Hamas unleashes about 2,500 rockets on Israel in surprise attack

Palestinian Hamas Movement launched a surprise attack on Israel early Saturday, plunging the region into a heightened state of conflict.

The military wing of Hamas unleashed a barrage of approximately 2,500 rockets at Israel, and its forces also penetrated Israeli towns.

Hamas released images claiming to have seized an Israeli military base and captured several Israeli soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly responded to the unfolding situation, declaring that Israel was in a state of war.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war, not in an operation or in (fighting) rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours. I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists,” Netanyahu said.

“This is currently being carried out. At the same time, I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price. In the meantime, I call on the citizens of Israel to strictly adhere to the directives of the army and Home Front Command. We are at war and we will win it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that the Hamas attacks have resulted in the loss of 100 Israeli lives, with more than 900 people injured.

Additionally, Hamas fighters claim to have captured dozens of Israeli soldiers and civilians.

“We saw that our forces were already outside, my friend left from above, I couldn’t move. I guess I have something in my back, from the stress, because I sat for two and a half hours on a slope without moving, my legs were folded so no it’s a bit hard for me to stand up and walk… and then she left and was immediately taken by a car, and then I left from the other side and soldiers took us to the buses. There’s no one like the IDF (Israel Defence Forces),” said Esther Borochov, an Israeli woman, who was wounded in the attack.

In response to the attack, the Israeli forces conducted airstrikes on parts of the Gaza Strip identified as sources of rocket fire directed at Israel.

According to reports, nearly 200 people have been killed, and 1,610 others have sustained injuries in the strikes.

International responses to the situation have varied.

Qatar has placed the blame on Israel for the violence, while Turkey and Saudi Arabia have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities by both sides.

“As Turkey, in light of the events that have occurred in Israel this morning, we call on all sides to act with restraint, to stay away from impulsive moves that will heighten the tension further,” said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Many European leaders posted on social media expressing support for Israel and condemning what some – including British, French, Spanish and German ministers – described as “terrorist attacks” by Hamas.