Hamas invaders snatch young and old off the street and take them hostage as war with Israel takes chilling new turn and death toll nears 300

Hamas gunmen appear to be snatching hostages off the streets of Israel after crossing into the territory on Saturday as the war takes a darker turn and the death toll approaches 300 after less than one day.

Horrifying new footage emerging this afternoon showed women being marched into vehicles full of male fighters, bloodied and bruised, often with their hands bound behind their backs.

Earlier today, pictures showed Israeli pensioners captured in Israel and taken into the Gaza Strip on golf carts. Other clips showed entire families forced into trucks and being driven off by militants.

Thomas Helm, Jerusalem Correspondent at The National spoke to MailOnline from Jerusalem today. He said the hostage situation set a dangerous tone for how the conflict could develop.

‘There are reports that [the Palestinians] have taken an Israeli General hostage, entire families have been taken, point blank killings… wars have been started where one Israeli hostage was taken and now it seems like there could be about 60.

‘So it couldn’t be worse. Every Israeli I have spoken to, their voices have been quivering.’

Footage appeared to show hostages being taken by Hamas militants into Gaza earlier today

Footage appeared to show hostages being taken by Hamas militants into Gaza earlier today

Israeli civilians were purportedly taken off the street and driven back into Gaza

Israeli civilians were purportedly taken off the street and driven back into Gaza

One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart accompanied with three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip

One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart accompanied with three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip

Another image showed a woman, who is being held hostage, holding a gun and putting her hands up in a peace sign alongside a member of Hamas in a balaclava

Another image showed a woman, who is being held hostage, holding a gun and putting her hands up in a peace sign alongside a member of Hamas in a balaclava

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023

Palestinians transport a captured Israeli civilian, center, from Kibbutz Kfar Azza into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023

Shocking footage shared on social media appears to show Palestinian fighters parading the naked body of an Israeli woman on the back of a pick-up truck

Shocking footage shared on social media appears to show Palestinian fighters parading the naked body of an Israeli woman on the back of a pick-up truck

Hamas claimed to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel from the occupied Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

The militants have claimed to have taken dozens of soldiers captive, but this does not include the number of civilians who have reportedly been detained.

An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also said that Israel was striking targets in Gaza from the air and that ground operations were imminent.

Hagari confirmed ongoing hostage situations in the towns of Ofakim and Beeri. Earlier, both the Israeli military and Hamas confirmed that some Israelis had been captured and taken hostage.

Hamas, the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip, claims to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel today, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, before invading by ground and air, reportedly using paragliders.

The coordinated attack has seen border fences broken down, tanks immobilised, dozens of hostages reportedly taken and residential buildings targeted by airstrikes.

Emerging footage shows horrific scenes, including Palestinian groups celebrating as they paraded the naked body of a female IDF soldier on a truck through Gaza.

The Palestinians appear to have the upper hand, continuing to launch strikes across Israel. With little incentive to de-escalate, onlookers worry the clashes could go on. 

But Israel has hit back, firing its own rockets into Gaza in retaliation.

Local journalists are reporting the Israeli Minister of Energy and Infrastructure has ordered the immediate suspension of power to the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with around two million people packed into 140 square miles. 

But it depends on Israel for water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities, and imports are carefully controlled by the occupying country.

Thomas Helm told MailOnline today: ‘It really depends what Hamas wants out of this. I’ve heard comments from Hamas officials saying ‘we now have enough hostages to free every single Palestinian prisoner in prisoner exchanges.” 

He added: ‘The most safe way of getting hostages back is exchanging prisoners, but do you want to exchange mass prisoners at a time like this? Probably not.’ 

Israel’s army this afternoon acknowledged ‘soldiers, civilians kidnapped’ by Hamas.

From Israel’s perspective, the surprise attack has been ‘humiliating’, undermining intelligence efforts and overwhelming the Iron Dome defence system.

‘Israel has an amazing intelligence network but Gaza is sealed off. And no matter how good your intelligence is, if you don’t have people on the ground you don’t know the full picture.

‘This is a catastrophic intelligence failure, perhaps the worst intelligence in Israeli history. People have been describing it as their 9/11.’

‘There will be a huge response. We never want to say that for certain, but I think now we can because Israel is humiliated and they are obsessed with deterrence.’

Israel has vowed to exact revenge on Palestinian militants after they launched the surprise attack, warning Hamas that they had made a ‘grave mistake’. 

Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, October 7

Smoke and flames billow after Israeli forces struck a high-rise tower in Gaza City, October 7

Journalists take cover behind cars as Israeli soldiers take position during clashes with Palestinian fighters near the Gevim Kibbutz

Journalists take cover behind cars as Israeli soldiers take position during clashes with Palestinian fighters near the Gevim Kibbutz

A rescue worker from the Magen David Adom disaster relief service looks on as cars burn at the site of a rocket attack in Ashkelon, southern Israel

A rescue worker from the Magen David Adom disaster relief service looks on as cars burn at the site of a rocket attack in Ashkelon, southern Israel

Palestinian militants brandish weapons as they pass through Israeli territory on trucks

Palestinian militants brandish weapons as they pass through Israeli territory on trucks

Israeli forces have mounted strikes against targets in Gaza City following attacks today

Israeli forces have mounted strikes against targets in Gaza City following attacks today

A tower block in Gaza City is hit by an Israeli airstrike after Palestinian militants struck Israel

A tower block in Gaza City is hit by an Israeli airstrike after Palestinian militants struck Israel

A man runs in the road as fires burn in Ashkelon, Israel, following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip initiated by Islamic militant group Hamas

A man runs in the road as fires burn in Ashkelon, Israel, following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip initiated by Islamic militant group Hamas

A rocket is launched from the coastal Gaza strip towards Israel by militants of the Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam militia, the military wing of Hamas movement, in Gaza City, 7 October 2023

A rocket is launched from the coastal Gaza strip towards Israel by militants of the Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam militia, the military wing of Hamas movement, in Gaza City, 7 October 2023

Palestinians wave their national flag and celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip fence east of Khan Younis southern Saturday, October 7, 2023

Palestinians wave their national flag and celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip fence east of Khan Younis southern Saturday, October 7, 2023

Palestinians use an excavator to break through the border fence separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel

Palestinians use an excavator to break through the border fence separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel

A Palestinian medic inspects the remains of an ambulance hit by an Israeli air strike in retaliation for a surprise incursion by Hamas on Saturday

A Palestinian medic inspects the remains of an ambulance hit by an Israeli air strike in retaliation for a surprise incursion by Hamas on Saturday

Ambulances transport people to hospital in Tel Aviv after the incursion on Saturday

Ambulances transport people to hospital in Tel Aviv after the incursion on Saturday

A woman holds the hand of a wounded soldier arriving at the emergency entrance to the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv

A woman holds the hand of a wounded soldier arriving at the emergency entrance to the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv

Residents living close to Israel’s border with Gaza have been ordered to stay inside and others have been evacuated after Hamas militants infiltrated the country by land, sea and air and launched a fusillade of missile strikes. 

A resident of Be’eri, Kibbutz, named Ella told Channel 12 that she is hearing ‘lots of gunfire’ nearby. 

Another resident from the south is worried that his family have been snatched and taken into the Gaza Strip. 

He said his wife and daughters have disappeared and that he has tried to ring them, but nobody is answering. 

He then tracked his wife’s phone, which says that it is in the Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

This comes as there are unconfirmed reports that Hamas gunmen are holding hostages at the Kibbutz. 

Around 50 Israelis of all ages are thought to have been taken hostage by Hamas gunmen in Beeri Kibbutz near the Gaza border, according to channel N12.

Pictures show senior Israeli women being transported on golf carts and motorcycles from Kibbutz into the Gaza Strip. 

One grandmother was wedged in between two members of Hamas on a motorcycle. One of them was holding a sizable gun. 

One captured woman was sat in the front seat of a golf cart, accompanied by three male Hamas members as they made their way into the Gaza Strip. 

Another image showed a woman holding a gun and putting her hands up in a peace sign alongside a member of Hamas in a balaclava.

A senior leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, said that the group had enough hostages to make Israel free all its Palestinian prisoners.

The murder of civilians has drawn widespread condemnation from world leaders and prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say the country is at ‘war’.

Speaking in a televised address, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said that Hamas had made a ‘grave mistake…and launched a war against the State of Israel’ – vowing that ‘Israel will win’.

Palestinians celebrate after an Israeli tank was hit by Hamas gunmen who infiltrated the south of the country, on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border

Palestinians celebrate after an Israeli tank was hit by Hamas gunmen who infiltrated the south of the country, on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border

A woman and child are evacuated from the site of a rocket attack in southern Israel on Saturday

A woman and child are evacuated from the site of a rocket attack in southern Israel on Saturday

People in Gaza assess damage after a barrage of Israeli airstrikes

People in Gaza assess damage after a barrage of Israeli airstrikes

Hamas fighters circumvented Israel's border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: an alleged paraglider crossing into Israel)

Hamas fighters circumvented Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip by flying in via paraglider, according to the Israeli military (pictured: an alleged paraglider crossing into Israel)

Among those celebrating at the Beirut camp was a young boy wearing militia-style fatigues, carrying a handgun

