Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to defeat the Hamas militant group after its deadly incursion into southern Israel which has seen them snatch grandparents, children and women off the streets but says the war will ‘take time.’

Hamas gunmen have taken dozens of hostages off the streets of Israel as the war takes a darker turn and the death toll reached 450 after less than one day.

Horrifying footage showed women being marched into vehicles, bloodied and bruised, often with their hands bound behind their backs. Earlier pictures showed Israeli pensioners taken into the Gaza Strip on golf carts and families forced into trucks.

At least 250 people have died and 1,100 wounded in the conflict in Israel alone, and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his country is ‘at war’ with the Palestinians militants and his country will ‘settle the score’ with anyone who harms captives.

Meanwhile Hamas has called for Arab and Islamic nations to join its attack, and has seen 198 people die in the Gaza Strip with another 1,610 wounded amid Israel’s retaliation.

The UN has announced an emergency Security Council meeting will be held tomorrow.

Hamas claimed to have fired 5,000 rockets into Israel from the occupied Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Speaking on Saturday night, PM Netanyahu issued a dire warning to Hamas militants: ‘I tell Hamas, you are responsible for the wellbeing of captives, Israel will settle the score with anyone who harms them.’

He vowed to defeat the group, but said the war would ‘take time’, continuing: ‘What happened today has never been seen in Israel, we will take mighty vengeance for this black day.’

Promising ‘mighty vengeance’, he promised to reduce Gaza to ‘rubble’, telling innocent Palestinians to leave immediately.

Soon after, a convey of tanks were reported to be heading towards the border with Gaza.

Thomas Helm, Jerusalem Correspondent at The National spoke to MailOnline from Jerusalem today. He said the hostage situation set a dangerous tone for how the conflict – which was launched on a Jewish holiday – could develop.

‘There are reports that [the Palestinians] have taken an Israeli General hostage, entire families have been taken, point blank killings… wars have been started where one Israeli hostage was taken and now it seems like there could be about 60.

‘So it couldn’t be worse. Every Israeli I have spoken to, their voices have been quivering.’

The militants have claimed to have taken dozens of soldiers captive, but this does not include the number of civilians who have reportedly been detained.

An Israeli army spokesman says fighting is continuing in 22 locations in southern Israel some 12 hours after Hamas militants launched a surprise attack from the Gaza Strip.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari also said that Israel was striking targets in Gaza from the air and that ground operations were imminent.

Hagari confirmed ongoing hostage situations in the towns of Ofakim and Beeri. Earlier, both the Israeli military and Hamas confirmed that some Israelis had been captured and taken hostage.

For Israelis working and living within range of Gaza, the sight of Hamas militants roaming outside their homes marked a terrifying turn of events unlike anything residents had experienced before.

‘This was always the nightmare. We told ourselves that one day, the terrorists will come inside here,’ said Jehan Berman, a 42-year-old in the small community of Avshalom, just a few kilometers from Gaza.

He added that it took eight hours for the Israeli military to arrive to his kibbutz and start fending off the Hamas fighters. ‘We cannot live like this.’

Mr Berman – who suffers from multiple wounds and disabilities inflicted by the past four wars and countless other skirmishes between Israel and Hamas over the years – said that Israeli authorities had notified him that Hamas had kidnapped his 75-year-old mother-in-law, along with several friends in their 30s and their small children.

The last time he heard from his mother-in-law was at 10.30am, he said, when she called him, panicked and distraught, to say that Hamas militants had shot and killed her husband.




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