Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel on the morning of 7 October, crossing the Gaza-Israel border and entering several southern Israeli towns while launching rockets from Gaza, reports Reuters.
At the time of writing, at least 22 Israelis had been killed and over 500 injured. There are ongoing attacks in at least 21 places, and Palestinian media reported Israelis taken captive by Hamas.
The attacks have been described as “unprecedented” by several media outlets.
“We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“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.”
The Israeli Defense Forces announced a “large-scale operation to defend Israeli civilians.”
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, on his part, said that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves against “terrorism and occupation forces.”
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry warned of “grave consequences to the ongoing escalation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides” and called for “practicing maximum restraint and avoiding endangering civilians.”
The Ministry warned that increasing violence may affect future deescalation efforts.
Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry shared a phone call with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, to discuss deescalation efforts.
BBC reports that a “major investigation” is being launched to determine the reason for Israel’s intelligence failure in seeing the attack coming.
A Palestinian bulldozer has been filmed removing part of the border fence, according to Palestinian news outlet Almayadeen.
It is expected that Israel will retaliate against Gaza, possibly leading to intensifying conflict.