At least 260 bodies recovered from southern Israel music festival, according to local media

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'It has become a war with frontlines everywhere' - ITV News' John Ray reports from Tel Aviv

At least 260 bodies have reportedly been recovered from the site of a music festival in southern Israel attacked by Palestinian militants, as fighting continues following Hamas' surprise assault.

Israel said it has hit around 800 targets in Gaza following the deadliest attack on its country in five decades, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his country is "at war" and warned the military will use all of its strength to punish those responsible for Saturday's assault.

Hamas attacked Israel by land, air and sea, prompting Jerusalem to launch its own barrage of retaliatory attacks on Sunday battling fighters in the streets and striking Gaza from the skies.

Families and rescue teams continue to search for loved ones as more than 1,100 people, including civilians and children, have been killed on both sides and several thousands more are injured. At least 700 have reportedly been killed in Israel and more than 400 in Gaza.

Around one hundred people - including soldiers and civilians - have reportedly been taken hostage by Hamas inside Gaza.

According to Israeli media, rescue service Zaka said it recovered at least 260 bodies have from a music festival in southern Israel near the Gaza border attacked by Palestinian militants.

More than 1,000 have died on both sides, while more than 100 have been taken hostage by Hamas. Credit: AP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will do "everything we can to help" Israel as he condemned Hamas, while US President Joe Biden pledged his "full support" and sent military assistance to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel.

A 20-year-old British man serving in the Israeli Defence Services (IDS) is among the soldiers to have died in the attack, according to his family, while another 26-year-old British citizen has been reported as missing.

Preliminary reports indicate that at least four American citizens were killed in the attacks and an additional seven were missing and unaccounted for, according to a US official. 

On Sunday, Israel was still wrestling to gain control of the situation and said its forces are repelling Hamas fighters in a number of locations. An Israeli official said its forces had killed 400 militants and captured dozens more.

Key developments so far:

  • On Saturday morning, Hamas militants launched a coordinated surprise attack at Israel, killing soldiers and civilians, and taking hostages.

  • Israel launched a barrage of retaliatory strikes at Gaza on Sunday hitting more than 800 targets, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is "at war" and pledged to reduce Hamas to "ruins".

  • Israeli forces also began exchanging fire with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

  • Israel's ambassador to the US described the events as "Israel's 9/11" as the UN Security Council met in New York on Sunday and urged "maximum restraint" - but there was no resolution to the escalation in violence.

  • At least 700 people have been killed in Israel and more than 1,500 have been injured, say Israeli officials.

  • At least 400 people in the Gaza Strip have been killed, while more than 2,300 have been injured, according to Palestinian officials.

  • The family of a British man serving in the Israeli army say he has died, while a separate British citizen has been missing since Saturday morning.

  • President Joe Biden confirmed US military assistance - in the form of a carrier strike group - is en route to the Eastern Mediterranean ready to support Israel, as four Americans were confirmed dead and seven are missing.

The best friend of a 25-year-old student, named Noa Argamani, who was taken with her boyfriend - with Hamas believed to be behind the kidnap - told ITV News she fears the worst and doesn't "even want to imagine what they're doing to her".

Harrowing footage shared by Noa's family showed her and her boyfriend pleading for their lives while she was taken away on the back of a motorbike. They haven't heard from her since.

Noa's friend, Shlomit Marciano, told ITV News: "I can't get it out of my head. She's screaming 'don't kill me'.

"Terrible, terrible. Last time I saw her she was happy - now that video. It's crazy."

'I don't even want to imagine what they're doing to her'

She said Noa had hidden for hours from Hamas gunmen who attacked a party attended by hundreds of young people, with many killed.

Shlomit said "most likely" her friend is now in the hands of Hamas.

When asked what she fears, she replied: "I think you know what I fear - that she's been hurt. I don't even want to imagine what they're doing to her."

Hamas launched Saturday's attack by using explosives to break through the border fence enclosing Gaza, before crossing with motorcycles, pickup trucks, paragliders and speed boats on the coast.

The gunmen infiltrated up to 22 locations, as thousands of missiles were aimed at major Israeli cities.

People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Credit: AP

Hamas' military wing leader, Mohammed Deif, said the assault was part of "Operation Al-Aqsa Storm", and called on all Palestinians to join the fight.

The family of a 20-year-old British man have said he is among the Israeli soldiers killed during the assault.