Among those celebrating at the Beirut camp was a young boy wearing militia-style fatigues, carrying a handgun

Israeli medical teams evacuate an injured person from the southern city of Sderot, close to the border with the Gaza Strip

Israeli medical teams evacuate an injured person from the southern city of Sderot, close to the border with the Gaza Strip

An injured Israeli soldier is brought into Tel Aviv's Surasky Medical Centre following an attack by Palestinian militants on Saturday

An injured Israeli soldier is brought into Tel Aviv’s Surasky Medical Centre following an attack by Palestinian militants on Saturday

Children are seen clambering among wreckage in Gaza after Israel launched rocket strikes

Children are seen clambering among wreckage in Gaza after Israel launched rocket strikes

Hamas supporters burn the Israeli flag in southern Beirut, Lebanon

Hamas supporters burn the Israeli flag in southern Beirut, Lebanon

Israelis gather to donate blood at a hospital in Tel Aviv, following an appeal by the national ambulance service in the wake of the attack by Hamas on Saturday

Israelis gather to donate blood at a hospital in Tel Aviv, following an appeal by the national ambulance service in the wake of the attack by Hamas on Saturday

An Israeli war jet is seen flying over the country after Hamas began its barrage on Saturday

An Israeli war jet is seen flying over the country after Hamas began its barrage on Saturday

Israel has rallied troops as the conflict deepens, despite calls from world leaders to de-escalate. 

Thomas Helm told MailOnline: ‘This call up of reservists is natural at moments like this. But I haven’t seen anything to suggest that a coordinated response is happening… They keep very quiet about very sensitive things… but I mean, something big is coming. 

‘It’s not going to be organised. It’s going to be messy and it’s going to last a long time. It’s just obviously unprecedented.’

‘It’s just impossible to comprehend,’ he said of the situation this afternoon. ‘If you had asked me to imagine a worse case scenario yesterday, I don’t think I could have come up with one short of a nuclear attack.’

Israel’s military claims that 2,500 rockets were fired by Palestinian militants, half the amount alleged by Hamas – and said troops had ‘infiltrated’ the country via sea and ground as well as by air, using paragliders. 

They said in a statement: ‘The military declares a state of war alert. In the last hour, the Hamas terrorist organization had begun a massive shooting of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations.’

Mr Helm told MailOnline people on the ground had been expecting a rocket attack, but were shocked by the nature and extent of this morning’s assault.

‘What’s so shocking about this one is the creativity. People were planning for a large rocket barrage. That’s what we have been worrying about for a long time. But for people to be flying in on hang-gliders, it’s unreal,’ he said.

‘What it does more than anything else is shatters this sense that Israel… whenever you speak to an Israeli General they’re obsessed with deterrence. And they worry that their deterrence has been diminished in recent months. But this shatters it.’

Men believed to be Palestinian militants are seen riding an Israeli military vehicle after reportedly seizing it close to the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip

Men believed to be Palestinian militants are seen riding an Israeli military vehicle after reportedly seizing it close to the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip

A member of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades - its militant wing - holds a Palestinian flag atop a destroyed Israeli tank

A member of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades – its militant wing – holds a Palestinian flag atop a destroyed Israeli tank

Palestinians are greeted by crowds after returning from crossing the border into Israel

Palestinians are greeted by crowds after returning from crossing the border into Israel

People flee as clashes flare between Palestinian groups and Israeli forces in Gaza City following the earlier air strikes

People flee as clashes flare between Palestinian groups and Israeli forces in Gaza City following the earlier air strikes

A man carries a crying child as they walk past a building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

A man carries a crying child as they walk past a building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was ‘shocked’ by the attacks, writing on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Israel has an absolute right to defend itself. We’re in contact with Israeli authorities, and British nationals in Israel should follow travel advice.’

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also condemned the attack, as did Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said there is ‘no justification for this act of terror’.

Videos on social media appeared to show armed troops from the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ militant arm, moving through built-up areas firing weapons as Israeli residents were evacuated from their homes following air strikes. 

In a statement posted on Telegram, Hamas called on ‘the resistance fighters in the West Bank’ as well as ‘our Arab and Islamic nations’ to join the battle. 

In remarks reported by CNN, militant commander Deif said: ‘If you have a gun, get it out. This is the time to use it – get out with trucks, cars, axes. Today the best and most honorable history starts.’

‘Today the people are regaining their revolution,’ he added, in other statements reported by AP, as he called on Palestinians from east Jerusalem to northern Israel to ‘expel the occupiers and demolish the walls.’

