The Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a massive surprise land, sea, and air attack on Israel early Saturday morning, which included a bombardment of around 5,000 rockets. Hamas militants were reportedly seen driving around Israel firing on people, and the group claims to have taken Israeli soldiers hostage. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying the country was at war. The weekend bloodshed represents the most significant escalation between Israel and Hamas in years.
In a video accusing Israel of desecrating the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the head of Hamas’ military wing said “enough is enough” and called on all Palestinians to join the fight. The ensuing assault was larger and more complex than anything Israel has faced in recent history – and, according to Andrea Mitchell of NBC, it was more than Israel’s government was prepared for.
Israel’s security ministry declared a state of civil emergency, granting police increased arrest and search powers to “prevent riots in hundreds of hotspots throughout the country,” the ministry reported. It also declared a state of emergency in Israel’s prisons, ramping up security for locations that house inmates deemed threats to national security. Netanyahu issued a call-up for thousands of reservists to boost the armed forces. “The enemy will pay a price it has never known before,” he declared. So far, at least 40 Israelis have been killed and at least 740 have been hospitalized, according to the Israeli health ministry. The Gaza Health Ministry reports that 198 Palestinians have been killed and 1,610 injured along the strip as result of Israeli shelling and gunfire, though independent news agencies have yet to verify this number.
President Biden has been informed of the incident and is expected to address the nation later in the day.
~ This is a developing story, so stay tuned to Liberty Nation for updates.