Hamas says it’s holding greater than 100 individuals captive from its assault on Israel8 min read

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A senior Hamas official says the militant group is holding greater than 100 individuals captive after its unprecedented assault on Israel.

Mousa Abu Marzouk made the remarks Sunday to the Arabic language information outlet al-Ghad. The determine is along with greater than 30 individuals stated to be held by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.

Throughout their rampage by southern Israel, militants dragged again into Gaza dozens of captives, amongst them ladies, youngsters and the aged. Their exact quantity was not clear till the 2 militant teams made their bulletins. Israel’s navy has stated solely {that a} “important” quantity have been kidnapped, with out additional element.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows under.

The Israeli authorities formally declared battle Sunday and gave the inexperienced gentle for “important navy steps” to retaliate towards Hamas for its shock assault, because the navy tried to crush fighters nonetheless in southern cities and intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The toll handed 1,100 useless and 1000’s wounded on either side.

Greater than 24 hours after Hamas launched its unprecedented incursion out of Gaza, Israeli forces have been nonetheless attempting to defeat the final teams of militants holed up in a number of cities. No less than 700 individuals have reportedly been killed in Israel — a staggering toll on a scale the nation has not skilled in many years — and greater than 400 have been killed in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes pound the territory.

The declaration of battle portended better preventing forward, and a significant query was whether or not Israel would launch a floor assault into Gaza, a transfer that previously has introduced intensified casualties. In the meantime, in northern Israel, a short trade of strikes with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fanned fears that the preventing might increase right into a wider regional battle.

Authorities have been nonetheless attempting to find out what number of civilians and troopers have been seized by Hamas fighters in the course of the mayhem and brought again to Gaza. From movies and witnesses, the captives are identified to incorporate ladies, youngsters and the aged.

The chief of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Ziad Nakhaleh, stated his group, which participated within the assault, is holding greater than 30 Israelis, amongst dozens he stated have been captive in Gaza. He stated they might not be launched till all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are freed.

Talking on ABC’s “This Week,” U.S. Secretary of State Andrew Blinken stated as many as 1,000 Hamas fighters have been concerned within the assault — a excessive determine that underscored the extent of planning by the militant group ruling Gaza. The gunmen rampaged for hours, gunning down civilians in cities, alongside highways and at a techno music pageant being held within the desert close to Gaza. The rescue service Zaka stated it eliminated about 260 our bodies from the pageant, and the toll was anticipated to rise as different paramedic groups have been working within the space.

Video aired on social media and by Israeli information retailers confirmed dozens of pageant goers working by an open subject as gunshots rang out. Many hid in close by fruit orchards or have been gunned down as they fled.

Israel hit greater than 800 targets in Gaza to date, its navy stated, together with airstrikes that leveled a lot of the city of Beit Hanoun within the enclave’s northeast nook.

Warplanes fired tons of explosives on 120 targets, Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari informed reporters, saying Hamas was utilizing the city as a staging floor for assaults. There was no fast phrase on casualties, and many of the neighborhood’s inhabitants of tens of 1000’s of individuals seemingly fled earlier than the bombardment.

“We’ll proceed to assault on this means, with this drive, repeatedly, on all gathering (locations) and routes” utilized by Hamas, Hagari stated.

Civilians on either side have been already paying a excessive worth.

A line of Israelis snaked outdoors a central Israel police station to provide DNA samples and different signifies that might assist determine lacking relations. Israeli TV information aired a stream of accounts from kin of captive or lacking Israelis who wept and begged for help and knowledge.

In Gaza, the tiny enclave of two.3 million individuals sealed off by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for 16 years for the reason that Hamas takeover, residents feared an intensified onslaught. Israeli strikes flattened various residential buildings. Some 74,000 displaced Gazans have been staying in 64 shelters, with the quantity anticipated to extend. The U.N. company for Palestinian refugees, UNWRA, stated a college sheltering greater than 225 individuals took a direct hit. It didn’t say the place the fireplace got here from.

A number of Israeli media retailers, citing rescue service officers, stated no less than 700 individuals have been killed in Israel, together with 44 troopers. The Gaza Well being Ministry stated 413 individuals, together with 78 youngsters and 41 ladies, have been killed within the territory. Some 2,000 individuals have been wounded on all sides. An Israeli official stated safety forces have killed 400 militants and captured dozens extra.

