Jerusalem, Israel – October 7, 2023
In a shocking turn of events, Israel declared a state of war after a surprise attack by Hamas fighters who infiltrated Israeli borders, launching a massive barrage of rockets into Israeli territory. The attack, claimed by Hamas, has escalated tensions in the region to unprecedented levels, prompting swift and decisive responses from Israeli authorities.
The conflict began on Saturday morning when Hamas claimed responsibility for launching thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem. Sirens blared in dozens of locations across the affected areas, signaling the severity of the situation.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) swiftly declared a “state of alert for war” in a statement issued at 8:25 a.m. local time. The IDF reported that Hamas had initiated a massive rocket assault on Israeli territory, and Hamas fighters had infiltrated multiple locations within Israeli borders, including through the sea, air, and ground.
By 11:00 a.m., approximately 2,500 rockets had been fired into Israel, marking an alarming escalation of hostilities. In response to these developments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a significant declaration, stating, “We are at war.” He further pledged that “the enemy will pay an unprecedented price” for their actions.
Following the emergency meeting of security officials convened by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant authorized the mobilization of reservists. Mr. Gallant emphasized that Hamas had made a grave mistake with its attack and expressed confidence that Israel would emerge victorious in this conflict.
While Israel and Hamas have been involved in multiple conflicts since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, the present incident represents an unparalleled incursion by Hamas fighters into Israel and stands as one of the most intense attacks on Israel in recent years.
Hamas military leader Mohammad Deif announced the offensive against Israel in a broadcast on Hamas media early Saturday morning, asserting that over 5,000 rockets had targeted Israel within the first 20 minutes of the attack. He framed this as a battle to end the “last occupation on earth.”
Israel promptly responded with retaliatory strikes in Gaza, deploying anti-rocket defenses to counter the incoming threats. The situation on the ground remains highly volatile.
Civilians near Gaza have been advised by the IDF to seek shelter, while those in southern and central areas have been instructed to remain close to shelters due to the ongoing conflict. Reports from Israeli media have indicated that Hamas fighters have fired upon pedestrians and homes in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Social media videos depict street clashes and Palestinian fighters operating jeeps in rural areas.
In Sderot, a resident named Sonia Kagan described the situation as unprecedented, with fighters roaming the city, constant gunfire, and missiles creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.
The conflict has also seen fighters taking control of homes in the Israeli town of Netiv HaAsara. Tragically, Israel’s emergency services have confirmed the death of a 70-year-old Israeli woman and injuries to at least 15 others. Ambulance teams have been dispatched to areas near Gaza.
As of 12:45 p.m. local time, the Israeli Ministry of Health reported 545 injured individuals who had been evacuated to hospitals across Israel. Israel holds Hamas responsible for the attack and considers it a major escalation.
“The Hamas terrorist organization is the sovereign in the Gaza Strip and is responsible for this attack. It will face the consequences and responsibility for these events,” stated the IDF.
The IDF has named its operation against Hamas “Operation Swords of Iron.” Additionally, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighter group has announced its involvement in the attack, further complicating the situation and raising concerns about the ongoing conflict’s potential consequences.