GAZA, PALESTINE – The Hamas group, backed by Iran, launched a large-scale rocket attack from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Saturday, resulting in at least 100 Israeli fatalities. The operation was announced by Mohammad Deif, a senior Hamas military commander, who called on Palestinians to join what he termed as the “greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth.”
Deif stated that 5,000 rockets were fired during the operation. Israeli media reports suggest that the attack was extensive, causing a high number of casualties. In response, Israeli air strikes have reportedly caused the death of 198 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health officials. Hospitals are currently attending to 561 injured individuals, with 77 in a critical state.
Following the attack, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared a state of war in a video message early Saturday. He stated, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war — not in an operation, not in rounds — at war.” Emergency services were deployed to the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip as sirens blared across the nation.
Medical facilities in southern Israel are grappling with the surge of injured individuals. Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva is treating 140 patients, including 20 in serious and critical condition. Another hospital in Ashkelon is attending to 94 victims in different states of health.
The Israeli military reported that terrorists had infiltrated Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, urging residents in the surrounding areas to stay indoors. The military pledged to protect Israeli civilians and assured that Hamas would pay a heavy price for its actions.
The U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, condemned the attacks, labeling them as unprovoked and unjustifiable. European leaders also expressed their condemnation of the Hamas attack and voiced their support for Israel.
The Israeli Defense Forces have been seen striking multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. In response to the escalating situation, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, declared a “special security situation” within an 80 km radius from the Gaza Strip to ensure the safety of civilians.