Israel’s Prime Minister has warned people living in Gaza to leave the area as he vowed to reduce parts of the territory “into rubble” in revenge for a “black day”.
Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier said Israel was at war with Palestinian militants from Hamas, which governs Gaza, after their fighters launched a surprise attack on his country on Saturday morning.
Rescue service officials told Israeli media at least 250 people were killed in the deadliest attack on the country in decades.
Israel’s health ministry said at least 1,590 people had been injured.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 232 people had died and 1,700 wounded in Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza.
In a televised address, Mr Netanyahu said the country’s military would “take revenge for this black day” but he warned: “This war will take time. It will be difficult.”
In a statement he later posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, he wrote: “All of the places which Hamas is deployed, hiding and operating in, that wicked city, we will turn them into rubble.
“I say to the residents of Gaza: Leave now because we will operate forcefully everywhere.”
Rockets were seen landing on Gaza hours after Mr Netanyahu issued the threat.
Israel will stop supplying electricity, fuel and goods to Gaza, which is already blockaded, according to a statement from Mr Netanyahu’s office on Saturday night.
Much of Gaza was already thrown into darkness by nightfall after electrical supplies from Israel, which serve power to almost all of the territories, were cut off earlier in the day.
Mr Netanyahu also said the “first phase” of the counter-operation had ended, and that Israel had fought off the majority of Hamas militants.
He vowed to continue the offensive “without reservation and without respite”.
‘Record year for Palestinians killed by Israelis’
Hamas gunmen targeted up to 22 locations in the initial assault with gun battles continuing well after nightfall. Militants held hostages in two towns and occupied a police station in a third.
Footage appeared to show Hamas fighters paraglide into Israel as they began a mass incursion.
Hamas’ military wing claimed it was holding dozens of Israeli soldiers captive in “safe places” and tunnels in Gaza.
The Israeli military confirmed that a number of Israelis were abducted but would not give a figure.
A residential building has been destroyed in airstrikes on Gaza by Israel. According to the Israeli Defence Force several jets targeted military compounds and Hamas headquarters throughout Gaza.1:03
Palestinian activist Nour Odeh, a former Palestinian Authority spokesperson, told Sky News’ US partner NBC News that the attack comes after a record-breaking year for the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis.
He said Saturday’s incursion was not the “beginning of the story” and Israeli forces have occupied Palestinian territories for over 50 years.
Mr Odeh said: “It’s a record-setting year for the number of Palestinians killed, the number of Palestinian children killed, the number of homes demolished, the number of attacks by armed settlers that, you know, burned down homes and attack people and wounded and killed Palestinian civilians.”
Israel responds to Hamas attacks
After nightfall, Israeli airstrikes in Gaza intensified, flattening several residential buildings in giant explosions, including a 14-storey tower that held dozens of apartments as well as Hamas offices in central Gaza City.
Israeli forces fired a warning just before and there were no reports of casualties.
Soon after, a Hamas rocket barrage into central Israel hit four cities, including Tel Aviv and a nearby suburb, where two people were seriously injured.
Throughout the day, Hamas fired more than 3,500 rockets, the Israeli military said.
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