Netanyahu declares 'long' war on Gaza as Israeli death toll tops 700
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet has declared a "long and difficult" war against Palestinians following a surprise retaliatory operation by the Hamas resistance movement.
According to the latest Israeli media reports, the Israeli death toll from the Hamas onslaught surpassed 700 by Saturday evening.
The bodies are found as Israeli forces continue to battle with Hamas fighters, whf settlements near the Gaza border.
Among the dead are dozens of Israeli soldiers and police who were killed battling the Hamas resistance fighters.
The Israeli health ministry also confirmed that the number of wounded in hospitals had reached 2,048, including 20 in critical condition and 330 seriously wounded.
There are some 700 injured Israelis being treated at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
The new toll comes as Israel's army said it aims to evacuate all Israelis living close to the Gaza Strip within 24 hours as it deployed thousands of soldiers in the area.
Netanyahu's office announced that the cabinet voted last night to put Israel officially at war, and it can carry out “significant military activities.”
The decision, announced on Sunday, formally authorizes “the taking of significant military steps,” it said in a statement.
Netanyahu warned of a "long and difficult" war ahead after the Palestinian fighters launched a massive surprise operation.
"The first phase is being completed... with the elimination of the vast majority of enemy forces that have infiltrated our territory," Netanyahu said, warning the Israelis that they were "embarking on a long and difficult war.”
Over the past several years, Israel’s far-right and apartheid regime has ramped up construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and displacing hundreds of Palestinians, while encouraging Israeli settlers to intrude into the holy Al-Aqsa mosque.