Israel has vowed to exact revenge on Palestinian militants after they launched a surprise attack on the country on Saturday, warning Hamas that they had made a ‘grave mistake’.
Residents living close to Israel’s border with Gaza have been ordered to stay inside and others have been evacuated after Hamas militants infiltrated the country by land, sea and air and launched a fusillade of missile strikes.
The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the militants will pay an ‘unprecedented price’ after their attacks killed at least 22 Israelis, with unconfirmed further casualties reported on both sides.
Speaking in a televised address, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said that Hamas had made a ‘grave mistake…and launched a war against the State of Israel’ – vowing that ‘Israel will win’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘shocked’ by the attacks, writing on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. We’re in contact with Israeli authorities, and British nationals in Israel should follow travel advice.’
Videos on social media appeared to show armed troops from the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ militant arm, moving through built-up areas firing weapons as Israeli residents were evacuated from their homes following air strikes.
In a statement posted on Telegram, Hamas called on ‘the resistance fighters in the West Bank’ as well as ‘our Arab and Islamic nations’ to join the battle.
In remarks reported by CNN, militant commander Deif said: ‘If you have a gun, get it out. This is the time to use it – get out with trucks, cars, axes. Today the best and most honorable history starts.’