In a developing situation, Israeli forces have been battling Hamas fighters in Gaza and pounding targets in the coastal enclave, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a "long and difficult" war ahead. In response to the attacks by Hamas militants, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers have been deployed to fight in the desert regions surrounding Gaza, with the aim of rescuing Israeli hostages and evacuating the entire region within 24 hours.
Military spokesman Daniel Hagari has stated that "our mission for the next 24 hours is to evacuate all residents" from the communities around Gaza. The situation is ongoing and remains tense.
Adding to Israel’s woes, Lebanon's Hezbollah launched missiles and artillery shells at the country in a show of support for the surprise offensive from Gaza, resulting in civilian casualties.
The attacks in Gaza have been the worst in decades, killing more than 200 Israelis and wounding over 1,000, while more than 300 have died in Gaza and over 1,700 have been wounded. The scenes of devastation have been devastating, with bodies strewn on roads and the fighting showing no signs of abating.
The violence has prompted widespread international condemnation, with calls for an end to hostilities from the United Nations, the European Union and other world powers.