“Netanyahu Addresses a Shocked and Grieving Nation, Preparing Them for a Prolonged and Challenging Conflict Following Hamas Rocket Attacks on Israel.”
“SDEROT, Israel: Israel, in the wake of the deadliest attack in half a century, officially declared a state of war against Hamas on Sunday as the death toll in the conflict soared above 1,000, following a massive surprise assault by the Palestinian militant group from Gaza.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rallied a shocked and grieving nation, preparing them for what he described as a ‘long and difficult’ war after Hamas unleashed a barrage of rockets at Israel on Saturday. The surprise assault by the Palestinian militant group resulted in the deadliest attack in half a century, with the death toll in the conflict surpassing 700 on the Israeli side, marking the country’s worst losses since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war when it faced an attack from a coalition led by Egypt and Syria.
“Jonathan Panikoff, director of the Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, commented, ‘Israel was caught flat-footed by the unprecedented attack,’ drawing comparisons to the shock of 9/11 for many Israelis who are struggling to comprehend the scale of the assault.
“In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes targeted over 800 locations ahead of what some feared could be an imminent ground invasion, resulting in reports of at least 413 deaths and numerous injuries across the conflict zone.
“Tens of thousands of Israeli forces were deployed to confront Hamas fighters in the south, where civilian casualties were found strewn on roads and in town centers. Israel’s military increased its presence along the Gaza border with four divisions of troops and tanks, adding to the 31 battalions already in the area.
“Military spokesman Daniel Hagari stated, ‘The enemy is still on the ground,’ emphasizing Israel’s commitment to reinforcing its military strength near the Gaza Strip. He vowed to reach every community until ‘we kill every terrorist in Israel,’ following Hamas’s shocking offensive that saw fighters entering Israel using various means, including vehicles, boats, and motorized paragliders.
“Gun battles between Israeli forces and hundreds of Hamas fighters raged on multiple fronts, including a police station in Sderot, where authorities ‘neutralized 10 armed terrorists.’ The conflict resulted in the loss of soldiers, commanders, and civilians, with efforts underway to regain full control of Israeli territory from Hamas.
“Meanwhile, militants in Gaza continued to launch rockets, hitting an Israeli hospital in Ashkelon. Throughout the day, Hamas fired more than 3,500 rockets, according to the Israeli military.
“The conflict has also taken a toll on civilian lives, with over 250 bodies reportedly found at a music festival site in southern Israel that came under attack.
“Israel faced another threat from the north when Lebanon’s Hezbollah fired guided missiles and artillery shells ‘in solidarity’ with Hamas, prompting Israeli artillery strikes along the border.
“Amidst the turmoil, shock and dismay gripped Israel as Hamas captured at least 100 citizens and took them into Gaza. Distressing images circulated on social media, showing bloodied hostages, and desperate relatives pleading for their rescue.
“Foreign countries reported their nationals killed, abducted, or missing in the fighting, adding to the international dimension of the crisis.
“US President Joe Biden ordered additional support for Israel and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the dispatch of an aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean.
“Ultimately, the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which Hamas named ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,’ marks a significant escalation in Middle East tensions, with its devastating consequences on both sides.”