At least, 198 Palestinians have died following retaliatory Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, health officials there have said.
Officials added at least 1,610 people had been injured in the strikes.
Israel launched what it called “Operation Sword of Iron” in response to Hamas’s incursion, which began with massive rocket strikes early Saturday morning.
The health minister in Gaza had earlier declared a state of emergency in hospitals across the territory.
Israel conducted strikes on 20 sites in Gaza it said were operated by Hamas in retaliation to the incursion today as part of “Operation Sword of Iron”.
Meanwhile, Israeli media is reporting that at least 40 Israelis have been killed so far, with a further 740 people wounded by the Hamas incursion.
This is according to Israel’s N12 news channel but no official confirmation yet.
The latest official figures count 22 Israeli deaths and a further 545 injured.
50 Israeli hostages
Israel’s N12 news channel is also reporting that around 50 Israeli hostages are currently being held by Hamas gunmen.
It said the hostages were being held in the Be’eri kibbutz.
The kibbutz is located in southern Israel, in the north-western Negev desert – near the eastern border with the Gaza Strip.
Also, Israel’s foreign ministry claimed that Hamas fighters were going door to door murdering civilians.
“Earlier this morning armed Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israeli communities and started going house to house and murdering innocent Israelis,” it said in a statement.
“Some of the images are so disturbing we cannot even share them,” it added.
“We will take every measure to protect our citizens and target those who harm them.”
These claims are currently unverified, but Israeli media is reporting a number of “civilian hostages” being taken to Gaza, while claiming others have been gunned down in the streets.
The Palestinian state had earlier in the day issued a statement, calling for the end to “Israeli occupation of the land and State of Palestine”.
“We have repeatedly warned against the consequences of blocking the political horizon,” the statement began, adding that it also warned about daily provocations and of raids on the Al Asqa holy site.
“Security, stability and peace in our region can be attained by ending the Israeli occupation,” it said.
US to help Israel defend itself
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin has said Washington is working to ensure that Israel “has what it needs” to defend itself.
“Over the coming days the Department of Defence will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism,” Austin said in a statement.
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