Israel has formally declared war on Hamas, the Palestinian group that launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on Saturday, killing more than 600 Israelis and taking dozens of hostages. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country faced a “long and difficult war” and vowed to turn Hamas’ hideouts in Gaza into “rubble”.
According to Palestinian authorities, Israel’s military has been conducting airstrikes on Gaza, killing at least 413 Palestinians and injuring about 2,300. Israel has also been preparing for a ground invasion of the densely populated enclave, where Hamas is believed to hold Israeli military personnel and civilians hostage.
The conflict has also spilled over to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where the Lebanese Hezbollah said it attacked Israeli targets near the Golan Heights “in solidarity” with Hamas. Israel said it struck back at Hezbollah’s positions, raising fears of a broader regional conflagration.
The attack by Hamas follows months of rising tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, including over Israeli raids at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and bouts of violence in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. The attack also comes as Israel faces domestic turmoil over the plans of Netanyahu’s far-right government to restrict the power of the Supreme Court, in defiance of mass street protests.
Palestine has been under Israeli occupation and Gaza is under siege. Israeli war crimes have always been underreported by the Western media which are biased in their coverage.