Nathanel Young was serving with the Israeli Defence Services (IDS) when he was killed on the Gaza border.

A family statement shared on Facebook read: "We're heartbroken to share that our little brother Nathanel Young was tragically killed on the Gaza Border yesterday."

Nathanel Young, a British national serving in the Israeli army, was killed amid Hamas's attack. Credit: Facebook/Nathanel Young

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak offered advice to British nationals concerned about loved ones in the country, as he condemned Hamas for the "truly horrifying" attacks and expressed his "absolute solidarity for the people of Israel".

Speaking to the British public, he said: "This is a dangerous and fast moving situation on the ground and I know that there will be families anxious about their loved ones."

The Foreign Office is in "close contact" with foreign counterparts in Israel to establish the status of British nationals on the ground, added the PM, and said people should "follow foreign office advice and contact the Foreign Office if you have any concerns".

The FCDO has advised against all but essential travel to Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories due to the conflict.

'Hamas and the people who support Hamas are fully responsible for this appalling act of terror'

Speaking at Chequers, the prime minister said in a video: “I want to express my absolute solidarity for the people of Israel. Now is not a time for equivocation and I am unequivocal.

“Hamas and the people who support Hamas are fully responsible for this appalling act of terror, for the murder of civilians and for the kidnapping of innocent people, including children.”

He confirmed he had spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu on the phone on Sunday afternoon "to assure him of the UK's steadfast support" for Israel.

"We will do everything we can to help - terrorism will not prevail," he added.

A No 10 spokesperson said the prime minister also "stressed his commitment to ensuring the Jewish community in the UK feels safe and secure at this time" to Mr Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, the US has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean after Americans were reported to be among those killed and missing. Most, if not all, are dual US-Israeli citizens, an official said.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday he has ordered the USS Gerald R. Ford - the Navy's newest and most advanced aircraft carrier - and its approximately 5,000 sailors, a deck of warplanes and ships to be ready to provide assistance to Israel.

It will be accompanied by cruisers and destroyers in a show of force that is meant to be ready to respond to anything, from possibly interdicting additional weapons from reaching Hamas and conducting surveillance.

The large deployment underscores the concern that the United States has in trying to deter the conflict from growing. But the Israeli government formally declared war on Sunday and gave the green light for “significant military steps” to retaliate against Hamas.

In addition, the Biden administration “will be rapidly providing the Israel Defense Forces with additional equipment and resources, including munitions. The first security assistance will begin moving today and arriving in the coming days,” Mr Austin said.

On Sunday, the IDS were still engaged in fighting, with a military spokesman saying soldiers will search through each area near the Gaza frontier for any remaining Hamas fighters.

Overnight, the Israeli military issued warnings in Arabic to communities near the border with Israel to leave their homes for areas deeper inside the tiny enclave.

The warning came as Israel hit back at Hamas, targeting more than 800 targets in Gaza - which included levelling a 14-storey building that held offices belonging to the militant group.

Missiles are launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Credit: AP

Israel's military also fought with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, on Sunday morning, after it struck Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border with Syria's Golan Heights.

Jerusalem responded with armed drone strikes on Hezbollah targets in a separate disputed area, where the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria meet.

Israel and Hezbollah are enemies and have fought several wars in the past, the most recent a 34-day conflict in 2006 which left 1,200 dead in Lebanon and 160 in Israel.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Israel's military confirmed that two hostage situations had been "resolved" by Sunday. They did not comment on whether all those taken hostage had been rescued alive.

Israel's embassy in London has confirmed that a 26-year-old British man, who was working near the Gaza border at the time of the attacks, is missing.

Jake Marlowe was providing security for a music event in the desert, near Kibbutz Re'im, on Saturday morning.

Jake Marlowe has not been seen since Saturday morning. Credit: Facebook / Jake Marlowe

A spokesperson said: "He is missing, we don't know for sure that he is taken hostage or dead or in a hospital."

International figures have jointly condemned the attacks, including the leaders of the United States, France, Germany and the European Union (EU).

Israel has maintained a blockade over Gaza since Hamas, an Islamist militant group that opposes Israel, took control of the territory in 2007.

In the years since, the opposing sides have fought four wars and been engaged in numerous smaller rounds of fighting.

The blockade, which restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, has devastated the territory's economy.

Israel says the blockade is needed to keep militant groups from building up their arsenals, but Palestinians argue the closure amounts to collective punishment.

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