Israel has declared a state of war after a surprise attack by Hamas militants from Gaza. The attack involved paragliders, boats, and motor vehicles, and has resulted in at least 150 deaths and over 1,100 injuries, according to Israeli authorities. In a video address to the nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the country is now "at war" and described the attack as a "murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens."
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued a statement urging the public in southern and central Israel to stay near protected areas and follow the instructions of the Home Front Command. Emergency sirens were activated across the region, and there are reports of civilians and Israeli soldiers being kidnapped. Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif called on Israeli Arabs and others within Israel to join the fight, referring to the attack as "Operation Al-Aqsa Storm" and claiming it was in response to Israeli actions.
In response to the attacks, the IDF launched Operation "Swords of Iron" and began bombing Hamas targets in Gaza. Ground forces were also mobilized near the region. The United States expressed its support for Israel, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stating that the US is prepared to assist Israel's response to the Hamas attack. The White House National Security Council condemned the attacks, emphasizing that there is "never any justification for terrorism."
This wave of coordinated attacks is the heaviest in years and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur war. It is expected to result in a significant Israeli response. It is worth noting that previous conflicts between Israel and Gaza militants have resulted in high civilian casualties, and the current retaliatory air strikes from Israel have already caused additional Palestinian deaths and injuries.
As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how both sides will escalate or de-escalate the conflict. The international community will be closely monitoring the developments and working towards a peaceful resolution to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved.