Israel's security cabinet formally declared war on Saturday night as fighting with Hamas in southern Israel entered its second day, claiming hundreds of lives on both sides of the conflict.

"We will be victorious in this war despite an unbearable price. This is a very difficult day for all of us," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an address, adding: "What happened today is unprecedented in Israel – and I will see to it that it does not happen again. The entire government is behind this decision."

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