Full-scale war has erupted between the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist group and Israel. As of Monday morning, at least 800 Israelis have died and thousands more have been wounded.
The attack began with Hamas firing a massive barrage of rockets across southern Israel. The group claims it launched 5,000 rockets on Saturday. Israel says that number is closer to 2,500. The barrage served as cover for a ground attack, during which Hamas fighters breached the barriers separating Gaza and Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Hamas gunmen were going house to house, slaughtering civilians. Videos circulating on social media confirm the atrocities Hamas is committing, as the terrorists beat and kidnap civilians.
As of Monday morning, the terrorists were claiming to have 130 Israeli hostages, including children and the elderly. Qatar and the US are currently mediating a hostage exchange between the two sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately responded to the surprise attack with a formal declaration of war.
Israel has called up 300,000 reservists to impose a blockade on the Gaza Strip. This could lead to a counter-assault, but currently, the nation is retaliating solely by air. At least 400 Palestinians are reported dead.
Two US congressmen were in Israel when the attacks began.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) were both able to safely find shelter when the missiles struck, and both departed for the States Sunday morning.
“My team and I are now safe, but like many we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these sickening terrorist attacks,” Booker posted on X. “After this experience, more than ever, I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Senate to continue supporting Israel’s security and ensuring stability in the region — and I hope one day soon, a long-term and just peace in the region.”
I was in Israel when the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas started on Saturday. My team and I are now safe, but like many we are shaken, angered, and heartbroken by the hundreds killed, the thousands injured, those taken hostage, and all who are directly affected by these… pic.twitter.com/E4BgEZxSTC
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 8, 2023
As of this writing, officials have confirmed the deaths of nine Americans who were killed by the Hamas airstrikes. Axios reports that several Americans and other foreign nationals were among those taken hostage by Hamas, prompting the question of whether the US will be further involved in the conflict.
The strike marks the first time in 50 years that Israel has been in a state of war.
The last time was in 1973 during what was known as the Yom Kippur War, a conflict that began after Syria and Egypt launched surprise attacks. But that’s not to say Israel hasn’t seen conflict since then.
In May 2021, Israel entered a two-week-long skirmish with Hamas after the militant group fired rockets across the border from Gaza. The following year, Israel experienced a string of terror attacks resulting in counter-strikes on militant commanders and weapons depots.
None have compared to Saturday’s attack. Dan Senor, a former policy adviser under George W. Bush, says it’s worse than multiple 9/11 attacks.
Questions remain as to how Hamas managed to catch Israel off guard this weekend in what former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror called a “major” intelligence failure.
But the answer as to what exactly happened likely won’t be known until after the fighting ends, with one military spokesman saying, “First, we fight, then we investigate.”