Israel clashes with Hamas as over 350 Palestinians martyred; Hezbollah launches missiles

American official claims that Washington will send a navy fleet to ensure the safety of Israeli coastal areas

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Web Desk

A plume of smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 8, 2023. — AFP
A plume of smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City during an Israeli air strike, on October 8, 2023. — AFP
  • "We'll take mighty vengeance for this wicked day," vows Netnayhu.
  • Hamas highlights threats to Al-Aqsa Mosque, blockade on Gaza.
  • Senior Israeli military officers among those killed in fighting.


As many as 370 Palestinians have been martyred in aerial bombing by Israeli jets on the residential areas in the besieged Gaza Strip while the death toll from Saturday's surprise large-scale attack by Hamas surged to over 700 on the Israeli side, according to Arab media reports.

Additionally, around 2,200 individuals sustained injuries in the massive attack by Hamas on Israel, the media revealed, adding that dozens of the injured were in critical condition.

The number of martyrs from the Palestinian side rose to 417, including 78 children, and 2,300 wounded by Israeli air strikes in Gaza since Saturday.

Israeli media, however, reported that over 2,000 people sustained injuries during the two-day attacks. In addition to this, over 100 Israelis were held hostage by Hamas, the reports also claimed.

'US to send warship to protect Israel's coasts'

Hours after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration was considering Israel's aid requests and the announcement of new military aid to Israel was expected by night, an American official — on the condition of anonymity — claimed that Washington will send a navy fleet to ensure the safety of Israeli coastal areas.

Israeli forces battled holdout Hamas fighters and pounded targets in the Gaza Strip with the army saying "tens of thousands of soldiers were deployed in southern desert regions near the coastal enclave, to rescue Israeli hostages and then evacuate the entire region within 24 hours."

"We'll reach each and every community till we kill every terrorist in Israel," said military spokesperson Daniel Hagari, a day after hundreds of Hamas fighters crossed into Israel in vehicles, boats and even paragliders.

"Our mission for the upcoming 24 hours is to evacuate all residents" from communities around the Gaza Strip, he told journalists.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, seven Palestinians embraced martyrdom by Israeli gunfire in the same period, the report added.

"Six of them, including a 13-year-old boy, were martyred during stone-throwing clashes in separate incidents while the seventh man was martyred as he tried to stab an Israeli," the health ministry statement said. 

Hamas said its unprecedented offensive by land, air and sea was in response to the desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as Israeli atrocities against Palestinians over the decades. 

These include the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians as well as the growth of illegal settlements, according to Al Jazeera.

Mohammed Deif, a Hamas military commander, said the time has come "for the enemy to understand… they cannot keep going without consequences."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to turn the besieged Palestinian enclave into a "deserted island", saying "we will take mighty vengeance for this wicked day."

"Hamas launched a cruel and wicked war. We will win this war but the price is too heavy to bear," he said adding that "Hamas wants to murder us all. This is an enemy that murders mothers and children in their homes, in their beds. An enemy that abducts elderly, children, teenage girls."

Israel strikes southern Lebanon

Earlier today, Israel fired barrages of artillery into southern Lebanon after Hezbollah targeted three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Hezbollah, a powerful armed party, said it had launched "guided rockets and artillery onto three posts in the Shebaa Farms in solidarity with the Palestinian people."

The Israeli military said Sunday it fired artillery into an area of Lebanon where cross-border mortar fire was launched. 

"IDF [Israel Defence Forces] artillery is currently striking the area in Lebanon from where a shooting was carried out," it said.

Israel’s military said one of its drones struck a Hezbollah post in the area of Har Dov, an area in Shebaa.

"At this point, there is no further threat in Har Dov or the northern arena," IDF's Hagari said in televised remarks, adding that "the military remained on high alert."

Israel has held the Shebaa Farms, a 15-square-mile (39-square-km) patch of land, since 1967. Both Syria and Lebanon claim the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the assault that had begun in Gaza, a narrow strip that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, would spread to the West Bank and Jerusalem. Innocent Gazans have lived under a brutal Israeli blockade for 16 years.

Bodies of Israeli civilians were strewn across the streets of Sderot in southern Israel, near Gaza, surrounded by broken glass. The bodies of a man and a woman were sprawled across the front seats of a car.

Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, on October 7, 2023. — Reuters
Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, on October 7, 2023. — Reuters

Senior military officers were among those killed in fighting near Gaza, the occupied military said.

Israeli troops clashed with Hamas fighters throughout the night in some parts of southern Israel. In a briefing on social media, an occupied Israeli army spokesperson said the situation was not fully under control.

The Israeli PM office said the security cabinet had approved steps to destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad "for many years", including cutting electricity and fuel supplies and the entry of goods into Gaza.

In Gaza, black smoke, orange flashes and sparks lit the sky from explosions. Israeli drones could be heard overhead. 

Earlier, crowds of mourners had carried the bodies of martyrs through the streets, wrapped in green Hamas flags.

Gaza's martyrs and wounded were carried into crumbling and overcrowded hospitals with severe shortages of medical supplies and equipment. The health ministry said 413 people had embraced martyrdom and at least 1,700 were wounded.

Streets were deserted apart from ambulances racing to the scenes of air strikes. Israel cut the power, plunging the city into darkness.

Hezbollah fires missiles

As fighting raged Sunday, Lebanon's Hezbollah movement said it had fired "large numbers of artillery shells and guided missiles" at Israeli positions in contested border areas "in solidarity" with Hamas.

Israel's army had earlier said it fired artillery on southern Lebanon in response to a shot from the area without identifying the attackers.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, the Israeli army said its forces hit the home of Hamas’s intelligence chief in the Gaza Strip.

The home was used as a military infrastructure by the group, according to the army’s statement.

The army continues to carry out attacks across Gaza, the statement added.

'Gates of hell'

Israeli army Major General Ghasan Alyan warned Hamas had "opened the gates of hell".

According to AFP, clouds of dust from the remains of bombed residential towers were seen which Gaza's interior ministry said contained 100 apartments.

Israel's military said it had warned residents to evacuate before targeting the multi-storey buildings used by Hamas.

Israel's state-run electricity company cut the power supply to Gaza as army flares lit up the night sky.

Israeli security personnel and members of the media take shelter as a siren sounds while rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip, in Mevaseret Zion, Israel October 7, 2023. — Reuters
Israeli security personnel and members of the media take shelter as a siren sounds while rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip, in Mevaseret Zion, Israel October 7, 2023. — Reuters

The escalation follows months of rising violence, mostly in the occupied West Bank, and tensions around Gaza's border and at contested holy sites in Jerusalem.

Before Saturday, at least 247 Palestinians were martyred, 32 Israelis and two foreigners had been killed this year, including combatants and civilians, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Hamas labelled its attack "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" and called on "resistance fighters in the West Bank" as well as in "Arab and Islamic nations" to join the battle.

Its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed to have fired more than 5,000 rockets, while Hecht said Israel had counted more than 3,000 incoming rockets.

Haniyeh said the group was on the "verge of a great victory".

"The cycle of intifada [uprisings] and revolutions in the battle to liberate our land and our prisoners languishing in occupation prisons must be completed," he said.

'Dangerous precipice'

Air raid sirens wailed across southern and central Israel, as well as in Jerusalem. In Tel Aviv, a gaping hole was ripped into a building, with residents boarding a bus to flee to safety.

The conflict sparked major disruption at Tel Aviv airport, where many carriers cancelled flights. Schools will remain closed Sunday, the start of the week in Israel.

Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, leading to Israel's crippling blockade of the impoverished enclave of 2.3 million people.

Israel and Hamas have since fought several wars. The last major military exchange, in May, martyred 34 Palestinians and one Israeli.

Palestinians break into the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border fence after gunmen infiltrated areas of southern Israel, October 7, 2023. — Reuters
Palestinians break into the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border fence after gunmen infiltrated areas of southern Israel, October 7, 2023. — Reuters

In northern Gaza on Saturday, hundreds of people fled their homes, carrying food and blankets, an AFP reported.

Violence also erupted across the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, with five Palestinians martyred and 120 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers, Palestinian medical services said.

Western capitals condemned the wave of attacks by Hamas, which Israel, the US, and the European Union label as a terrorist group.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the attack "terrorism in its most despicable form".

But Hamas drew support from other foes of Israel, with Iran's supreme leader declaring he was "proud" and Lebanese group Hezbollah praising the "heroic operation".

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland warned of "a dangerous precipice" and called on all sides to "pull back from the brink".