Israel faces ‘long, difficult war’ after Hamas attack from Gaza

(BBC) Israel’s military has warned that Hamas militants from Gaza are still fighting inside Israel after they infiltrated southern communities and left a reported 250 people dead.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Israelis they are going into a “long and difficult war”.

Hundreds of gunmen burst into southern Israel, killing soldiers and civilians, and taking into Gaza what the army said was a “significant number” of hostages.

Israel has responded with air strikes.

These have continued on Sunday morning, with the Israeli Air Force saying it was targeting “operational infrastructure” in Gaza.

The Israeli military also carried out artillery strikes in southern Lebanon after mortars were fired from there towards Israeli positions in the disputed Mount Dov/Shebaa Farms area.

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah movement claimed it had carried out the attack “in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance”.

The Israeli prime minister said in an overnight message that the war had been “forced on us by a murderous attack by Hamas”, and the first stage would end in the coming hours when most of the militants on Israeli territory had been wiped out. Israel would restore security to its citizens and win, he added.

The Israeli government also said it would cut off electricity, fuel and goods supplies to Gaza.

Israel’s nightmare scenario – armed Palestinian militants at large in the south of the country – began early on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath and festival of Simchat Torah.

Gunmen cut through the Gaza perimeter fence, storming into Israel on motorbikes, paragliders and by sea. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman said they numbered in the high hundreds, while more than 3,000 rockets were fired across Israel across the day.

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