Gaza-Israel war: Huge rocket barrage and land attacks launched by Hamas

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Palestinian fighters reportedly in several southern Israeli communitiesThousands of rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel early on Saturday, seemingly accompanied by a land attack by Palestinian fighters, as Hamas announced a new operation.

Mohammad Deif, military leader of the Palestinian resistance group, called on Palestinians everywhere to rise up against Israel. He said the operation was launched in response to Israel’s continued aggression on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Israeli military has said it is in a state of war and called up its reservists. Palestinian Islamic Jihad said its members were fighting alongside Hamas.

Deif said 5,000 rockets have already been fired into Israel, with Israelis reporting hearing explosions across the country, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Emergency services said one Israeli had been killed in Kfar Aviv.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that several Palestinian fighters had crossed the heavily militarised boundary between Gaza and Israel, infiltrating several Israeli communities in the south.

It said paragliders had crossed the boundary and forcibly opened gates along the fence, through which several fighters charged.

According to Israeli media, Palestinian fighters in the southern Israel town of Sderot opened fire on passersby. Footage circulating online appeared to show open clashes on streets. Haaretz said Palestinian fighters had taken Israelis hostage.

The Israeli military said it is preparing for a “prolonged conflict” and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has declared a special state of emergency 80km from the Gaza boundary. Israelis have been urged to stay home.

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