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Hamas Launches Surprise Offensive, Israel Declares War

The following article, Hamas Launches Surprise Offensive, Israel Declares War, was first published on Flag And Cross.

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians killed in the latest infiltration into Israel, outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Several armed Palestinians have entered Israeli territory during the barrage of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, according to army sources 07 October 2023. MOHAMMED TALATENE/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

During a significant Jewish holiday on Saturday, Hamas militants launched thousands of missiles into Israeli cities close to the Gaza Strip and dispatched scores of fighters in an unprecedented surprise early morning offensive that left the nation in shock and left many dead. 

Israel declared that it was at war with Hamas at the time and started carrying out airstrikes in Gaza, threatening to exact a “unprecedented price.”

Gunmen from Hamas invaded up to 22 areas outside of the Gaza Strip in a startlingly broad assault, encompassing towns and other settlements up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Gaza border. 

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Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians killed in the latest infiltration into Israel, outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Several armed Palestinians have entered Israeli territory during the barrage of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, according to army sources 07 October 2023. MOHAMMED TALATENE/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

They prowled for hours in some spots, killing soldiers and civilians until Israel’s military organized a defense. Gunbattles went on long into the night in several places.

According to Israel’s national rescue agency, the attack was the bloodiest in years.

Another extremely sensitive matter for Israel was the kidnapping and transport into Gaza of an undetermined number of troops and civilians from Israel.

In two towns, militants were reportedly holding captives in standoffs, according to Army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israel’s response has caused at least 1,610 injuries and 198 deaths in the Gaza Strip. 

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Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians killed in the latest infiltration into Israel, outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Several armed Palestinians have entered Israeli territory during the barrage of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, according to army sources 07 October 2023. MOHAMMED TALATENE/PICTURE ALLIANCE VIA GETTY IMAGES.

With Israel’s far-right government hurt by the security lapse and Palestinians despondent over an endless occupation, the mix could now be more explosive.

“We are at war,” saIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  in a televised address, declaring a mass army mobilization. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ‘round,’ but at war.”

“The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added, promising that Israel would “return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known.”

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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