Saturday marked a sad chapter in Israel’s 75-year history, as the Islamist militant group Hamas launched a shocking and devastating surprise assault, targeting both civilians and soldiers.
The assault began early on Saturday, with Hamas unleashing a barrage of rockets into Israel, deploying militants across the borders through land, air, and sea, and even calling on civilians to join the confrontation against Israel.
The assailants continued their disruptive activities on Israeli territory. As of Sunday afternoon, the toll was staggering, with thousands wounded, at least 350 Israeli lives lost, and “dozens” of civilians and soldiers held hostage.
The attacks, some captured on camera, left a lasting impact. One disturbing footage showed the distressing abduction of an Israeli woman, who was forcibly placed on the back of a motorcycle and driven away, with her boyfriend also taken captive.
In another horrifying scene, the lifeless body of a German-Israeli woman, identified by her dreadlocks and tattoos, was paraded through Gaza as bystanders chanted “Allahu Akbar.” Shockingly, someone was seen spitting on her head as the car drove off.
In response to the relentless attacks, Israel initiated airstrikes, targeting Hamas militants. In Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry reported at least 313 Palestinians dead and over 1,900 wounded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confidently pledged that Israel would exact a formidable retribution for the onslaught.
The top IDF official overseeing operations in the Palestinian territories declared that Hamas had “unleashed unprecedented chaos.”
The specifics of Israel’s retaliation are yet to unfold. Still, hints from a military spokesperson indicate that Israel may contemplate full control of Gaza for the first time since its unilateral withdrawal in 2005.
Whether by deliberate planning or coincidental timing, Saturday’s assault unfolded 50 years and one day after another surprise incursion, known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War.
Despite investing billions in creating one of the world’s most formidable security apparatuses, Israel still grapples with infiltrations of military bases, towns, and kibbutzim, similar to the challenges faced during its 1948 War of Independence.