How Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh watched attack on Israel on TV from his office in Qatar as he celebrated with other officials
- Terror chief Ismail Haniyeh cheered for joy in the safety of Qatar watching TV
- He sickenly gloated over worst attack on Israel in its history with hundreds dead
The Hamas leader behind the deadliest attack on Israel watched and celebrated the invasion from the safety of his Qatar office.
Ismail Haniyeh was spotted with other Hamas officials cheering for joy before they prostrated themselves on the floor and praised God.
It came as the terrorist group launched the single deadliest attack ever launched against Israel – which the Jewish state has claimed is ‘our 9/11’.
Israeli media said at least 700 people were killed and 2,000 wounded in Saturday’s attack.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken said as many as 1,000 Hamas fighters were involved in the assault, a high figure that underscored the extent of planning by the militant group ruling Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh, pictured, was spotted with other Hamas officials cheering for joy in the safety of Qatar
A member of the Israeli security forces stands near burning cars following a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israe
The gunmen rampaged for hours, gunning down civilians in towns, along roads and at a techno music festival being held in the desert near Gaza.
Hamas fighters have also taken an unknown number of civilians and soldiers captive into Gaza.
Haniyeh has emerged as the public’s face behind Saturday’s attack.
He gave a speech hailing the killings as the beginning of a new era in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He said: ‘Enough is enough, the cycle of intifadas and revolutions in the battle to liberate our Palestinian land and our prisoners languishing in occupation prisons must be completed.’
The terror chief also hinted that further violence was coming to Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
Hamas, which advocates Israel’s destruction, said the attack was driven by what it said were Israel’s escalated attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
‘This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth,’ Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif said, announcing the start of the operation in a broadcast on Hamas media and calling on Palestinians everywhere to fight.
However, Saturday’s attack may have been coordinated with Hamas’ regional allies such as Iran and Lebanon’s Hizbollah, The Telegraph reported.
Qatar has said it holds Israel responsible for Saturday’s massacre.
They have hosted Hanieyh in an office in Doha for a number of years, but also deny they have supported Hamas.
The gulf state has also hosted the Taliban, claiming it is an effort to foster mediation efforts between the terror group and the West.
Israeli Defence Forces carried out artillery strikes against Lebanon in the disputed area of Mount Dov, following mortar fire directed towards Israel from its northern neighbour.
The UN agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA, said over 20,000 people were sheltering in 44 of its schools around Gaza by Saturday evening – adding that three of these had suffered ‘collateral’ damage from Israeli airstrikes.
Iran-backed Hezbollah militants said it was behind the strikes and the attack was carried out ‘in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance’, reported the BBC.
The Islamic Republic of Iran also brandished a gigantic anti-Israel billboard in Tehran following the strike.
It showed a chequered keffiye covering the Star of David, entitled ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’.
The Israeli government formally declared war on Sunday and gave the green light for ‘significant military steps’ to retaliate against Hamas for its surprise attack.
Palestinian cross the Gaza-Israel border fence in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip in a surprise incursion into southern Israel on Saturday
The declaration came as the military tried to crush fighters still in southern towns and intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
The toll passed 1,000 dead and thousands wounded on both sides.
More than 24 hours after Hamas launched its unprecedented incursion out of Gaza, Israeli forces were still trying to defeat the last groups of militants holed up in several towns.
At least 700 people have reportedly been killed in Israel, a staggering toll on a scale the country has not experienced in decades, and more than 300 have been killed in Gaza as Israeli airstrikes pound the territory.
The Israeli rescue service Zaka said its paramedics removed about 260 bodies from a music festival attended by thousands that came under attack.
The total figure is expected to be higher as other paramedic teams were working in the area.
Video on social media and Israeli news outlets showed dozens of festivalgoers running through an open field as gunshots rang out. Many hid in nearby fruit orchards or were gunned down as they fled.
The declaration of war portended greater fighting ahead, and a major question was whether Israel would launch a ground assault into Gaza, a move that in the past has brought intensified casualties.
People walk atop the rubble of a tower destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Saturday
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon in southern Israel early Sunday
Meanwhile, in northern Israel, a brief exchange of strikes with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fanned fears that the fighting could expand into a wider regional war.
Authorities were still trying to determine how many civilians and soldiers were seized by Hamas fighters during the mayhem and taken back to Gaza.
From videos and witnesses, the captives are known to include women, children and the elderly.
Among the missing is British soldier Jake Marlowe, 26, who has not been heard from since Saturday morning after he was working as part of a security team at the festival near Re’im, a village close to the border with Gaza in the south of Israel.
A member of Israeli police is seen in Ashkelon, southern Israel yesterday after the Hamas offensive
The Jewish nation is raining down fire on fighters in the Gaza strip in a ruthless counteroffensive in the south while it also pounds Lebanon with artillery in the north.
In a post on X, he said: ‘As the barbarity of today’s atrocities becomes clearer, we stand unequivocally with Israel.’
US President Joe Biden ‘unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza’, and said ‘we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel’.
‘Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people,’ he said.
Gaza has been devastated by four wars and countless skirmishes between Hamas and Israel since the militants seized control of the strip in 2007. But the scenes of violence inside Israel itself were beyond anything seen there even at the height of the Palestinian Intifada uprisings of past decades.
That Israel was caught completely off guard was lamented as one of the worst intelligence failures in its history, a shock to a nation that boasts of its intensive infiltration and monitoring of militants.
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