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Israelis told to prepare for 3-day stays in bomb shelters; Hamas threatens to execute hostages

A member of the Israeli security forces stands close to a car hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, on October 9, 2023. Stunned by the unprecedented assault on its territory, a grieving Israel has counted over 900 dead and launched a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza that have raised the death toll there to 560, according to Palestinian officials.
A member of the Israeli security forces stands close to a car hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, on October 9, 2023. Stunned by the unprecedented assault on its territory, a grieving Israel has counted over 900 dead and launched a withering barrage of strikes on Gaza that have raised the death toll there to 560, according to Palestinian officials. | JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli residents are being warned to prepare to spend days in bomb shelters as tensions continue to escalate after attacks by Hamas killed more than 900 Israelis and at least 11 Americans.

It all began Saturday morning when Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group based in the Gaza Strip, fired thousands of rockets into Israel and infiltrated Israel’s border near Gaza.

Since then, Israeli officials say more than 900 civilians and military personnel have died, along with more than 2,100 wounded, according to Sky News. More than 500 Palestinians were also killed, according to Palestinian officials.

The report from Sky News, quoting a spokesperson for the Israeli embassy in London, said Israelis have been told to "prepare for a three-day stay in bomb shelters/secure rooms." Residents are being urged to stock up on food, water, flashlights and other battery-powered devices in the event of widespread power outages. 

Said to be the worst attack on Israel since the Yom Kippur War in 1973 carried out by Egypt and Syria, the conflict spread beyond Israel’s borders after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed President Joe Biden that Israel has “no choice” but to launch a ground invasion against Hamas in Gaza.

In response to the attacks, Israel launched airstrikes against the Gaza Strip and announced it would cut off supplies of food and fuel as it stepped up efforts to eliminate jihadists along the southern border, according to The Associated Press.

Hamas, meanwhile, has warned Israel that any bombing of Gaza without prior warning will result in the execution of Israeli hostages, Sky News reported.

In an audio clip quoted by the AP, Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Qassam Brigades, said the threat to execute hostages comes in response to Israeli airstrikes. 

“We have decided to put an end to this and as of now, we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding,” Obeida was quoted as saying.

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, issued a video statement Monday warning Hamas to refrain from further harm against Israeli hostages, the AP reported.

“We demand Hamas not to harm any of the hostages,” he said. “This war crime will not be forgiven.”

It's believed that Americans are among those held hostage by the terrorist group.

In a statement released by the White House on Monday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced that the death toll of American citizens killed had risen to 11 and said "it is likely that American citizens may be among those being held by Hamas."

On Monday, Netanyahu said the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip had “only started” in a nationally televised address.

“We have only started striking Hamas,” Netanyahu told the nation. “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”

The bipartisan Senate Abraham Accords Caucus condemned the attack on Israel, saying the group “stands with our ally Israel.”

“Israel has every right to defend itself against this ruthless attack by an Iranian-backed terrorist group. The world must know that Israel has our full support against terrorism,” Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a statement sent to The Christian Post.

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