In a sudden escalation of violence, the Hamas Palestinian group launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza early Saturday morning. This operation, apparently named “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” is the most intense confrontation since the 11-day war in 2021.
Key Points – Hamas Attack on Israel
- Hamas fired around 5,000 rockets, targeting areas as far north as Tel Aviv.
- Reports indicate Hamas fighters infiltrated southern Israel, resulting in gun battles in towns like Sderot. Videos on social media depict clashes in city streets and militants in vehicles patrolling the countryside. Some reports claim Hamas took control of certain Israeli civilian centers.
- Israel responded with “Operation Iron Swords” against Hamas in Gaza. The Israeli army reports ongoing aerial assaults on Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
- The initial Hamas attacks coincided with Simchat Torah, part of the Jewish festival Sukkot.
- Gaza’s Palestinian health ministry reports at least 413 Palestinians dead and nearly 2,300 injured due to Israeli counterattacks.
- Israeli sources state the death toll from Hamas attacks reached at least 700, with 2,382 wounded.
This TimesNow video shows an excellent visual timeline.
Motivation Behind the Attacks
Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi told Al Jazeera that these military actions are in retaliation for the “atrocities” Palestinians faced over the years. Hamas military commander, Mohammed Deif, urged all who possess weapons to join the conflict. The group also appealed to resistance fighters in the West Bank and other Arab and Islamic nations to support them.
Israeli Government Response
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declared the nation in a state of war. A formal statement released on Sunday confirmed “significant military steps” in response to the terrorist attack.
- As of Monday, gun battles continue in southern Israel, notably in Ashkelon, Sderot, and Karmia.
- Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah engaged in artillery exchanges, raising concerns of a wider conflict.
- Reports from Ashdod describe an active “hostage situation” in the Kfar Aza settlement, east of Gaza.
- Israeli attacks displaced over 123,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to UN data.
- Israel’s military recaptured most breached security points, though questions remain regarding the initial breach.
Al Jazeera has an excellent live updates page of the Hamas attack on Israel.