The Guardian / October 7, 2023
Israel responds after Palestinian Islamist group launches surprise attack and incursion.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has launched a surprise attack on Israel, its biggest in years.
Here is what we know so far:
- Hamas militants entered Israeli territory in the early hours of Saturday morning, appearing to take control of various communities in the south of the country. Fighting is still going on in some areas.
- Hamas fired thousands of rockets towards Israel, according to Israeli authorities. The Hamas military commander, Mohammed Deif, said 5,000 had been fired, but an Israeli military spokesperson said 2,500 had been fired.
- At least 150 Israelis have died in the Hamas attacks, Reuters reports Israeli local outlet N12 saying. Meanwhile, more than 1,100 Israelis have been wounded, Israel’s health ministry said.
- The Palestinian health ministry said at least 198 people have been killed and 1,610 wounded in Gaza by Israeli retaliation after the Hamas attack.
- There are reports of Israeli hostages in Gaza.
- “We are at war and we will win it,” the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a video address to the country.
- The British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, said he was “shocked by this morning’s attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli citizens”. “Israel has an absolute right to defend itself,” he said.
- The US president, Joe Biden, issued a statement condemning the attacks in Israel, calling them “horrific” and an “appalling assault”.
- Adrienne Watson, the spokesperson for the US national security council, said: “The US unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. We stand firmly with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks.”
- Saudi Arabia, which has been in talks with the US about normalising relations with Israel, called on both sides to exercise restraint.
- The UN security council is due to meet on Sunday. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, condemned the attack by Hamas and urged “all diplomatic efforts to avoid a wider conflagration”, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.
Lili Bayer is The Guardian’s Europe live blogger