OAN’s Roy Francis
Updated: 4:57 PM – Saturday, October 7, 2023
Warning: This article contains graphic content.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel “is at war” after Hamas launched the largest attack in decades into southern parts of Israel.
Hamas, a designated terrorist group, launched a massive surprise attack into Israel around 6:30 AM local time which consisted of thousands of rockets being fired into Israel, while simultaneously sending dozens of fighters and drones across the border.
The attack came as a surprise on the morning of a Jewish holiday in Israel on Saturday killing dozens of people and wounding hundreds according to Israel’s National Rescue Service. Exact figures are unknown due to the continued fighting in the area.
Mohammad Deif, the senior Hamas military commander, announced the attack on a broadcast on Hamas media. Deif called on Palestinians everywhere to attack Israelis and said that the terror group had launched 5,000 rockets into Israel. He went on to call the attack “the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth.”
Netanyahu released a statement after the attack saying that Israel is now “at war.”
“Citizens of Israel, we are at war. Not an operation, not a round [of fighting,] at war! This morning Hamas initiated a murderous surprise attack against the state of Israel and its citizens,” Netanyahu said. “We have been in this since the early morning hours. I have convened the heads of the defense establishment. I’ve given directives, first and foremost, to clear the [affected] urban areas of the terrorists who penetrated them. This is happening right now.”
He went on to announce that reservists in Israel are being called to mobilize in order to “fight back,” and that the “enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”
“In parallel, I am initiating an extensive mobilization of the reserves to fight back on a scale and intensity that the enemy has so far not experienced. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” Netanyahu said. “I urge the public to follow strictly the directives of the military, the Home Front Command. We are at war and will win.”
Reports and footage showed Israeli civilians, along with Israeli military members, being killed or captured by Hamas fighters, while graphic footage showed fighters also desecrating the bodies of those who were killed in the attack.
According to Israeli media, Hamas gunmen had opened fire indiscriminately on passersby, and fighting erupted in the streets of towns in southern Israel after the Hamas fighters had penetrated through the border.
Videos released by Hamas showed their fighters using paragliders in order to fly over the border and be able to launch their assault into Israel.
Hezbollah, the terror group in Lebanon, has also reportedly gathered fighters on the northern border of Israel as they celebrated the attack by Hamas and saying that they stand ready to aid Hamas if Israel is to conduct any ground operations into Gaza. Israel has reinforced its military along its northern border in preparation of an attack by Hezbollah.
12 hours after the initial attack by Hamas, an Israeli army spokesperson said that the fighting is continuing in 22 locations throughout southern Israel. Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari also said that air and ground operation were launched into Gaza in retaliation as part of “Operation Swords of Iron,” and that dozens of Hamas fighters have been killed or captured.
“The Israeli Defence Forces will defend Israeli civilians and the Hamas terrorist organization will pay heavy price for its actions,” the military said.
The Israel Defense Forces said that a number of targets within Gaza have been targeted and destroyed with airstrikes while ground forces were also being launched as well.
The United States National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson condemned the attacks by Hamas saying that they were unprovoked and stressed that there is “never any justification for terrorism.”
President Joe Biden released a statement also condemning the attacks by Hamas and offering support to Israel.
“This morning,” the statement read. “I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the horrific and ongoing attacks in Israel. The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel”
45th President Donald Trump said that the attacks are a “disgrace” and that “Israel has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force,” he went on to say that the peace that he had brought to the Middle East through the Abraham accords have been whittled away by President Biden.
Update – 4:57 PM PST Saturday October 7, 2023:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is “embarking on a long and difficult war,” which forced by Hamas.
“We are embarking on a long and difficult war,” he said. “The war was forced upon us by a murderous attack by Hamas. The first phase ends in these hours by destroying most of the enemy forces that have penetrated our territory. At the same time, we started the offensive formation and it will continue without reservation and without respite – until the goals are achieved. We will restore security to the citizens of Israel and we will win.”
The attacks by Hamas have claimed the lives of at least 250 Israelis, according to The Associated press, while injuring at around 1,500.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said that 232 people are dead, and around 1,800 others were injured in Gaza.
Update – 3:49 PM PST Saturday October 7, 2023:
Spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Minister, Lior Hariat, stated to Fox News that Iran is behind the attacks on Israel.
“Those terror organizations [Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad] are working as proxies of the Ayatollah regime,” Hariat said. “Iran is trying for years, especially in the last few months, to have a terror organization, both the Islamic Jihad that is fully supported and financed by Iran, and Hamas terror organization that is also financed but not fully by Iran. They are calling them to attack Israel and Israelis.”
The Tehran Times, which is controlled by the Iranian regime, also reported that the Islamic Republic backs the war against Israel. The Tehran Times also reported that Iran’s Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said that the war on Israel is “glorious.”
The attacks on Israel come after President Biden released $6 billion to Iran as part of a prisoner swap.
Update – 1:48 PM PST Saturday October 7, 2023:
Colonel Yonatan Steinberg, the commanding officer of the Nahal Infantry Brigade, was killed during the clashes with the Hamas fighters in the Keren Shalom area near the border with the Gaza Strip according to the Israel Defense Forces. The death of Steinberg marks the first time that a senior Israeli officer has been killed in combat in recent memory.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Israel and said that today’s attacks are something that were “never before seen in Israel” vowing to use “all the power” of the IDF to destroy all the capabilities of Hamas so it will never happen again.
“What happened today has never been seen before in Israel and I will ensure it never happens again. The entire government supports this decision. The IDF will immediately use all its power to destroy Hamas’s capabilities,” he says. “We will fight them to the bitter end and avenge this black day they plotted for Israel and its people.”
He also extended a warning to Gaza’s resident, urging them to “get out now because we will operate everywhere and with full force.”
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
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