Zimbabwean Living in Israel Says Situation Tense in Tel Aviv

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A Zimbabwean woman living in Israel, Vivian Nomalanga Bhebhe, says the situation is tense in the country where hundreds of people have been killed Hamas. And Israel has also killed about 370 Palestinians.

The Israeli army said it was working Sunday to clear out Hamas fighters who remained in the country a day after the militant group’s surprise attack on Israel.

“Hundreds of terrorists” have been killed and captured, an Israeli military official said Sunday, following the surprise attack by the Gaza Strip-based Palestinian militant group.

The Israel Defense Forces reported fighting at several locations in the south near the Gaza Strip from where Hamas launched its attack Saturday. The locations included the city of Sderot.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, told CNN there may have been as many as 1,000 Hamas fighters who entered Israel on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Israel is seeking help from Egypt to ascertain information about the safety and locations of abducted Israeli citizens, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Both Hamas and the Israeli military have said Hamas took Israeli soldiers and civilians captive on Saturday, but the exact number is unknown.

Israel launched more retaliatory airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The IDF said that a Hamas intelligence headquarters, a weapons production plant and two banks were among the targets its forces has hit so far.

Hamas kept up its strikes overnight too, firing rockets overnight at several cities, including Tel Aviv.

Israeli tanks drive on a road near Sderot in southern Israel, following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, Oct. 8, 2023.

At least 250 Israelis have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in rocket attacks by Hamas and by fighters who infiltrated Israel from Gaza by land, sea and air.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 256 people have died in the attacks, including 20 children, while 121 children were among the 1,788 people who have been injured.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army exchanged fire Sunday with Hezbollah militants on the Lebanese border, opening up the possibility of a broader conflict. Lebanon and Israel are considered enemy states, but a 2006 truce between them has held, for the most part with occasional small rocket attacks from Lebanon which Israel had addressed with retaliatory attacks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s offensive will continue “without reservation and without respite.”

Hamas kept up its strikes overnight too, firing rockets overnight at several cities, including Tel Aviv.

Much of Gaza has been plunged into darkness since the attacks. Israel maintains a blockade around the territory and Netanyahu announced that Israel will cut the electricity, fuel and other goods it supplies to Gaza.

Saturday’s coordinated attack from Hamas came as a complete surprise to Israeli intelligence.

Israel “didn’t have an inkling of what was going on,” Efraim Halevy, the former chief of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, told CNN. “We had no warning of any kind and it was a total surprise that the war broke out this morning.” He said the attack was the first time the Palestinians had been able to “penetrate” so deeply into Israel.

The militants launched over 3,000 missiles in less than 24 hours, according to Halevy. “This is beyond imagination from our point of view,” Halvey told CNN. “We didn’t know they had this quantity of missiles and we certainly didn’t expect that they would be as effective as they were today. … As an operation, it was highly successful, unfortunately.”

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.

Palestinian health officials said at least 200 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,600 wounded in Israel’s retaliatory strikes.

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’ 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.”

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.”

Hamas and Israel have fought four wars since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday to discuss the latest violence.

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

“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 slipping past Israel’s 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. – VOA