Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a solemn message via video statement on a fateful Saturday, declaring unequivocally that “Israel is at war.” This stark proclamation followed an audacious incursion by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip into the southern regions of Israel.
The militants infiltrated Israeli territory, dispatching fighters across the border while concurrently launching a relentless barrage of thousands of rockets into the heart of the country. This tumultuous event was punctuated by the ruling Hamas militant group’s announcement of a new operation.
אנחנו במלחמה. pic.twitter.com/XNM3l7fEQH
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) October 7, 2023
Netanyahu, with a somber tone, underscored the gravity of the situation: “Citizens of Israel, we are at war. Not an operation, not an escalation — at war.” Israel’s defense minister endorsed this assertion, affirming that Hamas had indeed initiated a war against Israel. He expressed unwavering belief in Israel’s capacity to triumph.
Subsequent to a high-level security cabinet meeting convened at the Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant issued a stern warning to Hamas. He contended that Hamas had committed a grave miscalculation by launching volleys of rockets into southern and central Israel during an unexpected morning offensive.
In response to this aggression, the Israeli military raised the country’s state of alert and initiated precise strikes against strategic targets within Gaza. These actions set the stage for a potentially harrowing and protracted bout of hostilities between these age-old adversaries.
The elusive leader of Hamas’ formidable military wing, Mohammed Deif, issued a proclamation heralding the commencement of “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm.” His recorded message resonated with an impassioned call to arms, imploring Palestinians from the eastern quarters of Jerusalem to the northern regions of Israel to join in the struggle to oust the occupiers and dismantle the barriers that divide them. He boldly declared that Hamas had unleashed over 5,000 rockets into Israel, asserting their unwavering commitment to resistance.
This latest escalation in conflict adds yet another chapter to the enduring strife between Israel and Palestinian militants, particularly Hamas. This escalation came on the heels of mounting tensions, further exacerbated by Israel’s decision to seal its borders, disallowing entry to Gazan workers.
The tragic consequences of this conflict have included casualties, with 247 Palestinians, 32 Israelis, and two foreigners losing their lives this year. Among these casualties, one finds both combatants and civilians, underscoring the indiscriminate nature of the violence that has gripped the region.