Israel sustained heavy losses and declared war after Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented large-scale attack on October 7.
The Hamas Movement led the attack with participation from the Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Lions’ Den and other factions.
At the beginning of the operation, codenamed “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” Hamas and its allies fired thousands of rockets and suicide drones from the Gaza Strip into southern and central Israel.
Simultaneously, around 1,000 Palestinian fighters infiltrated Israel from Gaza using trucks, pickup trucks, motorcycles, bulldozers, speedboats and paragliders. The fighters stormed a number of military posts, then clashed with Israeli troops and security forces in Sderot, Re’im and other settlements. In addition, they launched an amphibious landing in Zikim.
A few hours after the start of the attack, Israeli media reported that seven settlements came under Palestinian control, including Nahal Oz, Kfar Azza, Magen and Sufa Beheri. The police station of Sderot was reported to have come under Palestinian control as well as the Erez crossing.
In an initial response, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched “Operation Swords of Iron” and began massive strikes against Gaza.
On October 8, clashes between the IDF and Palestinian fighters continued in Kfar Azza, Magen, Sofa, Holit, Yeted, Ofakim, Sderot, Yad Mordechai, Be’eri, and Kissufim.
Israel struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip, including civilian housing blocks, tunnels, the Al-Amin Muhammad Mosque, the homes of Hamas officials and the Watan Tower, which served as a hub for internet providers in the area.
Israeli officials said that more than 800 civilians and service members were killed in the Palestinian attack. The Health Ministry said that at least 2,400 were wounded.
The Israeli Government Press Office also confirmed that at least 100 Israelis had been captured by Palestinian armed factions. A total of 750 are said to be still missing since the start of the surprise attack.
On the other side, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said that 370 Palestinians have been killed and 2,200 others have been wounded.
The battle between the IDF and Palestinian factions could go on for weeks or even months. Once Gaza borders are cleared, the Israeli military will likely attempt to invade the strip.
The Defense Minister of Israel declared that he had ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything should be closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly,” he said.
While countries like Egypt are attempting to de-escalate, the United States appears to be pushing for war. Washington has already promised Israel military aid and is set to deploy warships, including an aircraft carrier, near Israeli waters to show its support for the war.
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