Israel Under Attack
In a shocking turn of events, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched a major attack on Israel, marking one of the most serious escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years. The surprise assault involved gunmen crossing into several Israeli towns and a heavy barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Israel Declares War
As warning sirens sounds loudly across southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem, Israel’s military declared a state of war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a televised address, emphasized that they were not engaged in an ‘operation’ or a ’round,’ but a full-scale war. Israel immediately mobilized its army reserves in response to the grave threat.
Casualties and Infiltration
Reports suggest that at least 40 Israelis have lost their lives in the incursion, and approximately 740 others have been wounded. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported injuries among Palestinian citizens but did not provide specific numbers.
The attack saw an unprecedented infiltration by an unknown number of Hamas gunmen into Israel from Gaza, resulting in gun battles between Palestinian fighters and Israeli security forces in southern Israeli towns. Residents reported terrifying encounters with militants seeking entry into their homes.
Hamas’s Call to Arms
Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif announced the commencement of the operation, urging Palestinians worldwide to join the fight. He claimed that 5,000 rockets had been launched, signaling a significant escalation in hostilities.
The Israeli military responded swiftly, launching airstrikes into Gaza, with witnesses reporting heavy explosions. Israeli forces also operated within Gaza, though specific details were not disclosed. Residents in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip were instructed to stay in their homes for safety.
The international community has reacted strongly to the conflict. The acting U.S. ambassador to Israel condemned the indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas against Israeli civilians and affirmed the U.S.’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself. The president of the European Commission echoed similar sentiments, acknowledging Israel’s right to self-defense.
Saudi Arabia, engaged in normalization talks with the U.S. and Israel, urged both sides to exercise restraint, emphasizing the dangers of the ongoing situation due to the continued occupation and deprivation of Palestinian rights.
As the conflict rages on, rocket launches from Gaza can be heard, and armed clashes have been reported along the separation fence with Israel near the southern town of Khan Younis. The situation remains volatile, with significant movement observed among armed fighters.
Israel’s ambulance service has dispatched teams to southern Israel near Gaza, and residents have been advised to remain indoors for their safety.
Reservists Called to Duty
Amidst the crisis, a group representing military reservists who initially planned to refuse training over objections to government plans to overhaul the judiciary has called on reservists to report for duty.
This shocking escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas has sent shockwaves through the region, leaving both sides on high alert and the international community deeply concerned about the implications of this conflict.