Israeli military shells Syria after rockets hit open areas – and says babies were killed in Hamas attack

By Isaac M October 11, 2023

Babies and children were among those killed during Saturday’s attack by Hamas, according to Israel’s military.

More than 1,000 people are now known to have died in the raid by Palestinian fighters who used bulldozers, hang gliders and motorbikes to cross the border from Gaza into Israel before shooting soldiers and civilians and taking other Israelis hostage.

The Israeli military has also said it shelled Syria on Tuesday after rockets hit open areas on Israeli territory.

The military did not accuse any group of the rocket attack and the Syrian government did not comment.

Israel-Gaza latest: Israel warns its offensive ‘won’t be clean’

US President Joe Biden said at least 14 Americans were among those killed in the Hamas incursion, and he was sending extra military assistance to Israel, including ammunition and interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome defence system.

He said he would make sure the Israelis have what they need to defend themselves, insisting the US “has Israel’s back” as he condemned Hamas’s assault as an “act of sheer evil”.

Map of Israel and Gaza

The Israeli air force said it is carrying out an “extensive attack against terror targets” in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the lethal assault by the militant group.

Some 900 Palestinians, including 260 children and 230 women, have died in the narrow territory and 4,600 have been injured in strikes so far, Palestinian health authorities said.

Israeli soldiers drive in military vehicles by Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli soldiers drive along the border with Gaza in southern Israel

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers have been retrieving bodies from homes in the Kfar Aza kibbutz in southern Israel after the Hamas incursion.

Israeli Major General Itai Veruv, escorting journalists at the scene, said: “You see the babies, the mothers, the fathers, in their bedrooms, in their protection rooms and how the terrorist kills them”, according to the Reuters news agency.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) told Sky News: “We cannot confirm any numbers. What happened in Kibbutz Kfar Aza is a massacre in which women, children, toddlers and elderly were brutally butchered in an ISIS way of action.”

In other key developments on Tuesday:

• Bodies of 1,500 militants found, say Israeli authorities
• 30 missing people reportedly found alive and well in a kibbutz three days after Hamas attack
• More than 180,000 Gazans have been made homeless amid Israeli bombardment
• US offers hostage rescue support to Israel, Sky News confirms

Israeli soldiers walk past a damaged car in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli soldiers walk past a damaged car in Kfar Aza kibbutz, in southern Israel

Rockets fired

Meanwhile, Hamas has fired rockets towards Ashkelon from Gaza after Hamas’s deadline expired warning people living in the southern Israeli city they had until 5pm local time (3pm UK time) to leave.

The threat was from the Palestinian militant group’s armed wing, known as the al Qassam Brigades, which said it was in response to the “crime of the enemy”.

Sky’s international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn, reporting from near the scene, said Israeli Iron Dome missiles were launched to intercept the incoming barrage but some got past the defence system. A number of people were injured.

Hamas rockets did not empty Ashkelon

Dominic Waghorn - Diplomatic editor

Dominic Waghorn

International Affairs Editor


What is clear is Hamas has not succeeded in emptying the city. People were out instead in crowds watching the aftermath of this attack.

Israelis say several people were injured in Ashkelon, some serious, where we were filming. They were hurt after windows were blown in flats overlooking the blast.

Ashkelon is under constant threat of bombardment. Minutes after we drove away we had to pull over as more sirens sounded and we ran to take cover.

South of the city, there were fires burning in scrubland lit up by fallen rockets. Patriot missiles soared to the sky from a battery nearby.

Again rockets and missiles converged in fiery explosions lighting the night sky.

Life here is now under constant threat from the air. Imagine living like that and yet for millions of Israelis it is for now the new norm as this conflict continues to escalate.

A salvo of rockets was also fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel, reportedly by Palestinian factions. In turn, the Israeli military said it was responding with artillery fire.

It said 15 rockets were launched from Lebanon, including four which were intercepted and 10 that fell in open spaces.

Also, 30 people including 16 Israelis and 14 Thais, who were missing for three days since the Hamas incursion have been found alive and well in the southern kibbutz of Ein Hashlosha, reported The Times of Israel.

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Israel said more than 150 of its civilians and soldiers were kidnapped in Saturday’s incursion and are being held hostage in Gaza.

Sky News can confirm the United States has offered hostage rescue support to Israel.

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‘This conflict is escalating’

A US defence official said: “We have US Central Command, US Special Operations Command, and Joint Special Operations Command offering support to Israel on hostage rescue planning/intelligence support.”

However, the official said the plans do not involve US troops on the ground in Israel or Gaza. “This offer is with Israel taking the lead and this isn’t US boots on the ground.”

Harrowing tales have emerged of families being taken away, with relatives left with no clue about their fate.

Hamas has warned it will kill a hostage every time Israel launches a retaliatory airstrike without a pre-warning to enable civilians to reach safety.

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Aerial footage shows the scale of destruction in Gaza City

Read more:
Foreign secretary calls on pro-Palestinian protesters to stay at home
Who is secretive Hamas commander behind attack on Israel?
Trapped British family heard dog ‘burn to death’

Gaza under siege

Israel is carrying out a siege of Gaza, cutting off food, power and water as it hits back at Hamas targets in the thin coastal strip, which is home to 2.3 million people.

More than 180,000 Gazans have been made homeless, with many huddling on streets or in schools, the United Nations said, while the bombardment shut roads to emergency crews.

Ahead of an expected ground assault, Israeli tanks have been gathering at the border to guard against further incursions – with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising devastating revenge.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has now increased the number of reservists it has mobilised to 360,000, with at least 35 battalions being organised into four divisions.


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