack by Hamas. The figure includes 44 troops, whose deaths had earlier been confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
According to the IDF, more than 400 Hamas fighters have been killed by Israeli security forces in the past 30 hours.
The death toll from Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza has reached 313 people, with almost 2,000 others wounded, the local health ministry has said.
Fighting between the sides is continuing in several Israeli settlements near the border with Gaza.