Operation Iron Sword

IDF battles to take back control of Hamas-captured Israeli towns

Israeli officials said they’d identified 29 invasion points and estimated that hundreds of terrorists had entered Israel

Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

A policeman stands after the deadly attack on a police station in the city of Sderot on the second day of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Twenty-four hours after Hamas terrorists launched an air, sea and ground invasion of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces were still completing efforts to take back control of Israeli towns and territory, IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told journalists on Sunday morning.

Israeli officials said they have identified 29 invasion points and estimated that hundreds of terrorists had entered Israel. While the army had overpowered them in most areas, including in the border town of Sderot, eight points of combat remained active Sunday morning. In most places, Hecht said, security forces were combing the areas to confirm they were clear.  

Overnight, Hecht said, the army struck some 400 targets inside Gaza, including tunnels and other infrastructure belonging to Hamas, as well as points along the border fence where the terrorists had broken through on Saturday.

In addition, the military was focused on evacuating all the Israeli residents that live in communities around the Gaza Strip as a precaution ahead of a fuller operation in Gaza.

“Israelis are waking up to a terrible morning, many people have been killed and there are others who have been kidnapped and taken into Gaza,” the IDF spokesperson said. “Not only soldiers but also civilians, grandmothers, mothers, toddlers, whole families and dead bodies.”

“Yesterday was a very hard day,” Hecht continued. “But we also saw a lot of bravery, with fathers, ex-soldiers, who went down and tried to fight to free those who had been kidnapped. We even had one of our retired generals go down to the south to rescue his kids and grandkids.”

Hecht said that the army had set up an operation center to deal with the civilians who have been taken hostage and the army also added the names of some of the soldiers who had been killed to their official website.

He could not give an official count of the dead, or the kidnapped, saying it was still too early to make that estimate.

Magen David Adom reported that more than 600 people had been killed either directly by the terrorists in different locations or as the result of the more than 3,200 rockets fired into Israel, including striking as far from the border as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. More than 2,000 people have been injured, some seriously.

There were concerns that Shiite group Hezbollah in Lebanon would take advantage of the chaos in Israel and launch its own attack in the north. According to reports, the IDF has mobilized its forces along the northern border. 

On Sunday morning, Hezbollah took responsibility for shots fired in the disputed Mount Dov region, prompting a response from Israel, which struck Hezbollah infrastructure, including taking out two tents that the terrorist group erected there in June, the IDF spokesperson said. 

Across Israel’s southern border, an Egyptian shot dead at least two Israeli tourists and their local tour guide in the coastal city of Alexandria, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed.

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