Live updates | The Hamas attack on Israel

By Isaac M October 7, 2023

Barrage of rockets launched towards Israel from Gaza Strip

Hamas have taken some 50 people hostage in a Israeli settlement near the border with Gaza, a broadcaster in Israel reports, as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his country to be at war.

Nearly 50 years to the day since the outset of the 1973 war, the Palestinian group launched a huge surprise attack by land, sea and air early on Saturday morning, with the group’s political chief reportedly declaring it was “waging a battle of honour, resistance and dignity”.

Israel has responded by launching its own operation inside Gaza and striking targets there, and called up its military reservists, as warning sirens sounded across southern and central parts of the country.

A least 40 Israelis have been killed and 740 wounded in the Hamas attack, officials have said, with reports emerging from Gaza stating there are multiple dead and wounded following Israeli strikes on the besieged strip.

Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said UK government was advising against all travel to Gaza, Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar, and beyond the “Blue Line” near the Lebanon border and the Alpha Line near Syria.

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In pictures: Gaza in rubble

A young man rides his bicycle past a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City

(AFP via Getty Images)

A man carries a crying child as he walks in front of a destroyed building

(AFP via Getty Images)

A young boy walks amid the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza City

(AFP via Getty Images)

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 16:45

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Netanyahu and Biden speak on phone as US reinforces support for Israel

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has spoken on the phone with the US president, Joe Biden.

“US President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and emphasized that the US stands alongside Israel and fully supports Israel’s right to self-defense,” Netanyahu’s office wrote on X.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked US President Biden for the unreserved support and made it clear that a forceful, prolonged campaign – which Israel will win – is necessary.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 16:30

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Jeremy Corbyn calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ and end to ‘occupation’

Jeremy Corbyn called for “an immediate ceasefire and urgent de-escalation” in Israel following today’s bloodshed.

He added that “ending the occupation is the only means of achieving a just and lasting peace”.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 16:15

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First priority to ‘cleanse the area’- Netanyahu

At a meeting of top security officials later on Saturday, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the first priority was to “cleanse the area” of enemy infiltrators, then to “exact a huge price from the enemy,” and to fortify other areas so that no other militant groups join the war.

The serious incursion on Simchat Torah, a normally joyous day when Jews complete the annual cycle of reading the Torah scroll, revived painful memories of the 1973 Mideast war practically 50 years to the day, in which Israel‘s enemies launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

Comparisons to one of the most traumatic moments in Israeli history sharpened criticism of Netanyahu and his far-right allies, who had campaigned on more aggressive action against threats from Gaza.

Political commentators lambasted the government over its failure to anticipate what appeared to be a Hamas attack unseen in its level of planning and coordination.

Palestinian militants ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip

(REUTERS)

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 16:00

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Nurse and ambulance driver killed in Israeli strikes on hospitals in Gaza

A nurse and ambulance driver have been killed in Israeli strikes on two hospitals in Gaza, the medical aid group Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has reported.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:51

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White House remains ‘in close contact with Israeli partners’

On today’s events in Israel and Palestine, the White House said: “Senior national security officials briefed the President this morning on the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. The President will continue to receive updates and White House officials remain in close contact with Israeli partners.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:48

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CONFIRMED: Hamas militants holding Israeli civilians hostage in Gaza

An Israeli military spokesperson has confirmed that Hamas militants are holding Israeli civilians and soldiers hostage in Gaza.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:42

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Brazil to call emergency meeting of UN Security Council over attack on Israel

Brazil’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it would convene an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council following the biggest attack on Israel in years.

Brazil, which assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month, condemned the attacks in a public statement and expressed solidarity with the people of Israel. It also reaffirmed a commitment to a “two-state solution,” with Palestine and Israel coexisting within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the largest attack on Israel in years on Saturday, killing at least 40 people and injuring hundreds. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to retaliate, declaring his country was at war.

“The Brazilian government reiterates that there is no justification for resorting to violence, especially against civilians, and urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint to prevent an escalation of the situation,” the Foreign Ministry said. It added that “the mere management of the conflict is not a viable alternative for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and the resumption of peace negotiations is urgent.”

Palestinians flee Gaza City following Israeli air strikes

(AFP via Getty Images)

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:34

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Donald Trump says Israel ‘has every right to defend itself’

Former US president Donald Trump has weighed in on the ongoing Hamas attacks on Israel, calling them a “disgrace” and declaring that Israel “has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force”.

“Sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration,” Trump said in a statement.

“We brought so much peace to the Middle East through the Abraham Accords, only to see Biden whittle it away at a far more rapid pace than anyone thought possible. Here we go again.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:16

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Humza Yousaf reveals his wife’s family in Gaza

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s First Minister, said he and his wife “spent the morning on the phone” to his wife’s family in Gaza.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain7 October 2023 15:11

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