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Israeli PM Netanyahu: We’ll destroy Hamas and avenge this dark day

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Hamas militant group will be annihilated.

In the early hours of Saturday, the militant group infiltrated Israel in what was an unprecedented assault.

At least 100 people in Israel were confirmed killed, with more than a hundred others receiving treatment in hospitals.

Nearly 200 people were killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes in the Gaza strip.

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Mohammed Deif, Hamas military commander, had said the attacks were a reprisal for Israel’s “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, while alleging that Israel killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians this year.

In a statement afterwards, Netanyahu said Israel will “avenge this dark day”.

He asked residents of Gaza to flee the city as Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) will operate forcefully.

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“We will be victorious in this war despite an unbearable price. This is a very difficult day for all of us,” Netanyahu said.

“Hamas wants to murder us all. This is an enemy that murders children and mothers in their homes, in their beds, an enemy that abducts the elderly, children and young women, that slaughters and massacres our citizens, including children, who simply went out to enjoy the holiday.

“What happened today is unprecedented in Israel — and I will see to it that it does not happen again. The entire government is behind this decision.

“The IDF will immediately use all its strength to destroy Hamas’s capabilities. We will destroy them and we will forcefully avenge this dark day that they have forced on the State of Israel and its citizens.

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“I say to the residents of Gaza: Leave now because we will operate forcefully everywhere.

“At this hour, the IDF is clearing the terrorists out of the last communities. They are going community by community, house by house, and are restoring our control.”

The prime minister also condoled with families who lost loved ones during the attack.

“I embrace and send heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families whose loved ones were murdered today in cold blood and endless brutality,” he added.

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“We are all praying for the well-being of the wounded and all those who are being held hostage. I say to Hamas: You are responsible for their well-being. Israel will settle accounts with anyone who harms one hair on their heads.

“To our beloved IDF soldiers, police officers and security forces personnel, remember that you are the continuation of the heroes of the Jewish people, of Joshua, Judah Maccabee and the heroes of 1948 and of all of Israel’s wars.

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“You are now fighting for the home and future of us all. We are all with you. We all love you. We all salute you.

“To the medical and rescue teams, and the many volunteers who came out in force today in a long list of places, the people of Israel salute you. With your spirit, we will overcome our enemies.”

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