Hamas launches major rocket strike against Israel

October 7, 2023 by AAP
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The elusive leader of the military wing of Hamas says the armed group has launched a new military operation against Israel.

Israeli firefighters extinguish fire after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a parking lot in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

In a rare public statement, Mohammed Deif said 5,000 rockets had been fired into Israel early on Saturday to begin Operation Al-Aqsa Storm.

Israel also reported an infiltration from Gaza.

“We’ve decided to say enough is enough,” Deif said as he urged all Palestinians to confront Israel.

Deif, who has survived multiple Israeli assassination attempts, does not make public appearances.

His message was delivered in a recording.

The Israeli military said it was striking targets in the Gaza Strip as air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem.

The sounds of at least three explosions could be heard as Israel deployed anti-rocket defences.

The attack on Jerusalem is considered a major escalation by Israel.

The Israeli military said “a number of terrorists have infiltrated into Israeli territory”.

The latest rocket launches follow weeks of heightened tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza.

It gave no further details, but amateur videos posted on social media showed what appeared to be uniformed gunmen inside the Israeli border town of Sderot.

The sound of gunfire could be heard in the videos, whose authenticity could not immediately be verified.

The sound of outgoing rockets whooshing through the air could be heard in Gaza on Saturday and sirens wailed as far away as Tel Aviv, some 70km to the north, during an early morning barrage that lasted more than 30 minutes.

Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue agency said a 70-year-old woman was critically injured when a rocket hit a building in southern Israel.

Elsewhere, a 20-year-old man was moderately injured by rocket shrapnel, it said.

As the rocket attacks continued throughout southern and central Israel, millions of Israelis were instructed to stay near bomb shelters in their homes and apartment buildings.

The army said residents next to Gaza should stay in their homes due to the “security incident”.

Palestinian media in Gaza reported a possible attempt by militants to infiltrate Israel, but no further details were immediately known.

The launches came after weeks of heightened tensions along Israel’s volatile border with Gaza, and heavy fighting in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel has maintained a blockade over Gaza since Hamas, an Islamic militant group that opposes Israel, seized control of the territory in 2007.

The bitter enemies have fought four wars since then.

Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets have killed more than 30 people so far this year.

There have also been numerous rounds of smaller fighting between Israel and Hamas and other smaller militant groups based in Gaza.

The blockade, which restricts the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, has devastated the territory’s economy.

Israel says the blockade is needed to keep militant groups from building up their arsenals.

The Palestinians say the closure amounts to collective punishment.

The rocket fire comes during a period of heavy fighting in the West Bank, where almost 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military raids this year.

Israel says the raids are aimed at militants, but stone-throwing protesters and people uninvolved in the violence have also been killed.

Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets have killed more than 30 people.

The tensions have also spread to Gaza, where Hamas-linked activists held violent demonstrations along the Israeli border in recent weeks.

Report by Josef Federman in Jerusalem/AAP

 

From TPS:

Air raid sirens sounded throughout much of Israel today as missiles were fired into the centre of the country, including at Jerusalem, from the Gaza Strip.

One Israeli, a woman in her 60s, has been reported killed.

Sirens went off in the Jerusalem area at 8:15 am and 8:55 am local time, followed by the sound of explosions as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense intercepted incoming missiles.

As missiles were being fired, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also reported possible infiltrations of terrorists into the country from the Gaza Strip.

The IDF has issued a statement noting that the chief of staff was performing a situational assessment Saturday morning, and has authorized the initiation of IDF operations. Additionally, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has authorized the call-up of reserve soldiers, as required by the IDF.

The Defense Minister’s media representative has advised that an expanded situation assessment began at 09:30.

The Security Cabinet will convene at 13:00 today (Saturday, 7 October 2023), at the Kirya in Tel Aviv.

An expanded situation assessment began at 09:30.

Further report from TPS:

Barrages of rockets slammed into southern and central Israel today, killing one resident, while at least 16 others received medical treatment.

Officials report that a 62-year-old woman residing in the central Gederot Regional Council has been killed by a falling missile.

Additionally, air raid sirens were activated in Jerusalem at 8:15 AM and again at 8:55 am, as residents sought shelter from incoming missiles.

Explosions from Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system were heard in the Jerusalem area as Hamas missiles were intercepted.

“The IDF declares a state of readiness for war,” the army said in a statement. “There has been widespread rocket fire into Israeli territory from Gaza, and terrorists have infiltrated Israeli territory through various entry points. Residents in the south and center of the country are required to be in close proximity to protected areas, and those in the Gaza periphery should remain within a secure space.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that the Security Cabinet will meet at 1 pm, after an earlier situational assessment was held Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

“Hamas is the ruling entity in the Gaza Strip, responsible for this attack, and will bear the consequences and responsibility for the events,” the IDF said.

Initial reports say Arab missiles have struck cities and communities, including Tel Aviv, where local media said there was a direct hit on a home. Other cities where rockets fell included Rishon Lezion, Holon and Bat Yam. Sirens were also sounded in the West Bank, including Efrat.

Local media has reported that a building was struck by missiles in the city of Ashkelon. Dozens of vehicles also caught fire in the city.

In Ramla, Israel Fire and Rescue personnel rescued four civilians trapped under a damaged building. Six buildings and another 10 vehicles were damaged in the area

In Australia, Zionism Victoria said it laments that as the Jewish world marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, the State of Israel is once again facing an unprovoked deadly attack on a major Jewish festival.

On a day when citizens would ordinarily be praying in synagogues marking Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah – the seventh day of Sukkot and the conclusion of the reading of the Torah – they are instead forced to seek refuge in shelters as thousands of rockets rain down from Gaza, or barricade themselves in their houses as armed terrorists rampage through the streets firing indiscriminately and trying to take hostages.

President of Zionism Victoria Yossi Goldfarb said, “We are shocked and saddened by the reports from Israel today and we pray that this latest assault on the sovereign state and its citizens is brought to a speedy conclusion with a minimum number of casualties and fatalities on both sides.

“The terrorist groups in Gaza that perpetrate these attacks and the terrorist regime of Hamas that allows them to take place unchecked must be universally condemned. Likewise, Israel’s right to defend both its borders and its citizens against this unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression must be recognised and upheld by the international community.”

Mr Goldfarb added, “That this attack occurs on a major Jewish festival and on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War is surely no coincidence. Similarly, that it has been launched amid reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia are edging ever closer to normalisation.

“This is not just an attempt to terrorise and murder innocent Israelis. It is also an attempt to derail the peace process between these two countries.

Stressing that “A peaceful solution to the conflict with the Palestinians can only come about through negotiation and compromise, not through bullets, bombs and bloodshed”, he concluded, “Over the next two days, Jews in Melbourne will be in synagogues marking Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Celebrations, however, will be overshadowed by concern for events in Israel and, in particular, family and friends who live there.

“Just as we hope and pray for those in Israel, so too we pray for the safety of our own community here in Australia. We know only too well from experience that when hostilities erupt on that side of the globe, there is a spike in antisemitic incidents on these shores as well.”

Reports  AAP/TPS/GPO/J-Wire

 

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Comments

One Response to “Hamas launches major rocket strike against Israel”
  1. Danny Kidron says:

    Hamas is doing exactly what it is supposed to do: Fight it’s enemy to the best of its ability with total war. Israel, on the other hand, holds back in fear of being criticised and condemned by the “international community”.
    If the Gazans had Israel’s attack capabilities and Israel had Gaza’s defence capabilities, there would be no Israel. Why is there a Gaza???

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