About 36 hours after Hamas militants attacked Israel from Gaza, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) troops continued fighting to take back territory in the country’s south, as the Jewish state’s armed forces fought to seal the border.
As firefighting continued, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative government declared war on Hamas and evacuated civilians from southern border towns near Gaza while rescue workers struggled to treat hundreds of injured civilians and recover dead bodies.
“This is going to be a long, long haul,” said IDF spokesman Richard Hecht. Israel is currently fighting back with airstrikes aimed at Hamas militants. The government has since released videos of strikes on Hamas militants and other targets.
Authorities are presently trying to determine how many Israelis were being held hostage by Hamas and Palestinian fighters.
“The Israeli military said soldiers and civilians had been captured and taken into Gaza, and that most of its casualties were the result of close-contact fighting with Hamas,” according to a Sunday report published by The Wall Street Journal.
Hamas, which is backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, launched more missiles from Gaza on Sunday, and announced it was sending additional weapons and fighters into Israel.
While Hamas continued to launch attacks from Gaza, another Iran-backed militia, Hezbollah, fired a missile and mortar shells at Israeli targets from southern Lebanon. The group’s strikes created the possibility of a new front opening in the conflict.
Since the attacks began Saturday at dawn, more than 600 Israelis have been confirmed dead, and 2,408 wounded, according to Israeli officials. At least 370 Palestinians have been killed and about 2,000 injured from Israeli counterstrikes on Gaza, according to reports from the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Israeli Defense Forces said it has killed hundreds of Hamas fighters already. While many of the deaths on the Israeli side are suspected to be civilians, IDF reports suggest many of the Palestinian deaths could be fighters who crossed the border during the incursion.
To that end, IDF troops were using firepower to push Hamas militants out of from Israeli villages as far as 20 miles into the small desert country.
Reports suggest Hamas militants penetrated at least four military installations along Israel’s border with Gaza.
Since the Israelis began striking back, more than 12 buildings and more than 1,200 houses in Gaza have been destroyed, according to Hamas spokesman Salama Marouf.
Israel’s attempts to subdue Hamas and destroy the enemy could be hampered by the fact that Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, has reportedly kidnapped dozens of hostages.
Israeli Defense Forces have estimated that at least 3,250 rockets were fired from Gaza on their country.
Many Israelis took shelter at bomb shelters. Overnight explosions rocked the Nation’s capital city, Tel Aviv, but many were intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome air-defense system.
Still, some penetrated the defense system, harming civilians.
In an effort to show joint cooperation, Netanyahu is talking with opposition leaders about forming a, temporary, emergency government.
“What happened today has never been seen before in Israel and I will make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Netanyahu said in a Saturday night address. “Difficult days are ahead of us, but we will win.”
He later tweeted on social media that Israel “will continue without hesitation and without respite—until the goals are achieved.”