GAZA, PALESTINE – A massive rocket attack from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, claimed by the Hamas group, resulted in the death of at least 100 Israelis on Saturday. The assault was announced by Mohammad Deif, a high-ranking military official of Hamas, who urged Palestinians to join the fight against Israel, terming it as the “greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth.”
Deif claimed that 5,000 rockets were launched in the operation. Reports from Israeli media indicate that the attack was widespread, resulting in significant casualties. In retaliation, Israeli air strikes have reportedly killed 198 Palestinians, according to health officials in Gaza. Hospitals are currently treating 561 injured individuals, with 77 in critical condition.
In the wake of the attack, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared a state of war. He addressed the nation in a video message early Saturday, stating, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war — not in an operation, not in rounds — at war.” Emergency medical teams were dispatched to the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip as sirens echoed across the country.
Hospitals in southern Israel are overwhelmed with the influx of wounded individuals. Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva is treating 140 patients, including 20 in serious and critical condition. Another medical facility in Ashkelon is caring for 94 victims in varying conditions.
The Israeli military reported that terrorists had infiltrated Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, urging residents in the surrounding areas to stay indoors. The military vowed to defend Israeli civilians and promised that Hamas would pay a heavy price for its actions.
The U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, condemned the attacks, labeling them as unprovoked and unjustifiable. European leaders also expressed their condemnation of the Hamas attack and voiced their support for Israel.
The Israeli Defense Forces have been seen striking multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. In response to the escalating situation, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, declared a “special security situation” within an 80 km radius from the Gaza Strip to ensure the safety of civilians.