Accessibility links

Breaking News

Hamas Attacks Israel, Killing Hundreds; Dozens Kidnapped

Rockets are launched by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.
Rockets are launched by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.

Gun battles raged into the night, hours after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise large-scale attack against Israel Saturday. Hamas had fired thousands of rockets from Gaza and sent fighters to kill and abduct soldiers and civilians.

The coordinated attack came as a complete surprise to Israeli intelligence.

At least 250 Israelis were killed and more than 1,000 wounded after dozens of Palestinian militants infiltrated Israel from Gaza by land, sea and air. An unknown number of Israeli soldiers and civilians were seized and taken into Gaza, an enormously sensitive issue for Israel.

250 Israelis Killed, 1,500 Wounded, Dozens Kidnapped in Hamas Attack
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:01:40 0:00

Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza, leveling several buildings in Gaza City. Palestinian health officials said at least 200 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,600 wounded in the Israeli strikes.

Israel vows retaliation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to avenge what he said was a "black day" for Israel, saying the army will strike back at Hamas in Gaza with full force.

"The [Israeli Defense Force] is about to use all its force to destroy Hamas's capabilities," Netanyahu said in a brief televised statement. "We'll strike them to the bitter end and avenge with force this black day they brought on Israel and its people."

Hamas launches surprise, wide-scale attack in Israel.
Hamas launches surprise, wide-scale attack in Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden voiced "rock solid and unwavering" support for the U.S. ally and warned "against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation."

The United Nations Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday to discuss the latest violence.

Fighting continues

As night fell, the Israeli army said its forces were engaged in live gun battles in 22 locations in Israel.

"There are still 22 locations where we are engaging with terrorists that came into Israel, from the sea, from the land and from the air," said army spokesperson Richard Hecht on what he labelled a "robust ground invasion."

The coordinated attack began around 6:30 a.m. local time with thousands of rockets aimed as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, some bypassing the Iron Dome defense system and hitting buildings.

Hamas fighters, using ground vehicles, motorized paragliders, and boats, breached Gaza's security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns and military posts, opening fire on residents and passersby.

Linda Gradstein in Jerusalem contributed to this report; some material for this article came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.