Israelis in their numbers, including soldiers and civilians are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas militants.
While media reports put the Israeli death toll at 100, Israel’s Foreign Ministry, put the number of deaths in the retaliatory strikes in Gaza at 200.
At least 232 people in Gaza were killed in the retaliatory Israeli strikes, the Gaza health ministry said.
Early Saturday, members of the Hamas militant group launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli territory.
Mohammed Deif, Hamas military commander, said Hamas had fired more than 5,000 rockets into Israel in what he called “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm.”
He said the attacks were in retaliation for Israel’s “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, adding that Israel has killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians this year.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that his nation is at war.
“The enemy will pay a price he has never known. In the meantime, I call on all citizens of Israel to strictly obey the instructions of the army and the instructions of the Home Command,” Netanyahu said.
The scale and complexity of Saturday’s attacks by Hamas shocked leaders across the world, but they came after decades of a relentless and deadly conflict that has killed thousands of people, forced entire generations to grow up under occupation, or created constant anxiety of impending rocket fire or bombings.
United States President Joe Biden condemned what he called an “appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists” and said that “Israel has a right to defend itself and its people.”
He added: “My administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”