Violent Surprise Attacks by Hamas
We awoke yesterday, Saturday at 6:30 am to the sound of piercing sirens and hurried to the “sheltered” room we normally use as our office in our apartment.
We heard the loud sound of several “booms” as rockets were exploding when intercepted by the Iron Dome. After a short interval of quiet when we left the room, there was another siren and we hurried back to the “shelter.”
This went on the entire day as Ashdod was bombarded by rockets from nearby Gaza (about a 45-minute drive from us.)
Although we are used to Hamas’ arbitrary rocket attacks, this was different; Hamas declared war on Israel.
Not only did they launch over 3,000 rockets* at southern and central Israel, but they also broke through the strong border fence with bulldozers, allowing several trucks of armed terrorists to infiltrate Israeli communities, murdering innocent citizens and taking hostage soldiers, women, children, and the elderly into the Gaza Strip.
By the afternoon, battles continued at 22 locations, while barrages of rockets continued into Israel. They hit as far as Tel Aviv, where the siren interrupted a government emergency meeting. Sirens also sounded multiple times in Jerusalem and its vicinity, beginning at 8:15 a.m. until about noon.
There is a saying that history repeats itself; such is the case in Saturday’s brutal attack. Fifty years ago, on Saturday, October 6, on the day of Judaism’s holiest day, the attack of Yom Kippur from Egypt and Syria, caught Israel by surprise.
Caught Off-Guard . . . Again
This time, Saturday October 7 at 6:29 A.M., the morning of the celebration of Simchat Torah, “Joy of the Torah”, a surprise war began with rocket fire, invasion of Israeli communities by sea and air, and ground attacks on residents and service people.
The Israeli army and intelligence are considered to be the strongest military in the Middle East and the best intelligence in the world. How were they completely caught off guard this Saturday?
Israel wrongly estimated as she did fifty years ago before the surprise attack in the Yom Kippur War, that the enemy had no desire to fight Israel’s strong army.
The IDF (Israeli Defense Force) failed to guard the Gaza border while concentrating its efforts against terrorists in Judea and Samaria. Israel also failed to discern Hamas’ plan to infiltrate border communities and murder and abduct soldiers and civilians.
Israel was unprepared for the cover of thousands of rockets that allowed terrorists into neighboring communities.
Presently, Israelis are united against the common enemy and have put aside divisive matters such as judicial reforms.
Hamas blames the Jewish state for “desecrating Al-Aqsa,” which is the whole Temple Mount area and not just the Al-Aqsa mosque itself according to the Palestinians. When Jews went up recently on the Temple grounds, far from the mosque itself to celebrate Succoth, the Feast of Tabernacles, Hamas then called on the all Palestinians to ‘Carry out attacks on the [Jewish] settlements with all the means and tools at your disposal’.
Hamas claimed that they had forewarned Israel not to approach the Temple Mount, and named the current attack on Israel, “The Al-Aqsa Storm.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel was at war.
“Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack on Israel and its citizens. I’ve instructed (our forces) first of all to clear the terrorists from communities they have infiltrated…I’ve ordered an extensive call-up of reserves to respond in a war the enemy has never seen before. We are at war and we will emerge triumphant.”
Meanwhile, Hamas has called Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, as well as in Jerusalem to join the ‘struggle’ against the “Zionist enemy.”
Moreover, the Taliban terrorist organization is supporting Hamas: “If the Muslim countries neighboring Israel grant us the right of passage, we will join and conquer Jerusalem.” said one Taliban member.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has declared, “Hamas has made a grave mistake…and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every station. The State of Israel will win this war.” Gallant approved the draft of reserve soldiers in accordance with the IDF’s requirements.
Meanwhile, dozens of Israeli fighter jets took out several Hamas locations in the Gaza Strip. Knowing that Hamas terrorists hide among civilians, the IDF warned Gazan residents in Arabic, “For your security, you must leave your homes at once.”
“Israeli residents in the south and center are required to be in close proximity to protected areas, and those in the Gaza periphery should remain within a secure space,” the IDF announced, adding that Hamas is responsible and will pay dearly.
The Damages as of This Writing*
As of now, it is estimated that at least 700 Israelis have been murdered by the Hamas terrorist offensive attack.
About 2,380 wounded Israelis were evacuated to hospitals across the country. Of these, 22 are in critical condition, 17 are in critical condition, 200 are in serious condition, 226 are in moderate condition, 451 suffered only light injuries, 11 suffered shock, and the rest are being evaluated.
A call to donate blood was followed by an overwhelming response by many Israelis.
Hamas claims to be holding 163 Israelis hostage in the Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for Hamas’ military arm said, “The number of Israeli captives is several times higher than what Netanyahu believes (about 130.) They have been spread through all of the roads in Gaza, and they will go through what the population in the Strip is going through.”
AGAIN, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Saturday:
“Since this morning, the State of Israel has been at war. Our first objective is to clear out the hostile forces…and restore security and quiet to the communities that have been attacked. The second objective, at the same time, is to exact an immense price from the enemy, within the Gaza Strip. The third objective is to reinforce other fronts so that nobody should mistakenly join this war.”
“We are at war. In war, one needs to be level-headed. I call on all citizens of Israel to unite in order to achieve our highest goal—victory in the war,” Netanyahu added.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that the world has seen the true face of Hamas, which is a terrorist army that murders innocent men, women, and children in cold blood. He claimed that the terrorist organization is Iran’s proxy that carried out an unprovoked, heinous attack against the Jewish state on a Jewish holy day [Simchat Torah]. Innocent civilians have been massacred and wounded, and many are still under attack.
“The State of Israel will take all measures necessary to eliminate this clear and immediate danger to our citizens. Israel will overcome in the face of all challenges.
I call upon the family of nations. This war waged against us marks a line in the sand. Now is the time to hear clear, unequivocal condemnation of Hamas, its allies, and its backers in Iran. Now is the time to stand firm with Israel in support of its just and moral battle in the face of an abhorrent enemy,” said the president.
Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid voiced his full support of the government war effort: “At times like these, there is no opposition or coalition in Israel. We will give full backing to the security forces for a harsh response against terrorism and its proxies,” said Lapid. “The whole world must stand with Israel as we defend ourselves from terror. We must mobilize the international community against [Palestinian] terror.”
Operation Swords of Iron
The IDF (Israel Defense Force) named the war against Hamas, “Operation Swords of Iron.”
At the end of the Sabbath day and Simchat Torah, the war continued with rockets, shootouts, and attempts to free hostages from terrorists who had infiltrated their homes. One terrorist threatened to set off a grenade that would kill the residents of their home.
Approximately 50 residents of Kibbutz Be’eri were taken hostage and held by terrorists in the Kibbutz cafeteria. Many hours later, they were freed by Israeli Special Forces, and the terrorists were killed.
Early this Sunday morning, Israeli Security forces regained control of the city of Sderot police station that was captured by terrorists early Saturday morning. Ten terrorists were killed. Among those killed by the terrorists were the city’s fire station chief and a firefighter. Danger remains, as more terrorists are still at large in the city.
In an Al Jazeera interview, A Hamas spokesman said that the attack on Israel is “absolutely a message” to Muslim countries seeking normalization with Israel. He urged them to absolve themselves of this “great shame.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan remarked,
“Today is Israel’s 9/11 moment. Life for us will never be the same after today’s vicious terror attacks by Hamas terrorists. 250 murdered Israelis is the equivalent of over 8,000 Americans. When we say never again, never again is now. May God bless the State of Israel.”
“Moses answered the people (Israelites) ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD (YEOVAH) will bring you today…the LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.'” Exodus 14:13-14 NIV