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Indian students in Israel live in fear as war escalates

Tel Aviv: Several Indian students in Israel have said that they feel nervous and scared in the face of Hamas’ attack on Israel and are in constant touch with the Indian Embassy.

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An Indian student in Israel, Goku Manavalan said: “I am very nervous and scared…Thankfully we have shelter and Israeli police forces nearby. So far we are safe…We are in touch with Indian Embassy people, we have a good Indian community around and we are connected…”

Another student, Vimal Krishnasamy Manivannan Chitra, said the attack was very intense and scary. He said the “Indian Embassy is in touch with us in the group. They are keeping a check on us…”

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Aditya Karunanithi Nivedita, an Indian student in Israel said, “…It was all very sudden we did not expect it, because there are religious holidays in Israel going on. We got the sirens early in the morning at around 5:30 am. We were in bunkers for around 7-8 hours the sirens went off…We are asked to stay inside our homes…We are in contact with the Indian Embassy and they will update us for the future things…”

A major upheaval took place in the Middle East on Saturday, when the Hamas terror group launched a “surprise attack”, firing a barrage of rockets into southern and central Israel.

At about 6:30 am (local time), a barrage of rocket fire began from Gaza into Israel, hitting several cities including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Gedera and Ashkelon.

This was followed by several Hamas militants entering Israel from the Gaza Strip and taking over Israeli towns.

Hamas military commander Muhammad Al-Deif called the operation “Al-Aqsa Storm” and said that the assault on Israel was a response to attacks on women, the desecration of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the ongoing siege of Gaza, CNN reported.

Some graphic videos showed bodies strewn in the streets of the southern city of Sderot after the attack by Palestinian militants. Cars were riddled with bullets and lit on fire, according to The Washington Post.

In a major development, the Israeli Mayor, and head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, Ofir Liebstein, was also killed in the deadly rocket fire.

In response to the deadly attacks, the Israel Defense Forces also declared a ‘readiness for war’.

Israel launched “Operation Swords of Iron,” striking a number of targets in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu said Israel’s response to the Hamas incursion will “exact a huge price” from the militant group.

This was followed by the Israeli air force launching airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, hitting 17 military compounds and four operational command centres belonging to Hamas.

In the first reaction to the attacks, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “is at war”, further asserting that they will “win it”.

“We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours. I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered, first of all, to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists. This currently is being carried out,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

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