Palestinians inspect the destroyed surrounding of the Palestine Tower after Israeli warplanes targeted it in Gaza City, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Netanyahu foresees ‘long and difficult war’ as death toll rises in Israeli-Palestinian war

Jerusalem, Oct 8 (EFE) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel is “embarking on a long and difficult war” that was “forced upon us by a murderous attack by Hamas” throughout the day. So far, the previous day’s events have claimed the lives of 300 Israelis and 232 Palestinians.

The first phase of the war involves “destroying most of the enemy forces” that have infiltrated into Israel and have killed civilians and soldiers”, Netanyahu said on X.

Palestinians inspect the destroyed surrounding of the Palestine Tower after Israeli warplanes targeted it in Gaza City, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

Earlier on Sunday a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassem Brigades, quoted by Israeli media, reported shortly after midnight Sunday that the number of Israelis “captured” was “several times greater” than dozens.

He also specified that hostages had already been distributed throughout the Gaza Strip, stressing that Hamas has more people captive than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, including army officers and soldiers.

In the raid, the militants killed Israeli soldiers, took several residents hostage in Israeli towns near the Strip according to Gaza sources and videos spread on social networks showing captured military, civilians, including Asian immigrants.

Hamas said Israel was facing a deep crisis because of the strength of its men.

According to local estimates, the number of Islamist militants currently in Israel higher than the figure given by Israeli authorities and could be hundreds or even over a thousand members of the Al Qassam Brigades or the armed wing of the Islamist group Islamic Jihad.

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, Netanyahu had said his country’s army would use “all its might” to destroy Hamas.

Netanyahu urged Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip, warning that the militia’s hideouts would be reduced to rubble.

“The Israel Defense Forces will act immediately to destroy Hamas’s capabilities,” Netanyahu said in a televised address, his second since the Islamist movement surprised Israel with a ground, sea and air assault on Saturday.

“We will forcefully avenge this dark day that they have forced on the State of Israel and its citizens,” Netanyahu said.

“I say to the residents of Gaza: Leave now because we will operate forcefully everywhere.” He added

Israelis crowd a hospital corridor as they wait to donate blood at the Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel, 07 October 2023. EFE/EPA/ABIR SULTAN

However, with Gazans blocked by Egypt and Israel, and few able to obtain exit permits, locals have no way to leave the enclave, which is de facto ruled by Hamas, a movement considered terrorist by the Israeli government, the United States and the European Union (EU).

So far, Saturday’s incursion into Israeli territory has left 300 Israeli victims and 232 Palestinians.

The number of injured in Israel has risen to around 1,600, according to the latest update provided by Israeli medical sources early Sunday, while in the Strip it has risen to 1,700, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has decided to extend the state of emergency to the entire country, and not just to an 80-kilometre radius around Gaza, as was previously the case.

The National Security Council warned Israelis living abroad to be on the alert for attacks against Jews related to the current escalation. EFE