Jerusalem/Gaza, Oct 8 (EFE).- Over 750 people have died on both sides in the fighting between the Israeli forces and Hamas militants that raged for the second day on Sunday, a day after Islamist fighters from the Gaza Strip stormed into southern Israel in a surprise bloody assault.
The upper floor of a residential building is severely damaged after a rocket apparently fired from Gaza hit the building in Tel Aviv, Israel, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/ABIR SULTAN
The Israeli Army said its retaliatory strikes on the blockaded enclave killed more than 400 Palestinian militants in Gaza and many more inside Israeli territory.
Over 350 people have died in Israel from fighting between militants and Israeli troops.
Daniel Hagari, the spokesperson for Israel Defense Forces, said the military killed more than 400 Palestinian militants and arrested dozens more during the fighting in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip.
“Hundreds of terrorists died after they infiltrated and tried to return to Gaza,” Hagari told reporters after a series of deadly Israeli bombings on the enclave.
“As of this hour, forces are fighting, and there are searches in a large number of towns. There are IDF forces in all towns,” Hagari said.
He said the Israeli forces would evacuate all residents living around Gaza in the next 24 hours.
Palestinians inspect the destroyed surrounding of the Palestine Tower after Israeli warplanes targeted it in Gaza City, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
The casualty figure is higher than those released by the Palestinian health ministry, which has confirmed that 313 people, including 20 children, died and 1,990 sustained injuries in Gaza.
Sources cited by local media confirmed 350 deaths on the Israeli side. The Israeli health ministry said 1,864 people suffered injuries in the clashes.
In addition, Hamas militants have captured dozens of Israelis, and their fate was not known until Sunday.
Hagari said fighting was on to “rescue hostages” held by militants.
A military source confirmed to EFE that Israeli troops were fighting the Palestinians in several Israeli neighborhoods near Gaza.
Hagari said the army had hit 500 Hamas targets, including the group’s “military infrastructure, homes of commanders, and symbols of the Hamas regime.”
The army said it recaptured 20 of the 32 posts seized by infiltrators near Gaza.
A Hamas spokesperson said the group sent more fighters and weapons to the territory of the Jewish state to reinforce the militiamen fighting the Israeli Army.
He said the fresh infiltration was carried out simultaneously with the launch of more than 100 rockets from Gaza toward Israeli territory across the enclave.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Army Chief Herzi Halevi, and senior security officials to analyze the situation after announcing that Israel “is embarking on a long and difficult war.”
The conflict escalated after the surprise attack by Hamas, a group considered terrorist by Israel, the United States, and the European Union, on Saturday morning.
Israeli security forces, caught off-guard by the Hamas offensive, launched retaliatory action, bombing Gaza and leveling buildings, including Hamas offices, in the enclave.
“Fighter jets recently attacked a military infrastructure at the home of the head of the intelligence department of the terrorist organization Hamas,” the IDF said Sunday.
According to sources in Gaza, the bombings targeted 17 homes of Hamas leaders and damaged six residential towers and eight homes, in addition to claiming the lives of civilians.
The Israeli military said its naval forces thwarted five Palestinian militiamen on Zikim Beach in southern Israel and prevented their infiltration into residential areas.
Israeli authorities declared a state of emergency throughout the country, in addition to demarcating a closed military zone around the Gaza Strip to evacuate all residents of the area. EFE