Understanding the history of the Israel-Gaza conflict
The Gaza Strip is a mere 25 miles long and six miles wide, located on the Mediterranean coast between Egypt and Israel.LEARN MORE
Israel's national rescue service said at least 200 people were killed and hundreds wounded, making it the deadliest attack in Israel in years.
Israel has declared war with Palestinian militant group Hamas after it launched a surprise attack on the nation early Saturday morning during a major Jewish holiday.
At least 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded, marking the deadliest attack on Israel in years.
The attack began with a launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip around 6:30 a.m. Shortly after, Hamas claimed responsibility, calling it "Operation Al-Aqsa Storm."
An undetermined number of Israeli soldiers and civilians were taken captive into Gaza, according to The Associated Press. Militants were also holding hostages in the towns of Beeri and Ofakim, which are located 15 miles from the Gaza border.
In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas as he spoke of a mass army mobilization.
"We are at war," he said, according to AP. "Not an 'operation,' not a 'round,' but at war."
"The enemy will pay an unprecedented price," Netanyahu said, adding that his nation would "return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known."
In Israel's retaliation, 232 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and over 1,600 wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, according to CNN.
Among its actions, Israel led an airstrike against a high-rise building in Gaza, which completely flattened it.
Hamas leader Mohammed Deif said the assault was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids on West Bank cities this past year, and violence at Al Aqsa, according to AP.
"Enough is enough," Deif said in a recorded message.
Hamas' attack happened during the Jewish Simchat Torah, a normally celebratory day for Jews as they complete the annual cycle of reading the Torah scroll.
Israel warned civilians to stay out of the Lebanese border area and ordered residents living nearby to seek shelter.
Travelers will head to a port in Cyprus, where chartered flights will help evacuate them.
Schools and houses of worship in cities across the U.S. are bolstering security over fears of violence as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.
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