The number of Israelis killed in the Hamas attack on Israel has risen to over 900 and it is feared that it will reach 1,000, it was announced on Monday evening.
In a nationally televised address on Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “We are at the third day of the war for our very existence, one which we’ll win.” Netanyahu said “Hamas is the same as Islamic State, and we’ll combat it in the same way it was combated by other countries in the world. We’ve always known what Hamas was, and now the world knows it too. Let me say this clearly: we’ve only begun to act against Hamas.”
A barrage of rockets struck the Jerusalem area on Monday afternoon, scoring several direct hits in Beitar Illit, Mount Adar and Abu Gosh, as well as Bethlehem; eight people reportedly were injured in the attacks, three seriously. The attack came as the funeral at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl military cemetery for lone soldier Cpl. Nathaniel Young, 20, was underway.
At the same time in the north, the Home Front Command ordered residents in dozens of communities near the border with Lebanon to enter their protective rooms until further notice. The Home Front Command's announcement also states that "means of communication, food and water, mattresses, blankets, medicine and other necessary equipment must be brought into the protected area. Close the door and window tightly."
At least two people were critically hurt when rockets fell in Ashkelon in barrages that targeted as far north as the coastal planes, in Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas, in the central planes and in Jerusalem. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Monday a total siege will be placed on Gaza. "They will have no electricity, food or fuel. We are fighting human beasts," he said.
The IDF said earlier that all border area communities have been cleared of terrorists after heavy fighting there since Saturday, with more infiltrations reported in the days following. According to the military, some 300,000 reservists have already been called up to join the fighting.
Mortars were fired on Monday afternoon from South Lebanon into Israel after the IDF launched an attack on the Lebanese territory. The military action came after terrorists breached the border in the Western Galilee region and were killed by troops.
Meanwhile, reports surfaced that Qatari mediators have held urgent calls with Hamas officials to try to negotiate freedom for Israeli women and children seized by Hamas and held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel's prisons, a source briefed on the talks told Reuters. The reports said that the ongoing negotiations were conducted by Qatar in coordination with the United States since Saturday night. But and Israeli source told Ynet that "Israel is not a party to any negotiations."
Also on Monday, the U.S. embassy in Israel announced that it has confirmed the deaths of at least nine Americans at the hands of Hamas.
The Israeli Air Force carried a series of massive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip overnight Monday, on 800 Hamas targets, dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on terrorist infrastructure throughout the Palestinian enclave after a Hamas invasion of Israel left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.
The strikes are focused mainly on Gaza City's Shejaiya neighborhood, which has been a focal point of Hamas activity. Gaza's Beit Hanoun was also reportedly facing heavy bombardments.
Footage published by the AFP news agency shows a strong explosion followed by secondary blasts, likely resulting from weaponry that was presumably located at the impacted site.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said these air raids dealt a "significant blow" to Hamas's capabilities. According to a statement, the IDF attacked a building housing Hamas operatives and several operational headquarters of the terrorist organization, including a headquarters spanning three floors and another affiliated with a senior figure in Hamas's naval force, Mohammad Kashta.
Further reports indicated that an operational asset utilized by Hamas, situated within a mosque in the Jabalia area, an asset employed for the organization's intelligence and another asset used to coordinate terror activities, were destroyed.
Cabinet Secretary Yossi Fuchs wrote on X that "The first Gaza war is also planned to be the last."
Al-Jazeera reported that 18 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, including Rafat Abu Hilal, a senior figure in the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. It was also reported that five Palestinians were killed in an IDF airstrike east of Khan Yunis.
So far, the Palestinians have reported 436 deaths in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the conflict. The Palestinians also reported additional IDF strikes in the Shejaiya area, east of Gaza City, and in the Tel al-Zaatar area in northern Gaza.
Rocket fire from Gaza continued shortly after midnight Monday, with the military wing of Hamas claiming that it fired 100 rockets toward the southern city of Ashkelon.
Three buildings sustained direct hits in the attack and a fire broke out in one of them. A 9-year-old boy was rescued in light to moderate condition from a four-story building, and another man, 37, in light condition. They were transported to Barzilai Medical Center along with a woman in her 40s who suffered from shock.
In another building, a 78-year-old man was lightly injured by shrapnel, while the third building had no casualties. Firefighters gained control over fires that broke out in various areas due to the rockets. Additionally, a 71-year-old woman and a 22-year-old young man were lightly injured while making their way to bomb shelters.
Many residents of the building complained about the lack of bomb shelters in their apartments. David Tsikashvili, who was in his second-floor apartment at the time of the strike, said that the rocket hit the first floor of the building.
"I've been sleeping in a synagogue with a bomb shelter these past few days. Tonight, we heard a siren, ran to stand by the door, and then there were strong explosions. The whole house shook and a large fire broke out. The firefighters arrived quickly and put out the fire."
Shortly beforehand, Gaza terrorists also fired a rocket salvo into central Israel, mainly targeting the Rishon Lezion area. Blasts were heard in Tel Aviv. After a 5-hour lull, rocket fire resumed Monday morning, targeting Gaza border communities.
The United Arab Emirates on Sunday described attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorist faction Hamas against Israeli towns as a "serious and grave escalation."
The UAE foreign ministry in a statement also said it was "appalled" by reports Israeli civilians were taken as hostages from their homes.
"Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict," the ministry added.
The UAE became the first Gulf country to normalize relations with Israel in 2020, breaking with decades of Arab policy toward the Palestinian cause.
Earlier, four IDF soldiers were injured by friendly fire in northern Israel’s Shtula overnight Monday, one of them in moderate condition and the rest lightly injured. Israel has amassed large forces on its northern border fearing Hezbollah might join the war.
An investigation into the incident found that IDF forces, while on a defense mission near Shtula, identified an unfamiliar vehicle approaching rapidly and attempting to bypass a checkpoint that had been set up there. In response, the force opened fire on it. It was later determined that the vehicle was military.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit updated that a Navy missile boat attacked three rocket launchers in Gaza in recent hours that were aimed toward Israeli territory.
Israel has updated its death toll since Hamas launched its surprise offensive Saturday morning to 700, with that figure expected to further climb in the coming hours and days.
Earlier, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook claimed that the terrorist group was holding over 100 Israeli captives, including "senior officers." Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala said that his organization holds more than 30 captives. Israeli officials estimate that the number of captives ranges between 150 and 200 individuals who have been abducted to the Gaza Strip.
First published: 01:24, 10.09.23