Death toll hits 500 as war rages between Israel and Palestine after surprise Hamas attack

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The death toll in the war between Israel and Palestine has hit 500 in just about 24 hours of the start of the war.

According to reports from Hebrew-language media, the death toll resulting from the multi-front attack on Israel by the Hamas terror group has now exceeded 300, as confirmed by medical authorities and cited by The Times of Israel. Tragically, this number is anticipated to rise further in the coming days. Additionally, a staggering 1,590 individuals have suffered injuries, with many in critical condition.

At least 232 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and 1,700 wounded in Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Disturbingly, there are reports of both civilians and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers believed to have been abducted and transported into Gaza. Hamas has openly claimed that the number of hostages is higher than Israel is aware of, as reported by The Times of Israel.

The crisis unfolded around 6:30 am local time on Saturday when a barrage of rockets originating from Gaza struck various cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Gedera, and Ashkelon. Subsequently, a group of Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip, taking control of certain areas.

The Indian embassy in Tel Aviv and the Representative Office of India in Palestine issued advisories on Saturday urging Indian nationals in their respective countries to remain vigilant and to contact the office in case of an emergency. This move comes as a full-scale conflict erupted between the ruling Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip and Israel, resulting in the loss of lives on both sides, with at least 498 casualties reported.

Hamas militants entered southern Israel through various means, including land, sea, and air, and launched over 2,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel, as reported by the Israeli military. Additionally, Hamas claimed to have captured several Israeli soldiers near the border.

This surprise attack has led to 200 fatalities and over 1,100 injuries in Israel, while on the Gaza Strip side, there were 198 casualties and approximately 1,500 individuals wounded in Israel’s counterattack, as per media reports.

The Embassy issued an advisory in light of the current situation in Israel, urging all Indian nationals to exercise caution, adhere to safety protocols advised by local authorities, avoid unnecessary movement, and remain close to safety shelters. The advisory included relevant emergency phone numbers and provided URLs for Israeli Home Front Command and Preparedness brochures.

Furthermore, the advisory was issued in multiple languages, including English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. According to information available on the Indian Embassy’s website, there are approximately 18,000 Indian citizens in Israel, primarily comprising caregivers employed by Israeli elders, diamond traders, IT professionals, and students. Additionally, there are around 85,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel, many of whom were part of the major waves of immigration from India in the 1950s and 1960s.

Soma Ravi, an Indian national working in Israel for 18 years, expressed the severity of the situation, saying, “Today was a very difficult day, we have never seen a situation like this before. Within 20 minutes, 5,000 rockets were fired, resulting in the death of 22 people and injuries to 500. This is an extremely challenging situation for the country.”

Vikas Sharma, an Indian student at the Hebrew University, noted the tense atmosphere in Israel due to the attack but assured that all Indian students are safe. He mentioned that most students are residing in dormitories and accommodations provided by the college and that they are maintaining contact with each other and the Indian embassy through WhatsApp. (Culled from The Economic Times)

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