Hamas gunmen appear to be snatching hostages off the streets of Israel after crossing into the territory on Saturday as the war takes a darker turn and the death toll approaches 400 after less than one day.
Horrifying new footage emerging this afternoon showed women being marched into vehicles full of male fighters, bloodied and bruised, often with their hands bound behind their backs.
Earlier pictures showed Israeli pensioners captured in Israel and taken into the Gaza Strip on golf carts. Other clips showed entire families forced into trucks and being driven off by militants.
At least 200 people have died and 1,100 wounded in the conflict in Israel alone, and it’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his country is ‘at war’ with the Palestinians militants.
Meanwhile Hamas has called for Arab and Islamic nations to join its attack, and has seen 198 people die in the Gaza Strip with another 1,610 wounded amid Israel’s retaliation.
The UN has announced an emergency Security Council meeting to be held tomorrow.
Thomas Helm, Jerusalem Correspondent at The National spoke to MailOnline from Jerusalem today. He said the hostage situation set a dangerous tone for how the conflict – which was launched on a Jewish holiday – could develop.
‘There are reports that [the Palestinians] have taken an Israeli General hostage, entire families have been taken, point blank killings… wars have been started where one Israeli hostage was taken and now it seems like there could be about 60.
‘So it couldn’t be worse. Every Israeli I have spoken to, their voices have been quivering.’
The militants have claimed to have taken dozens of soldiers captive, but this does not include the number of civilians who have reportedly been detained.
An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also said that Israel was striking targets in Gaza from the air and that ground operations were imminent.
Hagari confirmed ongoing hostage situations in the towns of Ofakim and Beeri. Earlier, both the Israeli military and Hamas confirmed that some Israelis had been captured and taken hostage.
Iran have been accused of encouraging the latest round of fighting by sources in government, the Times reports.
A Whitehall source told the paper: ‘The Revolutionary Guards have their fingerprints all over this multifaceted attack. Hamas is just another tool in Iran’s campaign against the West.’
Videos shared online appear to show Iranians celebrating news of the conflict, with state television airing a clip of Parliament members chanting: ‘Palestine will be victorious, Israel will be destroyed.’
Hamas, the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip, claims to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel today, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, before invading by ground and air, reportedly using paragliders.
Palestinians kidnapped this Jewish girl and are parading her through Gaza screaming “alluh Akbar”
DON’T EVER TELL ISRAEL WE NEED A 2 STATE SOLUTION AGAIN. WE WILL NEVER SHARE OUR HOMELAND WITH MURDERERS & TERRORISTS.
PRAY FOR THE SAFETY AND LIFE OF THIS YOUNG GIRL! https://t.co/7RnfF62cSb
— Debra Lea (@thedebralea) October 7, 2023