Israel ‘at war’ after Hamas-led terror assault kills more than 700

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists launched a highly sophisticated and coordinated assault on Israel that has led to hundreds of Israelis and foreigners killed, thousands wounded, and an unknown number of hostages. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gave the go-ahead more than a week ago for the attack, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The terror strike involved rocket fires and drones, and hundreds, if not thousands, of assault teams broke through the Gaza security fence at multiple locations and raided dozens of villages, cities, police stations and military bases. The ground attack teams were complemented by paragliders.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were taken by surprise and overwhelmed as the Palestinian terror units fanned out and killed or captured Israelis and foreigners in their homes, on the roadways, and at a music festival. Several Israeli military bases and police stations were overrun. Nearly 48 hours after the initial strike, the Israeli Defense Forces continue to battle Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other allied terror groups for control of a handful of villages. The terror groups continue to launch rockets against Israeli cities and towns in the south.

Israel has suffered its highest single day death toll since the founding of the state. The Israeli press is reporting that at least 700 Israelis and foreigners, including 44 members of the Israeli Defense Forces, have been killed and at least 2,200 more have been wounded.

In addition to those killed and wounded, hundreds of people are currently unaccounted for. The Palestinian terrorists, in addition to wantonly slaughtering Israelis, captured hundreds of civilians, including women, children, and the elderly, and brought them back over the border to hold them hostage in Gaza. Many are being held in covert tunnels beneath Gaza. Palestinian Islamic Jihad alone claims it is holding 30 Israeli hostages

In one particularly brazen attack, an estimated 50 terrorists dressed in military units arrived at the Nova music festival and opened fire on the concert goers. At least 260 people, including Westerners, were killed, and an unknown number have been taken hostage. Among the missing reportedly include seven American citizens. At least four Americans are reported to be among those killed. The U.S. is deploying a carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based, Iranian-backed terror group, weighed in on the fighting and launched multiple rockets into northern Israel. The IDF responded with artillery fire.

The IDF has begun its response to the naked aggression of the Hamas-backed terror groups. The Israeli Air Force has begun targeting members of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terror organizations in a series of airstrikes on command centers, weapons depots, staging locations and other high value sites. Additionally, the IDF has begun evacuating Israeli towns and villages along the border with Gaza, likely in preparation for future offensive operations.

The fighting is expected to be long and bloody as Israel is determined to root out the terrorists responsible for the deadly assault. “We are at war,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, using rhetoric never used by an Israeli leader since Israel took control of Gaza and the West Bank in the Yom Kippur War that ended fifty years ago.

Joe Truzman is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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