Israel declares war after Hamas surprise attacks kill more than 700 Israelis, 2,300 wounded


October 7, 2023

Israel declared a "state of war" after a stunning attack from Hamas from the land, sea, and air.



Hamas stunned Israel on Saturday with the most damaging surprise attack on land, sea, and air that Israel has faced in decades, some citing the 1973 and 1948 wars.

The terror group successfully invaded around 22 Gaza corridor communities, of varying sizes, by cutting through the IDF’s supposedly enhanced border fence, amphibious landings with naval commandos at Zikim, and makeshift small air transport and drone-type vehicles simultaneously starting around 6:30 a.m.

The Gaza rulers also let loose a barrage of more than 2,000 rockets throughout the day, in what amounted to a complete breakdown of the IDF’s intelligence. Rocket fire from Gaza continued throughout the evening Saturday night, including in central Israel. Several direct hits left Israelis in critical condition or dead.



Within hours of the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, what was already painfully evident, that the country was at war.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war,” he said before entering a hastily called cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv. Earlier, the IDF had announced that the campaign was called Operation Swords of Iron.

“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,” Netanyahu said.

“I call on the citizens of Israel to strictly adhere to the directives of the IDF and Home Front Command. We are at war and we will win it,” he said.

After the initial attacks, Netanyahu said, “I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists.

He also said he had “ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we will return fire at a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”

Netanyahu reconvened the security cabinet on Saturday night.

As of press time, more than 250 Israelis have been killed, and more than 1,500 wounded. An unknown number have been kidnapped to Gaza and are still being held hostage. The wounded and dead resulted from all attacks: the invasion, the rockets, and from a surprise attack on various youth events in open areas. This was the largest number of Israeli casualties, especially civilians, in decades.












Late Saturday night, the IDF had rallied to take the fight to Hamas’s invaders in all of the 22 communities in Operation Swords of Iron, with Ofakim and Beeri said to be central areas of fighting, including larger ongoing hostage situations.

An IDF source estimated that full Israeli control of all of the invaded areas might be restored within hours, and would not take days.

The IDF has also undertaken an unknown number of counter-airstrikes, but more importantly, has moved 31 brigades into the area and is mobilizing four full reserve divisions to the area – in one of the largest reservist mobilizations in decades. About 80,000 reservists were called up during the 2014 Gaza War.



Late Saturday night, the IDF said that it had thwarted hundreds of Hamas terrorists from a second attempted invasion, as well stopping as a mix of earlier Hamas attackers who had already entered Israeli territory Saturday morning.

Hamas invasion attempts were thwarted at the Karni Crossing, the Erez Crossing, Kibbutz Nir Oz, and Kibbutz Nirim, among others.

Despite Netanyahu’s statement that Israel is at war, it was still unclear what level of ground operation the security cabinet would order – from a full takeover of Gaza, to a temporary takeover to hand over to another authority, to a more limited ground war, as has occurred over the last decade.

At press time, Hezbollah had not joined the conflict. IDF Chief Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said that Israel had delivered clear and threatening messages to the Lebanese terror group about the consequences it would face if it did enter the fray.

Ofir Lipstein, head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, was killed in an exchange of fire with terrorists as he defended his settlement of Kfar Aza during the attack. He leaves behind four children, Walla reported. Serving his position since 2018, he reportedly stepped out with his weapon to fight the terrorists who infiltrated his community. 

A second Israeli, a woman in her 60s, was killed when a rocket hit her building in the Gederot Regional Council.

Sirens sounded multiple times in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and southern Israel. Shelters were opened across the country.

A direct hit was reported on a building in Ashkelon. Dozens of vehicles also caught fire in the city. Many parts of Ashkelon and the surrounding area were without electricity. Later, there were direct hits in Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam. At least two young people under the age of 30 were in serous condition.

In Ramle, four civilians who were trapped under a damaged building were rescued by the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority.

“We urge residents to stay in protected areas, avoid approaching the scenes, and refrain from touching rocket remnants that may contain explosives or similar hazards,” Israel Police said.

“The public is urged to follow the instructions of the Home Front Command to stay close to protected areas, and residents of the Gaza periphery are requested to stay indoors,” the army requested. 



“The Hamas [terrorist organization] has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, following a situation assessment, as the IDF struck back with multiple forces.

Dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft of the IDF targeted 17 military facilities and four operational headquarters of the Hamas terrorist organization throughout the Gaza Strip, the IDF said.

“We have combat management over the Gaza Division, including support from combat helicopters; we have control there,” the IDF added. “We are conducting blockades with the Israel Police in all regions. There are airstrikes on several targets, such as tunnels, launchers, and fighter jets striking the border. Hundreds of such strikes have been carried out - resulting in many casualties, including numerous terrorists.

“The main effort is to eliminate all terrorists on the border and anyone attempting to return to the Gaza Strip. We first engage with aerial fire, followed by heavy ground assets,” the army said.

Gallant approved the draft of reserve soldiers per the IDF’s requirements. He also announced a “special security situation” in Israel’s Homefront, within a 0-80 km radius of the Gaza Strip. This status enables the IDF to provide civilians with safety instructions at close relevant sites.

“IDF is targeting all Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said. “Wherever there are Hamas operatives, they will be targeted, they have no immunity.”

Gallant added: “The State of Israel will win this war.”


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