The Israeli government formally declared war and gave the green light to retaliate against Hamas for its surprise attack on Saturday. The toll passed 1,100 dead and thousands wounded on both sides, according to the latest information.
“The United States unequivocally condemns this appalling assault against Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza, and I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel. Terrorism is never justified. Israel has a right to defend itself and its people. The United States warns against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation. My Administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” President Biden said.
On October 7, 2023, Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas launched a large-scale invasion and offensive against Israel from the Gaza Strip, breaking through the Gaza–Israel barrier and forcing entry via the Gaza border crossings, into nearby Israeli settlements and military installations. Hamas called it Operation al-Aqsa Storm. It is the first direct conflict within Israel’s boundaries since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
Hostilities were initiated in the early morning with a rocket barrage against Israel and vehicle-transported incursions into Israeli territory, with several attacks on surrounding Israeli civilian communities and Israeli military bases. Some observers have referred to these events as the beginning of a third Palestinian intifada. For the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel formally declared war.
The Palestinian invasion represented a boiling point in the breakdown of relations between the strip and Israel. This followed months of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, including ones in Jenin and at Al-Aqsa mosque, that killed almost 250 Palestinians and 30 Israelis; Hamas cited these events in the justification for the offensive. Mohammed Deif, the commander of its military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, called on Palestinians and Arab Israelis to “expel the occupiers and demolish the walls”. In an emergency meeting in the West Bank shortly after the attacks began, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority expressed support for the Gazan infiltration, stating that Palestinians had the right to defend themselves against the Israeli occupation. In Israel, all major opposition parties have advocated for the formation of a national unity government to combat the Palestinian offensive.
At least 2,200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip as Hamas militants broke through the border and entered Israel, killing at least 700 Israelis and prompting Israel’s government to declare a state of emergency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel “is at war” in a national address following the beginning of the attacks. Palestinian militants who infiltrated Israel made their way into several kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip as well as the Israeli city of Sderot. The Palestinian Ministry of Health led by Hamas in Gaza reported Israel had killed at least 400 Palestinians in gunfights and by airstrikes, including civilians, 78 children, and 41 women; while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated it killed more than 400 terrorists.
Both Palestinian and Israeli media sources reported that Israeli soldiers and civilians, including children, had been taken hostage by Palestinian militants; several of these hostages have reportedly since been taken to the Gaza Strip. Numerous cases of violence and massacres against Israeli civilians have also been reported since the beginning of the Hamas offensive. Israel retaliated by shelling civilian targets in Gaza including a hospital and ambulance, killing almost 200.
A Hamas spokesman announced Iran supported the Palestinian offensive and claimed the attack came in response to attacks by Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Nations of the Western world as well as its allies condemned Hamas for the violence and described the tactics used as terrorism, while some Muslim countries blamed the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the denial of Palestinian self-determination as the root cause of the escalation. Others called for de-escalation