On 7th October 2023, Hamas, a Palestinian military group that controls the Gaza Strip launched an attack on Israel that left 700 people killed and thousands injured. Hamas began firing thousands of rockets on Saturday morning striking targets as far as Tel Aviv and the outskirts of Jerusalem. After an hour of the first rocket attacks, Hamas militants crossed into Israel by land, sea, and air and infiltrated 22 Israeli towns, gunned down 260 young Israelis who had attended an outdoor desert dance party before proceeding to kill and abduct hundreds of people in other parts of southern Israel.
A witness who had attended the Desert dance party says that a group of approximately 50 terrorists dressed in military uniforms invaded the party and started shooting in all directions. People rushed to their cars but at some point, everyone stopped their vehicles and they started running as the militants were firing sniper rifles from different directions. Reports have it that at least 260 people were killed in the desert party.
Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk confirmed that they holding more than 100 Israelis hostage in Gaza including senior officials. He also added that Hamas calls for Israel’s destruction and that the attack was justified by the plight of Gaza.
On 8th October 2023, Israel responded with huge strikes on cities in the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of buildings and killing 500 people. Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel and so far over 2000 people have been killed in Israel and Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Hamas saying, “Israel is at war. We didn’t want this war. It was forced upon us in the most brutal and savage way. But though Israel didn’t start this war, Israel will finish it, and Hamas will understand that by attacking us, they have made a mistake of historic proportions. We will exact a price that will be remembered by them and Israel’s other enemies for decades to come,” he said, branding Hamas as ISIS.
Israel has also activated 300,000 reservists (former active duty members of the armed forces) in just two days to help fight Hamas. Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, noted that they have never drafted so many reservists on such a scale and added that they are going on the offensive.
America’s president Joe Biden, has ordered US ships and war planes to Israel in Support of Israel. The white house noted that several Americans were killed in the Israel-Hamas war affirming backup for Israel.
Israeli jets launched airstrikes on Gaza, which Israel’s military said had destroyed centres that house Hamas militants. Palestinian officials said that a hospital had been hit, along with multi-story buildings, homes, and a mosque. As of Sunday, the Gaza Health Ministry in Gaza said that at least 413 Palestinians had been killed.
On Monday 9th October 2023, the Israeli Minister of Defence ordered a complete siege on Gaza adding that no water, food, fuel, and electricity will be delivered to Gaza. He ordered that everything should be closed.
Israel Defence Forces has urged civilians in Gaza to leave their residential areas immediately for their safety as Israeli military operations continue to target Hamas and shut all crossings between Israel and Gaza, potentially setting the stage for a ground incursion into the enclave
Egypt and Qatar are trying to meditate between Israel and Hamas to prevent further escalation of the war by negotiating freedom for Israeli women and children seized by the militant group in Gaza in exchange for 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel’s prison.
As of 10th October 2023, the death toll in Israel stands at 900 while in Gaza the toll is 765. Israel is now on a war footing and has already started mobilising troops for a potential ground operation in Gaza. It has said that it will exact a heavy price on Hamas for its attack and plans to retrieve Israeli hostages from the territory.