The unexpected rocket strikes and infiltration attempts by Hamas against Israel coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 War.
This war, a surprise offensive launched by Israel’s Arab neighbors, commenced on October 6, 1973. Israel refers to it as the Yom Kippur War, as the assault began on Yom Kippur, the most sacred day in the Jewish Calendar.
Traditionally, Jews mark the day with fasting and seeking repentance for their sins in the preceding year. In many parts of the Arab world, it is recognized as the October 6 War and is viewed as a triumph.
Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from Gaza via land, sea, and air, including the use of paragliders, as stated by Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), during a briefing on Saturday.
The Israeli military has reported approximately 2,200 rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel since the commencement of hostilities on Saturday. These figures are in contrast to the statement made by Hamas military commander Muhammad Al-Deif, who claimed that 5,000 rockets had been launched.
“Numerous IDF soldiers, including special forces, have been dispatched to the area surrounding the Gaza Strip and are operating in a number of different locations in the division in order to protect the residents of southern Israel,” the IDF said in a statement.
Hecht indicated that ground combat is occurring in the following locations:
- Erez Crossing
- Nahal Oz
- Kibbutz Beeri
- Rehim Army Base
- Ziikim Army base
- Kfar Azz
The Israel Defense Forces have reported that numerous fighter jets are conducting strikes on multiple Hamas targets in Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the country is now in a state of war in response to the unexpected Hamas attack early on Saturday morning.
“Citizens of Israel,
We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours.
I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists. This currently is being carried out.
At the same time, I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.
In the meantime, I call on the citizens of Israel to strictly adhere to the directives of the IDF and Home Front Command. We are at war and we will win it.”
The surprise attack initiated by the militant group Hamas on Saturday morning has resulted in a reported 22 fatalities, as stated by Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service.
Additionally, MDA has reported over 250 casualties, encompassing the 22 individuals who lost their lives. The statement did not specify how many of the deceased or wounded were civilians.
The Hamas assault on Israel has been ongoing for approximately five hours, with sirens persisting in areas as far north as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
These alerts began sounding early on Saturday morning following rocket launches from Gaza. As of 12:30 p.m. local time, the sirens were still audible.
Videos capturing the morning’s turmoil in various parts of Israel have started to circulate online, providing a glimpse into the chaos unfolding on the ground.
This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.