Israeli army declares ‘state of readiness’ for war, hits targets in Gaza
At least 40 killed, 800 injured in rocket attacks from Gaza
- At least 40 killed, 800 injured in rocket attacks from Gaza- Israeli army says it has begun attacking Hamas targets in Gaza
- Hamas gunmen take control of police station in Israel's Sderot, Israeli Broadcasting Authority reports
GAZA CITY, Palestine
Declaring a “state of readiness” for war, the Israeli army launched counterattacks and air strikes on targets in Gaza after the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip fired an intense barrage of rockets early Saturday toward Israel, reports Israel media.
The rocket salvoes were fired from different locations in the enclave but Israel’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted many, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
At least 40 people were killed and 800 others injured in the Gaza rockets attack, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority reported.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant approved a “large-scale reserve mobilization,” the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
“A state of emergency has been declared on the internal front in preparation for long-term fighting,” Galant said, according to the same source.
Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Rishon Lezion, and the Palmachim Airbase, according to media outlets, including the Walla news website.
Sirens also sounded in Jerusalem city, where explosions were heard as Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system was activated, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, said on Saturday that “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” is proceeding as planned to hold Israel accountable for its aggression.
The group announced starting the operation with rockets targeting enemy sites, airports, and military installations.
“5,000 rockets and shells were fired from Gaza towards Israel in the first 20 minutes of operation,” the Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement.
The Israeli army however said that “about 2,200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel.”
The Israeli Radio reported that a number of Palestinian gunmen sneaked into Israeli areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
Israel deployed its forces to deal with the Palestinian gunmen's infiltration from Gaza, the Army Radio added.
Hamas gunmen also took control of a police station in Israel's Sderot where a number of people were injured in a fire exchange, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority reported.
Armed clashes between Palestinian factions and Israeli forces are taking place on the eastern Gaza Strip's fence, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
The Israeli army said that it has begun attacking Hamas targets in Gaza.
Witnesses told Anadolu that gunmen from Palestinian factions opened fire on Israeli boats off the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian factions have been firing rockets toward Israeli settlements and cities continuously for more than an hour, witnesses added.
Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip shared pictures and video clips on social media showing members of Palestinian factions and citizens “seizing” Israeli vehicles.
Some photos and video clips showed Israeli vehicles being driven into Palestinian residential neighborhoods.
An Anadolu correspondent reported that one of the Israeli vehicles arrived at Al-Khalifa Square in Jabalia Camp, north of the Gaza Strip.
Schools were closed in the Gaza Strip until further notice, according to the Palestinian Education Ministry in Gaza.
*Writing by Ikram Kouachi and Mahmoud Barakat