 

UK politicians have roundly condemned Hamas' actions. PM Rishi Sunak said he was 'shocked' by the attack, while foreign secretary James Cleverly and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer both said Israel had a right to defend itself

UK politicians have roundly condemned Hamas’ actions. PM Rishi Sunak said he was ‘shocked’ by the attack, while foreign secretary James Cleverly and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer both said Israel had a right to defend itself

In response, Israeli forces have vowed that Hamas will ‘face the consequences and responsibility for these events’.

It has started striking targets in Gaza in response, and deployed countermeasures to repel further air attacks – prompting further rocket launches from inside the blockaded territory. 

In a filmed statement posted on X, following the attacks, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the incursion was a ‘murderous surprise attack’, adding: ‘We are at war, not an operation, not rounds, but at war.’

 President Joe Biden described the assault as ‘horrific’ and said that he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to underline that the United States stood ‘ready to offer all appropriate means of support.’

As the attacks threatened to trigger a wider conflict, Biden warned ‘against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation’ after the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas launched air, sea and land strikes on Israel.

Biden stressed that Israel – which the United States has supplied with billions of dollars of arms – has ‘a right to defend itself and its people.’

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reaffirmed Washington’s ‘unwavering’ commitment, saying ‘over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians.’

Since its foundation, Israel has received lavish US military aid – more than $125 billion, according to a US State Department report from 2021.

This has helped it build ‘one of the world’s most capable, effective militaries,’ the report said.

Hamas has controlled the Strip since winning the 2006 parliamentary elections and toppling rival party Fatah in a power struggle during the bloody Battle of Gaza in 2007. 

At least 118 people were killed and more than 550 wounded during the fighting up to June 15, 2007, as Hamas militants ousted Fatah officials and took power.

In response, Israel imposed a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip. 

The conflict brought an end to the ‘unity government’ administering Gaza and the West Bank, with the Palestinian National Authority overseeing the eastern territory independently.

While the Palestinian National Authority still lays claim to Gaza, the city remains under the control of Hamas.

The Israel-Palestine conflict: recent events in a decades-long dispute

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas launched its biggest assault on Israel in years early on Saturday, firing a barrage of rockets from Gaza and sending fighters across the border.

Israel said it was on a war footing and began its own strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, with Israeli media reporting gun battles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in southern Israel.

The following timeline, which begins with Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, details the major flare-ups in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups in the crowded coastal enclave, which is home to 2.3 million people.

August 2005: Israeli forces unilaterally withdraw from Gaza 38 years after capturing it from Egypt in the Middle East war, abandoning settlements and leaving the enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

Jan. 25, 2006: The Islamist group Hamas wins a majority of seats in a Palestinian legislative election. Israel and the U.S. cut off aid to Palestinians because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

June 25, 2006: Hamas militants capture Israeli army conscript Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid from Gaza, prompting Israeli air strikes and incursions. Shalit is finally freed more than five years later in a prisoner exchange.

June 14, 2007: Hamas takes over Gaza in a brief civil war, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank.

Dec. 27, 2008: Israel launches a 22-day military offensive in Gaza after Palestinians fire rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are reported killed before a ceasefire is agreed.

Nov. 14, 2012: Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff, Ahmad Jabari. Eight days of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli air strikes follow.

July-August 2014: The kidnap and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas leads to a seven-week war in which more than 2,100 Palestinians are reported killed in Gaza and 73 Israelis are reported dead, 67 of them military.

March 2018: Palestinian protests begin at Gaza’s fenced border with Israel. Israeli troops open fire to keep protestors back. More than 170 Palestinians are reported killed in several months of protests, which also prompt fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces.

May 2021: After weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians are wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site.

After demanding Israel withdraw security forces from the compound, Hamas unleashes a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel hits back with air strikes on Gaza. Fighting goes on for 11 days, killing at least 250 people in Gaza and 13 in Israel.

Aug 2022: At least 44 people, including 15 children, are killed in three days of violence that begin when Israeli air strikes hit a senior Islamic Jihad commander.

Israel says the strikes were a pre-emptive operation against an imminent attack by the Iranian-backed militant movement, targeting commanders and arms depots. In response, Islamic Jihad fires more than 1,000 rockets towards Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system prevents any serious damage or casualties.

Jan 2023: Islamic Jihad in Gaza fires two rockets towards Israel after Israeli troops raid a refugee camp and kill seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians. The rockets set off alarms in Israeli communities near the border but cause no casualties. Israel responds with air strikes on Gaza.

Oct 2023: Hamas launches the biggest attack on Israel in years from the Gaza Strip, with a surprise assault combining gunmen crossing the border with a heavy barrage of rockets. Islamic Jihad says its fighters have joined the attack.

Israel’s military said it was on a war footing, adding it had carried out strikes targeting Hamas in Gaza and had called up reservists.

Source: Reuters 

source: dailymail.co.uk