“Israel is at war,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Israelis woke up under attack by air, land, and sea on Saturday, the Sabbath.
Sirens blared as more than 2,000 rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip attempted to pummel the Jewish state and Israelis ran for bomb shelters. At the same time, a combined offensive including truckloads of dozens of armed terrorists infiltrated through the border into southern Israel by land, paragliders entered by air, and others by sea.
“Citizens of Israel, we are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours,” Netanyahu told his nation.
Several videos purportedly of Israeli citizens and members of the IDF being abducted and taken hostage are going viral online today:
“I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists. This currently is being carried out,” he said. “At the same time, I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added.
“We are at war and we will win it.”
At least 40 Israelis are reported dead and at least 800 wounded, some critically. Some areas were reported to have fallen under complete control of Hamas.
The White House responded this morning, with the press office releasing the following statement: “Senior national security officials briefed the President this morning on the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. The President will continue to receive updates and White House officials remain in close contact with Israeli partners.”
Former President Donald Trump released this statement on Truth Social earlier today:
This unprovoked attack on Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, is despicable and sadly, it was predictable. One month ago, President Trump warned that Joe Biden’s weakness and $6 billion payout to Iran would ‘be used for terrorism all over the Middle East.’ That’s exactly what is happening now. President Trump brought historic peace across the globe — it is critical for the national security of the United States and for peace around the world that we re-elect President Trump next November. Israel has every right to forcefully defend itself. We must stand with our Israeli friends and allies.” — Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc.
From about 6:30 a.m., sirens blared first in southern Israel around the Gaza Strip and then in the Negev Desert, Tel Aviv area cities, and Jerusalem.
Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system. But there are reports of rockets having landed inside populated areas. Israel’s State-run public broadcaster KAN mentioned unconfirmed reports of Israeli soldiers kidnapped and taken into Gaza.
Media reports said dozens, dead or alive is unknown, had been taken captive and carried into Gaza.
One casualty was named as the Mayor of Sha’ar HaNegev, Ofir Libstein, who spoke at the recent International Christian Embassy Feast of Tabernacles celebration.
As of late morning, fighting was taking place inside two IDF bases and a number of southern Israeli communities, with residents locked in their houses as fighting was going on around them.
According to military spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, Israel has launched Operation Swords of Iron.
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “special security situation” in Israel’s home front within about 50 miles of the Gaza Strip enabling the IDF “to provide civilians with safety instructions and close relevant sites.”
“The Hamas [terrorist organization] has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location,” Gallant said.
“I call on all of Israel’s citizens to follow security instructions. The State of Israel will win this war,” he said.
Hecht said that Israel was also prepared on the northern border in the event of an attack from the north.
“The Hamas terrorist organization had begun a massive shooting of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “Civilians in the southern and central areas are required to stay next to shelters, and in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, inside shelters.”
“The Hamas terrorist organization is the sovereign in the Gaza Strip and is responsible for this attack. It will face the consequences and responsibility for these events,” it warned.
Former IDF Spokesman, Jonathan Conricus tweeted:
“This is an unprecedented multidimensional attack on Israel designed to kill and abduct civilians and soldiers. Part of the Iranian network of terror. As the extent of Israeli casualties will be confirmed, I expect an Israeli response never seen before. This is just the beginning,” he said. CBN’s Chris Mitchell spoke with Conricus earlier today about the attacks:
The attack comes at the end of the biblical Sukkot holiday. Known as Simchat Torah, it’s the day Jewish people celebrate the Word of God.
It also comes one day after the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was taken off guard by a massive attack from an Arab coalition.