Israel’s Security Cabinet Orders IDF To Destroy Hamas And Islamic Jihad Capabilities
Israel’s Security Cabinet early on Sunday morning made a series of decisions marking the start of the offensive phase of “Operation Swords of Iron,” ordering the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the “destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas and [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad.”
“We are embarking on a long and difficult war that was forced on us by a murderous Hamas attack,” said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“We will restore security to the citizens of Israel and we will win,” he vowed.
“The first stage is ending at this time with the destruction of the vast majority of the enemy forces that infiltrated our territory. At the same time, we have begun the offensive phase, which will continue with neither limitations nor respite until the objectives are achieved,” he added.
Among the Cabinet’s decisions was to halt the supply of electricity, fuel and goods to the Gaza Strip.
As Israel readied its response to Saturday’s attacks, four divisions of reservists were being deployed to the Gaza border, joining the 35 battalions already deployed to the area, the army said.
Hamas killed at least 250 Israelis and wounded more than 1,800 on Saturday in a massive offensive launched from the Gaza Strip, including firing thousands of rockets and sending dozens of terrorists to infiltrate the Jewish state.
Of the 1,864 wounded, 19 remain in critical condition, the Israeli Health Ministry announced on Sunday morning. In addition, 326 Israelis sustained severe wounds, while 359 were moderately wounded.
”821 people suffered light injuries, 20 were treated for anxiety and another 223 are under medical supervision,” said the Health Ministry’s most recent figures.
Hamas claims to have taken 163 Israeli captives to Gaza. Channel 13 reported late Saturday afternoon that Israel has confirmed that at least 11 people have been taken hostage in the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Overnight Saturday, Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip continued to fire rockets at Israel’s southern region, with a direct hit reported at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center. The projectile struck a bridge between hospital buildings and no casualties were reported, Channel 12 said.
Meanwhile, security forces, including 35 IDF battalions, continued their search for Hamas infiltrators throughout southern communities. Following a day-long standoff, hostages were freed after exchanges of fire in Kibbutz Be’eri and Ofakim.
Control was also regained over the area surrounding the police station in Sderot, where 10 Hamas terrorists were killed after the Israel Police ordered the building destroyed.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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