On Saturday morning, the Hamas militant group launched a barrage of thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
Images circulating on social media depicted scenes of chaos and destruction in Israeli towns, with plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. The Israeli ambulance service confirmed one fatality and at least 15 individuals wounded, according to Sky News.
Mobile phone footage circulating on social media revealed Hamas fighters attempting to infiltrate Israel by sea using small boats, an unusual tactic in their arsenal. Moreover, a development unfolded as Palestinian fighters crossed the border into Israel using paragliders, eventually engaging in intense gun battles in the town of Sderot. Cameras captured their daring entry into the town aboard pickup trucks and motorbikes.
Air raid sirens blared across southern and central Israel, accompanied by reports of explosions in cities such as Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Yavne, and Kfar Aviv. Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue agency reported a critically injured 70-year-old woman due to a rocket strike on a southern Israeli building, along with a 20-year-old man moderately injured by rocket shrapnel.
In response to these attacks, the Israeli military launched counterstrikes against targets within the Gaza Strip. The military cited the infiltration of “a number of militants into Israeli territory” as the reason for ordering residents along the border to remain indoors.
Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, rushed to Tel Aviv for an urgent briefing, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security cabinet. In a stern warning, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declared that “the Hamas militant group will pay a very heavy price” for their actions.
Hamas, on the other hand, asserted that their operation had only just commenced and was a direct response to Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and around the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. The militant group went a step further by calling on armed groups in Lebanon to join the conflict. Senior Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif made a startling announcement on Hamas radio, claiming that a staggering 5,000 rockets had been launched, dubbing it “the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth.”