Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that his country’s response to the Hamas attacks “will be remembered for decades to come.”
Netanyahu’s message, shared on X, formerly Twitter, follows Hamas militants’ surprise attack on Israel on Saturday. The Israeli government has declared war between its country and the Palestinian fundamentalist political party Hamas and ordered a complete siege of the Gaza Strip.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have since cut off the region from food, fuel and other supplies, and the death toll on both sides of the conflict has risen to nearly 1,600.
“Israel is at war,” Netanyahu said in his message on Monday. “We didn’t want this war. It was forced upon us in the most brutal and cruel way. But even though Israel did not start this war, Israel will end it.”
“Hamas will understand that it has made a mistake of historic proportions with its attack,” he continued. “We will exact a price that will be remembered by them and Israel’s other enemies for decades to come.”
More than 900 Israelis are believed to have died in Saturday’s Hamas attacks, AP reports. These included airstrikes across the country and a barrage on a Jewish festival near the Gaza border, in which many young festival-goers were either killed or taken hostage.
Since Israel declared war, over 680 people have been killed in Gaza. Hamas’ armed wing has warned that it plans to kill an Israeli hostage every time there is an unannounced Israeli attack on civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, AP reported. Hamas is believed to have kidnapped more than 100 people, including Americans, on Saturday.
“The cruel attacks carried out by Hamas against innocent Israelis are staggering: the slaughter of families in their homes, the massacre of hundreds of young people at an open-air festival, the kidnapping of numerous women, children and the elderly, even the Holocaust -Survivors,” Netanyahu continued on Monday. “Hamas terrorists bound, burned and executed children. They are savages.”
US President Joe Biden has pledged to provide Israel with “all appropriate means of support” in the face of Hamas attacks, and Netanyahu thanked the US commander-in-chief for his “unequivocal support” in his message on Monday afternoon.
“I want to thank the leaders around the world who stand with Israel today,” Netanyahu continued. “I want to thank the people and the Congress of the United States of America. In the fight against Hamas, Israel is not just fighting for its own people. It fights for every country that stands against barbarism.”
AP reported Monday evening that the U.S. had begun delivering ammunition and other military equipment to Israel, according to a senior Defense Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The news comes as Biden announced that the American death toll in the conflict had risen to 11.
Newsweek emailed the Israeli embassy in the U.S. on Monday seeking comment.