Israeli authorities have reported finding 260 bodies at a music festival in Sukkot, southern Israel after witnesses say that Hamas terrorists cut the power and opened fire at the event. The gruesome discovery comes amid escalating violence between Israel and Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 people and thousands more injured.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, with 5,000 rockets fired from land, air, and sea. Israeli forces are retaliating with airstrikes, which have hit over 500 targets belonging to Hamas.
The death toll continues to rise as the conflict shows no signs of slowing down. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that 413 people have died in Israeli air strikes, with the vast majority in the Gaza Strip. Over 2,200 people have also been wounded in the attacks.
In a shocking development, it has been reported that Hamas terrorists have taken over 100 Israeli hostages, including women and children. It is believed that they are being held in booby-trapped bunkers in Hamas’s base in Gaza. This has complicated any rescue efforts and put the lives of the hostages at great risk.
Among the missing is British citizen Jake Marlowe, who was working as a security guard at the music festival in southern Israel. Friends fear that the 26-year-old may have sacrificed his life trying to protect others during the attack. Another Brit, photographer Dan Darlington, is also missing, according to his father.
The death toll also includes Israeli soldier Nathanel Young, who was serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). The 20-year-old, originally from London, was killed in the Gaza border area. His family confirmed the tragic news on Facebook.
Tensions have also risen with Lebanon, as Israel has launched tank and drone strikes into the country after Hezbollah enemies fired mortars from the north. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to reduce Gaza to “rubble” in retaliation for the attacks.
Netanyahu has also warned residents of Gaza to leave the area immediately, as they will be “operating forcefully everywhere” that Hamas is deployed. This will further compound the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where over 123,000 Palestinians have been displaced by the violence and nearly 74,000 are seeking shelter in schools.
The US is showing its support for Israel, with President Joe Biden pledging Washington’s “rock solid” backing to Tel Aviv. The US is also moving its aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, closer to Israel.
There are fears that the attacks may have been aimed at disrupting peace talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which were being brokered by the US. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has expressed concern about this possibility.
As the conflict intensifies and the death toll continues to rise, the international community is calling for an end to the violence and a return to peace negotiations. However, with both sides showing no signs of backing down, the situation remains tense and volatile.