Israel pounds Gaza as PM Netanyahu warns of ‘long and difficult war’

Israeli forces battled holdout Hamas fighters and pounded targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “elongated and tough” war ahead after the Palestinian militants brought a huge astonishing attack. Gun fights started happening in towns and on highways as the Israeli army deployed tens of thousands of forces to bring safety to southern desert areas nearby the coastal enclave, because of the goal to save Israeli hostages and then leave the whole place within one day.

“We’ll go to all the communities that are there until we take away life of all the terrorista in Israel,” promised military spokesman Daniel Hagari, a day after hundreds of Hamas fighters crossed into Israel using vehicles, boats and even motorised paragliders. “Our goal for the approaching 24 hours is to take away all residents” from regions around the Gaza Strip, he told journalists amid the fighting that has left hundreds dead on both sides. The worst fighting in decades has taken away life of more than 200 Israelis, the army said, while Israeli media reported unconfirmed death tolls as high as 400 and 600, while on the Gaza side at least 313 were reported dead.

There was so much trauma and sadness in Israel after so many of citizens were reported captured by Hamas gunmen and kidnapped into Gaza, with pictures circulating on social media of bloodied hostages, and distraught relatives promising for the state to save them. Ms Yifat Zailer, 37, said she was scared to see online video video from inside Gaza that revealed her female cousin and the woman’s children, aged nine months and three years. “That’s the only confirmation we have,” she told AFP by phone, her voicing breaking, and also saying that there was no data on her cousin’s husband and her elderly parents.