On Saturday, October 7, 2023, the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, resulting in the tragic loss of 40 lives and causing injuries to hundreds of people.
Here’s a breakdown of the critical details:
- Hamas claimed responsibility for firing approximately 5,000 rockets from Gaza into various Israeli cities, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, and Sderot. While Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted some of these rockets, many others struck residential areas, resulting in significant damage and casualties.
- In addition to the rocket attacks, Hamas deployed dozens of fighters who infiltrated Israel through tunnels, gliders, and boats. These militants reportedly engaged in gunfire with civilians and Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border. Trending videos show dead bodies of civilians strewn on the streets, allegedly killed by alleged Hamas fighters.
- Hamas justified the attack on Israel as a response to what they perceived as Israel’s occupation and aggression against Palestinians, particularly in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- Mohammed Deif, a senior commander within Hamas, said the Palestinian militant group had “decided to say enough is enough.”
- Israel condemned the attack, categorising it as an act of war and terrorism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is now at war and vowed a robust response.
- Islamic Jihad, based in Gaza, claimed that its militants have arrested “many” Israeli soldiers.
- Hamas’ military wing, the Qassim Brigades, also shared footage showing three captured men. The Qassim Brigades said the men were Israeli soldiers. There are reports that the Hamas militants are also kidnapping civilians.
- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it is now blowing targets in the Gaza Strip. It also said it had struck 17 military compounds and four Hamas operational headquarters.
- The surprise attack is unprecedented, and BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner revealed: “Israeli government officials tell me a major investigation is being launched as to how Israeli intelligence failed to see this massive and well-coordinated Hamas attack coming.”
- The international community expressed grave concern over the escalating violence and called for restraint and dialogue. Multiple nations, including the US, France, Germany, and the UK, condemned Hamas’ attack and expressed solidarity with Israel. They called on both parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and prioritize the protection of civilians.