Israel PM's strong remarks
Israel's response to the unprecedented surprise attack by Hamas from the Gaza Strip will "change the Middle East," the country's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while speaking to mayors of southern border towns hit by the assault that began on Saturday. Benjamin Netanyahu also warned Gaza civilians to get away from all Hamas sites which he vowed to turn "to rubble".
Middle East tensions spiked as Iran and Hezbollah praised the Hamas attack, although Tehran rejected any role. The United States has pledged "rock solid" support for Israel and said it would send aid to Israel and divert an aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean.
This comes as more than 700 people have been killed in Israel, officials said while Tel Aviv has retaliated with repeated strikes on Gaza, where at least 560 have been killed according to health officials.
A day after formally declaring war, Israel's military worked to crush Hamas militants in southern towns and intensified its bombardment of Gaza. The declaration of war gave the green light for Israel to take “significant military steps” against Hamas after which the army called up around 300,000 reservists.
Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant said that he has ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza which means that authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel to the territory. The announcement came after the Israeli military said it had regained “control” of border communities taken by Hamas. The chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said there were some isolated incidents but no fighting going on as he cautioned that there could still be militants in the area and that forces were conducting searches.
Israel said that it had called up 300,000 army reservists, and truck convoys were seen moving tanks to the south, news agency AFP reported.