Islamist group Hamas launched their biggest attack on Israel in years with 5,000 rockets at daybreak Saturday followed by gunmen attacks, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The surprise assault started with a relentless barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, then gunmen reportedly crossing the border, CNN reported. At least 22 people have died, including a 60-year-old woman, according to the AP. As warning sirens blared across southern and central Israel, including the historic city of Jerusalem, the Israeli military swiftly declared a state of war alert. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of top security officials to address the escalating situation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"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. pic.twitter.com/C7YQUviItR
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 7, 2023
The first wave of rockets was reportedly unleashed around 6:30 a.m. local time Saturday, when most Israelis would typically be asleep, per CNN. “Over the last hour, the Hamas terrorist organization had begun a massive shooting of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations,” the Israel Defense Forces said.
Hamas: 5,000 rockets launched on Israel. Israel declares "state of war alert".
Make no mistake, Islamist terror isn't about "liberating territory" it's really about "liberating the world" from other faiths.
Israel knows this. India knows this. pic.twitter.com/xLXyjQzYNQ
— Rahul Shivshankar (@RShivshankar) October 7, 2023
Hamas‘ military commander, Mohammad Deif, made an announcement to the world as he declared the commencement of the operation called “Al-Aqsa Storm,” per the outlet. Deif’s call echoed far and wide, urging Palestinians everywhere to join the fight as he said, “If you have a gun, get it out. This is the time to use it — get out with trucks, cars, axes, today the best and most honorable history starts.” Deif also added that their group had “targeted the enemy positions, airports and military positions with 5,000 rockets.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog wrote a statement on X saying, “I wish to offer strength to the commanders and soldiers of the IDF, and to all the security forces and rescue services. I send my encouragement and strength to all the residents of Israel who are under attack.”
Gaza, bordering Irael and Egypt along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the world most densely populated places, with almost 2 million people filling 140 square miles, according to CNN.
The attack comes on the normally joyous observance of Simchat Torah, when Jews finish the yearly cycle of reading the Torah scroll. It also occurred nearly 50 years to the day when, in 1973, a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, according to the AP.
Hamas claims to have fired 5,000 rockets towards Israel over the course of two hours
Multiple points of impact reported across the country.
Unconfirmed reports of Hamas infiltration throughout Israel. pic.twitter.com/HWyKdpNRkP
— Prodigal (@ProdigalThe3rd) October 7, 2023
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