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Minnesota leaders condemn deadly Hamas attack in Israel

Hamas makes unprecedented attack in Israel
Dozens killed, hundreds wounded after unprecedented attack in Israel 02:08

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota leaders are condemning the unprecedented, multi-front Hamas attack on Israel Saturday morning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country is "at war" after the fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border near the Gaza Strip by air, land and sea, catching the country off guard on what is a major holiday.

LIVE UPDATES: Israel and Hamas at war after Palestinian militants launch deadly attacks from Gaza

Minnesota leaders respond

Sen. Amy Klobuchar denounced the attack, saying "The violence being perpetrated against Israeli citizens is horrific and gut wrenching.  I unequivocally condemn these Hamas terrorist attacks. The United States stands with Israel."

Sen. Tina Smith echoed Klobuchar's statement in a post on Twitter, saying "These horrible attacks on civilians, the loss of life, and reports of hostage taking are an outrage."

"The U.S. government and the international community must unite in denouncing the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza, and demand the immediate release of all hostages," said Rep. Betty McCollum. "These appear to be serious acts of war, and war is never the answer."

She called upon the state department to brief Congress on the situation when the House returns to Washington next week.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, who represents Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District, said the attack was "shocking and horrifying."

"I pray for and grieve with the families who have lost their loved ones," she added.

Rep. Pete Stauber said he was "outraged by these horrific attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel."

"I condemn the horrific acts we are seeing unfold today in Israel against children, women, the elderly, and the unarmed people who are being slaughtered and taken hostage by Hamas," Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote on Twitter. "Such senseless violence will only repeat the back and forth cycle we've seen, which we cannot allow to continue. We need to call for deescalation and ceasefire. I will keep advocating for peace and justice throughout the Middle East."

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and The Dakotas also released a statement Saturday morning, saying that they stand "in complete solidarity with the people of Israel and their absolute right to defend themselves against this unprovoked aggression." 

"We pray for the safety of Israel's brave defense forces, the civilians who are still under siege from Hamas terrorist infiltrators and rockets, and for the swift rescue of all Israelis who were kidnapped," the statement goes on to say.

Death toll climbs, hostages seized

The death toll climbed to at least 200 and at least 1,100 were injured, according to the Israeli national rescue service Zaka. At least 232 people in the Gaza Strip were killed and 1,697 wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said.

MORE: What we know about the Hamas attack on Israel

Israel's military also confirmed that Hamas militants are holding "dozens" of Israeli civilians and soldiers hostage in Gaza.

President Joe Biden said he had spoken with Netanyahu about the attacks and condemned the assault.

RELATED: U.S. leaders vow support for Israel after deadly Hamas attacks: "There is never any justification for terrorism"

"We stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel," he said in a statement. "Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation."

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