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Israel retaliated with an airstrike on Saturday in response to the surprise early morning attack by Hamas, involving thousands of rockets and dozens of fighters targeting Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip resulting in massive casualties. This airstrike flattened a high-rise building suspected to house Hamas’ offices.

The surprise attack by Hamas, ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’, involved a relentless barrage of 3,000 rockets and an unparalleled infiltration into Israel’s southern towns. The conflict escalated to gunfights and hostage situations as Hamas’ attack extended to approximately 22 locations spanning up to 15 miles from the Gaza border. In response, Israel launched a formidable airstrike on Gaza’s coastal enclave, dubbed ‘Operation Iron Swords.’

Israel Strikes Back

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A missile seen striking a building in Palestine that reportedly housed offices of Hamas chiefs
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Israel’s counterattack significantly increased the Palestinian death toll to at least 232, as confirmed by officials. The Israeli Air Force targeted two high-rise buildings housing military infrastructures used by senior members of the Hamas terrorist organization.

Reports indicated that these buildings were being used by Hamas’ senior members to plan and execute terrorist operations.

Video footage shows a missile hitting the two high-rise buildings. Within seconds the buildings collapse and are razed to the ground.

It is still unclear if the airstrike killed any of the top Hamas leaders.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, vowed to demolish Hamas’ hideouts in Gaza, aiming to reduce them to “rubble.”

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The Hamas headquarters seen crashing down after the Israeli airstrike
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In a late-night briefing, the Israeli military said that the ongoing conflict’s trajectory would be influenced by the number of civilian and military personnel taken hostage by Hamas, underlining the gravity of the situation.

“We are at war,” Netanyahu said in a televised address on Saturday. “Not an operation,’ not a round,’ but at war.”

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Israeli settlers in Sderot seen running for their lives as rocket fire from Gaza targets the illegal settlement.
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“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added, promising that Israel would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.”

Fight Intensifies

The surprise strike by Hamas and the retaliation by Israel has left at least 482 dead and another 3,200 injured in less than a day. There are distressing reports of dozens more being kidnapped and forcibly taken across the border into the Gaza Strip.

“Dozens of [Israeli military] fighter jets are currently striking a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli military said.

The Israeli military reported that they had neutralized hundreds of Palestinian militants in communities along the Gaza border since the initial attack on Saturday morning. The surprise assault by Hamas caught Israel off-guard, occurring on Simchat Torah, a major religious holiday and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Mideast war.

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Hamas militants seen stomping on the lifeless body of an Israeli soldier
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Seth Frantzen, Middle East security analyst, told The Daily Beast that “today’s unprecedented attack by Hamas has shattered Israel’s sense of security on the Gaza border.”

“The massive attack showed that Israel was lulled into a false sense of calm and that managing the conflict through precision strikes over the last years has not weakened Hamas. Now Israel faces the difficult choices about going to war while Hamas holds numerous hostages which it has been parading on film all day,” he said.

Hamas fighters have seized hostages in Kibbutz Be’eri located in southern Israel, as reported by Haaretz. A resident informed Haaretz that he and his family have been taking refuge in a bomb shelter since the early hours of Saturday morning.

President Joe Biden issued a statement condemning the “terrorist attacks in Israel,” saying he told Netanyahu that the U.S. stands ready “to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel.”

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An Israeli woman shot dead by Hamas terrorists
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“Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” he said.

The situation remains highly volatile and deeply concerning.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned in a televised address that Hamas had made “a grave mistake” and promised that “the state of Israel will win this war.”

“The number of Israeli nationals being held captive by Hamas is unprecedented,” stated IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus in an interview with CNN. This underscores the gravity and unique nature of the current situation.

“These are extremely disturbing scenes for any Israeli to see. I don’t even want to imagine what the fate of this Israeli person will be at the hands of these blood-thirsty animals,” Lt. Col. Conricus said.

A spokesperson for Hamas asserted that the number of Israeli hostages taken is “many times greater than what Netanyahu thinks.”

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