Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned on Sunday of a “long and difficult war” ahead, a day after Palestinian militants launched one of the biggest attacks in years from the Gaza Strip, sending thousands of rockets into central and southern parts of the country as heavily armed gunmen crossed border fences into Israeli communities.
By Tuesday, Israeli troops had mostly retaken control of towns near the Gaza Strip from Hamas gunmen. With the border nearly secured — even as rocket attacks from Gaza continued and some firefights broke out — the scale of the horror unleashed on towns and villages near Gaza was rapidly coming into focus.
Here are images from the confrontation.
This gallery contains graphic images.
Funerals of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes in Khan Younes, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Surveying the damage in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza after Israeli strikes.
Israeli soldiers near the body of a Hamas fighter in the village of Kfar Azza.
Family and friends of the paramedic Amit Man, 22, grieving beside her grave in Netivot, Israel.
A salvo of rockets fired from Gaza.
Israeli soldiers with the bodies of Israeli civilians near the border with Gaza.
Residents of Kfar Aza, who were evacuated from their homes after Hamas gunmen broke into their kibbutz.
Israeli soldiers patrolling in the village of Kfar Azza, Israel.
Palestinian journalists mourning their colleagues, Saeed Al-Taweel and Muhammad Sobh, who were killed while photographing a strike on Gaza City.
Emergency responders bringing wounded children to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
Israelis taking cover in a shelter in Ashkelon as a siren warns of incoming rockets from Gaza.
A tourist group from Italy whose original departure was canceled awaited another flight at Ben Gurion Airport, outside Tel Aviv.
Destruction around the Ahmed Yassin Mosque, which was bombed in Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City.
A mother and father carry their daughter, who was wounded in an Israeli bombing inside a school in downtown Gaza city, into Al-Shifa Hospital.
The funeral of an Israeli soldier, Yuval Ben Yaakov, in the cemetery in Kfar Menahem.
Israeli forces in a cotton field near Kfar Menahem in Israel.
People hiding under the stairs after their house was destroyed when Israeli war planes bombed the Western Mosque, west of Gaza City.
A wounded Palestinian woman mourns as she holds the body of her daughter at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Mourners grieve at the funeral of Col. Roi Levy, 44, at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem.
Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system intercepting rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel.
Israelis evacuate a site struck by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon.
Israelis seek shelter after a rocket siren was sounded in Jerusalem, Israel.
Palestinians search for survivors after an Israeli airstrike on the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
A girl runs in fear at the sounds of bombing near Al-Shifa Hospital in central Gaza.
EMT Menachem Zacharya draws blood from two Israelis at a blood donation center organized by Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency service, which was set up at an arena in Jerusalem, Israel.
Relatives mourn people killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.
A wedding photo in a building in Ashkelon that was hit by rockets.
An injured woman with her child after an Israeli airstrike near their house in the central Gaza Strip.
A building damaged in strikes in Gaza City.
Israeli soldiers leaving a shelter after rocket sirens were sounded in Sderot, Israel, as they searched for remaining Hamas gunmen from Gaza in a residential neighborhood near where gunmen had taken over a police station.
A building in Tel Aviv a day after it was hit.
Tali Touito, a resident of Sderot, described how Hamas gunmen attacked and took over the police station on her street.
A blindfolded Palestinian prisoner speaking to a member of the Israeli security forces on the border with Gaza, near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.
Bombing of the National Islamic Bank in central Gaza.
Searching through the rubble of a house in the Gazan town of Khan Younis.
Israeli soldiers in an assembly area near the Gaza Strip.
Gabriel Trigun taking cover beside his car as rockets launched from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system in Sderot.
Palestinian citizens inspecting their property in Gaza City.
A mother crying next to the body of her son — who was killed in the Israeli raids — on the grounds of Al-Shifa Hospital.
Israeli soldiers run to catch up with members of their unit during a patrol through a residential neighborhood of Sderot.
An infant sleeping in a dining room in Kibbutz Mishmar HaNegev after being rescued with a family that was hiding in a house in Kibbutz Kfar.
A woman running to the concrete shelter at her home in Ashkelon, Israel, after a rocket siren sounded.
Palestinian children looking toward the sky as they hear the sound of airstrikes. Families sought refuge at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school in Gaza.
Palestinians breaking into the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border fence.
The bodies of Israelis killed by Palestinian militants who entered from the Gaza Strip lay covered in the southern Israeli city of Sderot.
A resident of Ashkelon, about 10 miles north of the Gaza Strip, looking out the window of his family’s apartment at destruction caused by a rocket fired from Gaza.
Palestinian militants surround a truck reportedly carrying a captured Israeli woman, in Khan Yunis in the souther Gaza Strip
Rockets being fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. The assault began without warning at about 6:30 a.m. on the Jewish Sabbath, and almost 50 years to the day since a surprise attack by Egyptian and Syrian forces on Israel that set off the 1973 war.
Members of Israeli security forces carrying a wounded person in Ashkelon. Israel’s Health Ministry said more than 1,400 people had been wounded.
The aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.
Bodies strewn on a road in Sderot, Israel. Israeli civilians were killed by gunmen in the area on Saturday, but the total number of victims was not yet clear.
Palestinian militants riding a seized Israeli military vehicle.
Relatives mourning over the bodies of Palestinian militants at the mortuary of a hospital in Gaza City.
Israeli rescue teams tending to a man in a building that received a direct hit in Ashkelon.
Yeshayahu Foyer, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor, at his home in Ashkelon after surveying rocket damage to a house under construction next door.
Carrying the body of a Palestinian militant killed in Gaza.
Israelis donating blood in Jerusalem.
An aerial view of Ashkelon showing vehicles on fire as rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians celebrating over a burned Israeli car in Gaza.