The trade of fireplace with Hezbollah added to concern that the battle might unfold. Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells Sunday at three Israeli positions in a disputed space alongside the border, and the Israeli navy fired again utilizing armed drones. Two youngsters have been flippantly wounded by damaged glass on the Lebanese facet, in line with the close by Marjayoun Hospital.

The Israeli navy stated the state of affairs since was calm after the trade.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah is estimated to have tens of 1000’s of rockets at its disposal. Since its brutal 2006 battle with Israel, Hezbollah has stayed on the sidelines amid earlier outbreaks of Israeli-Hamas preventing. But when destruction in Gaza escalates, it could really feel stress to intervene.

The declaration of battle introduced by Israel’s Safety Cupboard was largely symbolic, stated Yohanan Plesner, the pinnacle of the Israel Democracy Institute, an area assume tank. However it “demonstrates that the federal government thinks we’re getting into a extra prolonged, intense and important interval of battle.”

Israel has carried out main navy campaigns over the previous 4 many years in Lebanon and Gaza that it portrayed as wars, however with out a formal declaration.

The Safety Cupboard additionally authorised “important navy steps.” The steps weren’t outlined, however the declaration seems to offer the navy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a large mandate.

Talking on nationwide tv Saturday, Netanyahu vowed that Hamas “pays an unprecedented worth.” He additional warned: “This battle will take time. It is going to be troublesome.”

In an announcement, his workplace stated the intention would be the destruction of Hamas’ “navy and governing capabilities” to an extent that forestalls it from threatening Israelis “for a few years.”

Israelis have been nonetheless reeling from the breadth, ferocity and shock of the Hamas assault. The group’s fighters broke by Israel’s safety fence surrounding the Gaza Strip early Saturday. Utilizing bikes and pickup vehicles, even paragliders and speedboats on the coast, they moved into close by Israeli communities — as many as 22 areas.

The excessive demise toll and gradual response to the onslaught pointed to a significant intelligence failure and undermined the long-held notion that Israel has eyes and ears in every single place within the small, densely populated territory it has managed for many years.

The Israeli navy was evacuating no less than 5 cities near Gaza and them scouring them for militants.

A lot of the territory’s inhabitants was thrown into darkness Saturday evening as Israel reduce off electrical energy and stated it will now not provide energy, gas or different items to the territory.

One girl sheltering at an UNWRA faculty in Gaza Metropolis’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood described a panicked flight from her dwelling in the midst of the evening. The Israeli navy made bulletins on loudspeakers telling individuals to depart.

“We didn’t know the place to go,” she stated. “It was a miracle we arrived on the colleges as a result of there was no transport.”

The presence of hostages in Gaza complicates Israel’s response. Hamas officers have stated they may search the discharge of 1000’s of Palestinian prisoners, and Israel has a historical past of constructing closely lopsided exchanges to carry captive Israelis dwelling.

The navy has confirmed {that a} “substantial” variety of Israelis have been kidnapped Saturday with out giving a precise determine.

An Egyptian official stated Israel sought assist from Cairo to make sure the security of the hostages, and that Egypt’s intelligence chief contacted Hamas and the smaller however extra radical Islamic Jihad group, which additionally took half within the incursion, to hunt info. Egypt has typically mediated between the 2 sides previously.

The official stated Palestinian leaders claimed they don’t but have a “full image” of the variety of hostages however stated they have been held in “safe areas” throughout Gaza. The official, who requested to not be recognized as a result of he was not approved to transient media. estimated Hamas held “a giant quantity — a number of dozens.”

Egypt additionally spoke with either side a couple of potential cease-fire, however the official stated Israel was not open to a truce “at this stage.”

In Iran, which has lengthy supported Hamas and different militant teams, senior officers have overtly praised the incursion. President Ebrahim Raisi spoke by telephone with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhalah, the state-run IRNA information company reported Sunday.

The shadowy chief of Hamas’ navy wing, Mohammed Deif, stated the assault, named “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm,” was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, the Israeli occupation and a collection of current incidents which have introduced Israeli-Palestinian tensions to a fever pitch.

Over the previous 12 months, Israel’s far-right authorities has ramped up settlement building within the occupied West Financial institution. Israeli settler violence has displaced a whole lot of Palestinians there, and tensions have flared across the Al-Aqsa mosque, a flashpoint Jerusalem holy website.


Shurafa reported from Gaza Metropolis. Related Press writers Isabel DeBre, Julia Frankel and Josef Federman in Jerusalem; Issam Adwan in Rafah, Gaza Strip; Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Samy Magdy in Cairo and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.

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