The Israeli army is evacuating Israeli settlements in the border area with Gaza, after the attack by the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, as its spokesman announced today.

Thousands of people will be moved to other parts of Israel, said army spokesman Richard Hecht. The military has declared a no-go zone around the coastal strip. There are still eight spots in southern Israel where the army is searching for potential attackers, Hecht said. The fence in the Gaza Strip was breached at 29 points, which are now controlled.

About 300 Israelis were killed, according to reports, in the large-scale attack launched by Hamas yesterday. About 1,600 people were injured. Many Israelis are being held hostage in Gaza, including women, children and the elderly. The Israeli military is unable to give specific numbers so far.

“We will send a very tough response to Hamas after this inhumane attack,” the army spokesman said. “It’s a terrible morning.”

Hecht said the Gaza population would be instructed before attacks on Hamas targets to “avoid collateral casualties”. However, there will be no evacuation, he said. “We’ll tell them to go north, go south, go east.” Regarding a possible ground attack, the spokesman said all options are on the table. Border crossings in Gaza were destroyed by Hamas, he said. “We are in no rush to reopen them.”