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ISRAEL AT WAR: At least 250 Israelis killed as hundreds of Hamas terrorists infiltrate settlements near Gaza, over 3,500 rockets fired into Israel

Israel declares beginning of Operation Iron Swords

The scene where a rocket fired from Gaza into Southern Israel, hit and caused damage in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Edi Israel/Flash90

Direct impacts of rockets fired from Gaza and Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into Israel killed at least 250 Israelis and injured over 1,450, with 285 in serious condition, according to Israeli media reports.

The Hamas terror organization has continuously fired rockets toward Israel since around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, about 3,500 rockets in total.

Hundreds of terrorists infiltrated settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip including the southern cities of Sderot and Ofakim, according to the IDF.

IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari confirmed that Hamas terrorists killed a number of IDF soldiers and took "hostages and prisoners of war."

The IDF and Israel Police are scanning the area for the terrorists and are engaging them in shootouts. The IDF stated on Saturday evening that it had killed "hundreds" of terrorists.

According to him, hundreds of terrorists breached the border fence at a number of points and landed on Israeli shores with boats.

There was fighting in 22 locations, Hagari confirmed, including hostage situations in the Kibbutz Be'eri and the town of Ofakim. He stressed that army forces had arrived at all of the settlements that were under attack.

At least 30 IDF battalions were concentrated near the border with the Gaza Strip, Hagari said, adding that large reserve forces were called up and were making their way there.

Unconfirmed videos circulating on social media show groups of armed terrorists roaming the streets in Jewish settlements near the Gaza Strip and firing on passersby, including police. Another video shows an armed terrorist paragliding into Israeli territory.

The IDF has closed off the area around the Gaza Strip in a wide perimeter with armed checkpoints. Smoke was seen rising from a number of settlements in the area.

At present, at least 1,000 people are reported as injured in the rocket and terror attacks.

Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said there were at least 21 different active scenes of engagement and that police forces have dispatched SWAT and tactical forces.

Among the confirmed victims is the mayor of the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, Ofir Liebstein. He was killed in a shootout with terrorists, the regional council spokesman stated.

Rockets were fired toward the Jerusalem area, Tel Aviv and its surroundings, as well as Beersheva and the area surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Several direct hits on residential buildings have been reported.

Muhammad Deif, commander of the Hamas military branch, declared the start of a broad operation and claimed that his organization fired more than 5,000 rockets so far.

“We launched Operation Tufan al-Aqsa [Al-Aqsa Storm] and launched more than 5,000 rockets,” Deif said. “Al-Aqsa's rage exploded today, and our military operatives will make the enemy understand that its time has passed. As of today, security coordination will end.”

Hamas also claimed it has already transferred several captured civilians and IDF soldiers to Gaza. This report has not been confirmed by Israeli officials.

The IDF stated that dozens of planes are striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared an emergency situation in a range of 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) from the Gaza Strip, his office said.

This allows the IDF Home Front Command to restrict gatherings and close off areas, which includes the major cities of Tel Aviv and Beersheva.

Home Front Command instructed residents of the south and center regions to shelter at home and in protected areas.

In addition, Gallant approved the broad activation of IDF reserve forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gallant and the IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi conducted a situation assessment at the army headquarters in Tel Aviv.

At the end of the meeting, Gallant stated: "Hamas made a grave mistake this morning and started a war against the State of Israel. IDF soldiers fight the enemy at all penetration points. The State of Israel will win this war."

The IDF issued a state of war alert.

“In the past hour, massive rocket fire into Israeli territory from Gaza began, and terrorists penetrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations. Residents of the south and center are required to be near protected areas, and in the Gaza envelope within a protected area. At this time, the Chief of Staff is assessing the situation and approving plans for continued IDF activity. Hamas is the sovereign in the Gaza Strip, which is behind this attack, and will bear the consequences and responsibility for the events,” the statement said.

This is a developing story...

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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