Israel strikes Gaza Tower after Prime Minister Netanyahu warning to respond following surprise Hamas attack.
Israel has launched multiple air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip after the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched an unprecedented land and air military operation against Israel.
According to reports, at least 232 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air raids; as the Hamas attack killed 200 Israelis, a ‘big number’ were also captured.
The number of casualties is expected to surge amid of escalation hostilities between the two.
Air strikes in the evening flattened a 14-story residential tower that also holds Hamas offices in central Gaza City.
The Israeli military said navy forces killed dozens of Palestinian militants trying to infiltrate Israel by sea.
The Israeli military said it had responded with air strikes into Gaza, where witnesses reported hearing heavy explosions and multiple dead and injured being carried into hospitals.
Analysts say the nature of the Hamas attacks on Israel are without precedent in recent years and could transform the landscape of the entrenched conflict.
The group running the besieged enclave said its surprise, large-scale operation was in response to the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased settler violence.
Hamas says it fired thousands of rockets and captured “a big number” of Israelis after its fighters crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
The operation comes after thousands of settlers in recent days carried out provocative tours of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
It also follows a major uptick of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians over the past year, occurring at a rate of three per day for the first eight months of 2023, according to the United Nations.
Retaliation by Israel comes after Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a televised address, vowed Israel would defeat Hamas, but said the fighting “will take time”.
Netanyahu said Israel would “reach every place Hamas is hiding”, telling residents of Gaza to “leave those places now”.
Referring to Israeli captives being held in Gaza, he added: “I tell Hamas, you are responsible for the well-being of captives, Israel will settle the score with anyone who harms them.”