Gaza-based Hamas Palestinian resistance movement launched on Saturday a surprise operation in which its fighters infiltrated and controlled several Israeli settlements in Gaza envelope and fired thousands of rockets at Al-Quds and several Israeli cities.
The operation, dubbed Al-Aqsa Flood, has killed or injured hundreds of Israeli settlers. It has also involved thousands of rockets from the besieged Palestinian enclave towards the occupied territories and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), Palestinian media reported.
Swift Attack, High Number of Casualties
Al-Manar reporter in Gaza Imad Eid said the swift attack started at 6:30 a.m., noting that the Israeli occupation was taken by surprise.
“The Israeli enemy lost the control of the border between Gaza and the bordering Israeli settlements,” Al-Manar’s Eid reported, pointing to the Israeli intelligence failure.
Israeli media reported high number of casualties, noting that Palestinian fighters were spotted on the streets of Sderot and other settlements bordering the coastal enclave.
Videos circulated on social media showed Israeli soldiers captured by Palestinian resistance fighters. Other footage displayed Palestinian fighters returning to Gaza from on military vehicles seized from the Israeli soldiers.
At least 145 Israelis have been killed and 1120 others injured since the start of the massive attack by Hamas, The Times of Israel quoted the Magen David Adom emergency service as saying.
Media Coverage: “The Palestinian freedom fighters manage to seize Israeli military jeeps and lead them into the Gaza Strip.” pic.twitter.com/Lxdvu1z7Uy
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) October 7, 2023
Palestinian sources reported that resistance fighters managed to capture dozens of Israeli soldiers during the operation. Media outlet sreported that Head of occupation Army’s Gaza Battalion Nimord Aloni was among the captives.
Israeli Army Radio put the number of captured Israelis at 35.
Head of Hamas politburo, Ismail Haniyeh, indicated that the Palestinian resistance operation exposed the fragility of the Zionist entity, adding that it will extend and include the West Bank as well as 1948-land till reaching the full liberation.
Haniyeh also addressed the Arab regimes which have normalized ties with the Zionist entity, stressing that the Israelis can never protect them.
“Day of Great Revolution”
Al Qassam Bridages, the military wing of Hamas resistance movement, has announced that thousands of rockets were fired at the occupied territories since the major operation started on Saturday morning.
Al-Qassan Brigades said the operation “is in response to the ongoing provocations in Al-Aqsa and the measures taken towards Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”
Mohammad Deif, the Hamas military commander, issued a statement calling the morning’s operation “the day of the great revolution.”
He urged Palestinian people in the West Bank and the occupied territories to take up arms, and encouraged Arabs in the neighboring countries to join in the attack.
“Today, the people are bringing back the revolution and reviving the March of return,” he said, urging Palestinians in Jerusalem and inside Israel, in the Negev, the Galilee and the Triangle area to “set the earth on fire under the feet of the occupiers.”
He further called on the “Islamic resistance in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to merge their resistance with that of the Palestinians today and start marching towards Palestine now.”
For its part, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said it is “part of this battle”. A group’s spokesperson said: “Our cadres stand alongside their brothers in Hamas, shoulder to shoulder, until victory.”
Other resistance groups across Palestine announced they were joining the battle alongside Hamas, including Al-Aqsa Brigades, Lions’ Den, Al-Mujahedon Brigades.
“Israel Ready for War”
Israeli occupation military declared that it was “ready for war” citing widespread rocket fire and infiltration into occupied territories “through various entry points.”
It said it has launched operation “Iron Swords” in response to Hamas’s surprise attack. Occupation army spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said more than 2,200 rockets fired into ‘Israel’ since 6:30 this morning, The Times of Israel reported.
“Residents in the south and center of the country are required to be in close proximity to protected areas, and those in the Gaza periphery should remain within a secure space,” the occupation military announced, according to the Jpost.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a statement at the start of the security cabinet meeting.
“Since this morning, the State of Israel has been at war. Our first goal is first of all to cleanse the area of the enemy forces that have infiltrated, and restore security and peace to the settlements that were attacked,” Netanyahu said.
“The second goal, at the same time, is to exact a huge price from the enemy, also in the Gaza Strip,” he added.
“The third goal is to fortify other arenas so that no one makes the mistake of joining this war,” Netanyahu said.
For his part, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has declared an emergency situation within a range of 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip, his office said. The minister has also approved a widescale call-up of reservists, following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, his office said.
The number of reservists to be called up will depend on the military’s needs, Israeli media reported.
Hours after the attack, Israeli warplanes and drones targeted several sites across the besieged enclave.
The Israeli occupation forces said it has carried out a number of warplane and drone strikes against Hamas fighters on the border with the Gaza Strip.
“Airstrikes are continuing in other areas of the Gaza Strip at this hour,” the occupation military added.
Medical sources in Gaza reported that bodies of nearly 200 Palestinians have arrived at the coastal enclave hospitals, putting the number of injured Palestinians at more than 1000.
The Israeli air raids also destroyed Palestine Bridge in Gaza. Consequently, Hamas military stressed that, since the Israeli shelling on Gaza targeted Palestine bridge, Tel Aviv must await the resistance response.
Source: Palestinian and Israeli media via Al-Manar