Following an unexpected surge in violence, Israel formally declared war on Hamas, marking the deadliest weekend in decades for the nation. As the Israeli military confronts Hamas on its own soil, concerns rise over the apparent intelligence oversight that allowed the assault.
by Fatima Abass
In a drastic turn of events, Israel has officially announced a state of war against Hamas, signaling the onset of a significant military campaign in Gaza. This declaration emerges in response to the continued violent conflict on Israeli territories.
Sunday revealed a significant military mobilization near the Israel-Gaza boundary following an intense surprise attack by Hamas—an Islamist extremist faction—over the weekend. The assault led to the death of over 700 Israeli citizens, marking it as one of the deadliest encounters in Israel’s recent history.
This surge in violence didn’t happen overnight. Over the past months, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have escalated, pushing their enduring conflict into a dangerous phase.
The sudden and coordinated attack by Hamas left many questioning the Israeli intelligence and military’s preparedness, as it seems they were taken completely by surprise.
Hamas has publicly stated that they are detaining more than 100 Israeli captives, including senior military officers. Concurrently, they continued their rocket assaults on Israel throughout the weekend. Another Palestinian militant faction, the Islamic Jihad, declared that they too are holding a minimum of 30 hostages in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with determination, announcing that Israel would exact “mighty vengeance” and is bracing for a prolonged conflict. He issued a stern warning to Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate immediately.
In retaliation, Israel has launched numerous airstrikes in Gaza, resulting in over 400 Palestinian fatalities, including 78 children, and injuring 2,300 others.
In addition to the airstrikes, Israeli forces have engaged in direct combat with Hamas militants on the ground. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) disclosed that they targeted over 400 sites in Gaza, including high-rise buildings believed to be in use by Hamas.
Netanyahu indicated that the initial phase of their retaliation, which involved neutralizing a majority of the intruding enemy forces, has concluded. The subsequent phase would see Israel adopting an offensive strategy, including restricting vital supplies to Gaza. Hamas, in retaliation, warned Israel, hinting at the hostages in their possession.
The IDF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, emphasized the severity of the situation, mentioning the civilians among the hostages. The scale of infiltration by the Palestinian militants is unparalleled, reminding many of the town-by-town combat during Israel’s 1948 war of independence.
The unprecedented assault on Saturday coincided with the 50th anniversary of the 1973 War, where Israel was ambushed by Arab states on Yom Kippur, the Jewish calendar’s most sacred day.
The extensive rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and the significant penetration into Israeli territories have alarmed many, especially given the stringent security measures in place around Gaza.
In the past two years, confrontations between Israel and Palestinian factions have intensified. Various factors, including frequent Israeli military interventions in Palestinian areas and the recent internal political upheavals in Israel, have contributed to the escalating tensions.
Internationally, the Hamas assault has drawn widespread condemnation. US President Joe Biden asserted his strong disapproval of the attack, while Arab nations, even those that recognize Israel, are appealing for restraint.
Amidst the chaos, heart-wrenching stories emerge of families torn apart by the violence. Israelis are fervently sharing images of loved ones believed to be abducted by Hamas militants. Numerous hostages were reportedly taken during an assault on an Israeli music festival near the Gaza border.
Israel Police is urging families to report missing members and provide necessary identification details to aid the ongoing investigations.
(Associated Medias | FAD) – All rights reserved