Hundreds of civilians, soldiers and militants are dead after the largest terrorist attack on Israel in its history. The shocking images of attacks on towns, army checkpoints and a police station this weekend led to a formal declaration of war against the Islamist group Hamas by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The attack began Saturday with a barrage of rockets from Gaza, along the southern Israeli border. As of this writing, the exact number of rockets fired is not clear, although it has been well into the thousands.
The rocket fire was followed by a number of border incursions, including at least one militant flying into Israeli territory using a fan and parachute.
Fighters from Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, broke through border barriers and launched a number of surprise attacks on Israeli towns and installations.
The number of Israelis confirmed dead in today's Hamas terrorist invasion has risen to 300, with 1,590 wounded.
That is the equivalent of three 9/11s, given the size of Israel's population.
This is a catastrophe unlike anything Israel has ever experienced before.
— Avi Mayer אבי מאיר (@AviMayer) October 7, 2023
One video showed militants overrunning a border checkpoint. Another, which has not been independently verified, appeared to show the fighters capturing a number of Israeli tanks, although it was not clear whether they were able to utilize them. A further video showed Hamas members driving in an Israeli vehicle.
There were reports of brutal attacks on Israeli civilians, including the reported kidnapping of dozens of civilians and soldiers. Video appears to show a significant number of Israelis being brought back to Gaza as hostages.
Israel began an air campaign against Gaza, with a ground offensive into the Palestinian territory appearing likely in the coming days. The Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah has stated that it would intervene in the conflict should Israel launch such a ground operation.
Netanyahu spoke to the nation and declared that the country was at war with Hamas.
“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he said.
Conservative critics pointed to a September deal in which the White House unfroze $6 billion in Iranian assets in a deal to release several American hostages held by the Islamic Republic. Iran is a key backer of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
The White House claimed that the funds could only be used on humanitarian supplies.