‘We are at war,’ Israeli PM says after Hamas launches surprise attack

Thomson Reuters — The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday in a surprise assault that combined gunmen crossing into several Israeli towns with a heavy barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.


As warning sirens wailed across southern and central Israel, including in Jerusalem, Israel’s military said it was on a war footing and the defence minister said the Iran-backed Hamas had made a “grave mistake” by declaring war on Israel.

“We are at war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address, declaring a mass mobilization of the country’s army reserves. “Not an ‘operation,’ not a ’round,’ but at war.”

The Israeli military said it had launched airstrikes into Gaza, where witnesses reported hearing heavy explosions.

At least 40 Israelis were killed in the incursion and about 740 others were wounded, Israel’s N12 News reported.

People inspect the damage in the aftermath of a rocket barrage launched from Gaza, in Ashkelon, Israel, on Saturday. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported injuries among “many citizens” without giving numbers.



The attack marked an unprecedented infiltration by an unknown number of Hamas gunmen into Israel from Gaza, and one of the most serious escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years. Israeli media reported gun battles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in towns in southern Israel.

In Gaza, people rushed to buy supplies in anticipation of days of conflict ahead. Some evacuated their homes and headed for shelters.

Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif announced the start of the operation in a broadcast on Hamas media, calling on Palestinians everywhere to fight.

“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth,” he said, adding that 5,000 rockets had been launched.



‘Fighting the enemy at every location’

The last major flareup between Israel and Hamas was a 10-day war in 2021.

Speaking to Israel N12 News by phone from a Nir Oz, a kibbutz near Gaza, a woman identified as Dorin said militants had infiltrated her house and tried to open the bomb shelter where she was hiding.



“They just came in again, please send help,” she said. “There are a lot of homes harmed … My husband is holding the door closed … They are firing rounds of bullets.”

Israeli Defence Minister Gallant said Hamas had “launched a war against the State of Israel.” Israeli “troops are fighting against the enemy at every location,” he said.

The Israeli military said its forces were operating inside Gaza but gave no details.

“A number of terrorists have infiltrated into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip,” the military said in a statement, adding that residents in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip had been told to stay in their homes.

Israeli media reported that gunmen had opened fire on passersby in the town of Sderot, in southern Israel, and footage circulating on social media appeared to show clashes in city streets as well as gunmen in jeeps roaming the countryside.

“We were told there are terrorists inside the kibbutz, we can hear gunfire,” a young woman named Dvir, from Beeri Kibbutz, told Israeli Army Radio from her bomb shelter.

Palestinians gather around an Israeli army vehicle that Palestinian fighters reportedly drove from Israel into Gaza, in Shejaiya, Gaza Strip, on Saturday. (Fatima Shbair/The Associated Press)

Hamas media displayed videos of what it said was bodies of Israeli soldiers brought into Gaza by fighters, and Palestinian gunmen inside Israeli homes and touring an Israeli town in jeeps reportedly been driven into Israel by the attackers.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the footage.

Palestinian media also reported that a number of Israelis had been taken captive by fighters and Hamas media circulated video footage apparently showing a destroyed Israeli tank.

The Israeli military was aware of reports of captives, a security source said, but provided no further details. In a briefing with reporters, an Israeli military spokesman declined to comment.

Calling up army reserves

Netanyahu’s office said he would meet top security officials in the coming hours and Gallant authorized the callup of reservists.

The acting U.S. ambassador to Israel, Stephanie Hallett, condemned the “indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians” and said the U.S. supports “Israel’s right to defend itself from such terrorist acts.”

The president of the European Commission, also said Israel has a right to defend itself “against such heinous attacks.”





Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. I don’t know much about this war, but I live long enough to know that this war has been going on for much too long. And if we keep doing the same thing, we will never have an end to this.
    When will the nations of the world demand that this war be ended and both parties sit around the table and negotiate a settlement for the good of the generations to come?

  2. @From The Sideline .
    The Israelis (Jews) have an unshakeable belief that the land we call Palestine with the land of Israel itself was given to them by God. Search the Old Testament for confirmation on this. After the end of the second World War and all the horrors the Jews suffered at the hand of the Nazis, the Jews decided they should have a homeland of their own and chose to make Israel their home. Herein lies the root of the conflict. The Arabs lived in those lands from time immemorial and claim Palestine as their own. Briefly, the Arab/Jewish war ensued (1947) with the Jews being the victors. There have been many conflicts ever since between both sides but this is by far the most serious one. The Israelis, in my opinion, have been ruthless and less than generous towards the Palestinians except in one instance when a former Israeli prime minister made a generous (under the circumstances) offer to them which their then leader, Yasser Arafat, turned down. He messed up. Follow this link for a more detailed observation.
    http://www.cfr.org> israel-palestine…

    • @oversee
      As I mention I’m far in age and know what is written and I have Jewish friends. And I chose to never bring up politics with them. Actually let me give you a story, the night Israel was going into Lebanon I think it was 1982 after the PLO had many attacks on it m, I sat in my hotel lounge watching it on tv. And other guest there were Jewish and Lebanese businessmen. I thought this it, some fight is going to breakout here. But to my great surprise it was a very calm and friendly night and we d as lol drank, est and cheers each other in good business. I said to myself it’s only when these people return to their country they get so fanatic towards one another. You have Jewish people, Syrian, Palestinian s as no Lebanese living in Antigua, and they are all friends.
      That is why I say no more WAR. War doesn’t solve a thing. History has taught us that. Therefore it is about time we the rest of the nations in the world stand up and demand these two nations sit around the table and let us work things out.

  3. @From The Sideline.
    ‘No more War’, a fine sentiment, if only! Here are two sides each firmly entrenched in the belief that right is on their side. As I mentioned before, Israel fervently believes its claim to Palestinian land is written in stone in the Bible. On the other hand Palestinian Arabs and all other Arabs as well think the opposite. You have heard it said ‘When an irresistible force meets an immoveable object, something’s got to give’. We are here. Hamas was born out of the injustices meted out to the Palestinian Arabs, their lands being constantly confiscated by Israel to create Jewish settlements; that is not conjecture, it is a plain fact played out daily for all to see. There has been little public condemnation of Israel for these unlawful acts particularly little or none from Israel’s main backer, the USA. In no way should the hostage-taking and bombings carried out by Hamas on Israel be acceptable, neither should Israel be regarded as an innocent actor in this human tragedy. For Palestinians, frustration has turned to desperation leading to the horror just unleashed. This is to be condemned but Israel has been deaf to the cries of those people who have been shoved off the lands without a care. There is a lot of blame on both sides and wishing for no more war, though noble, is but a distant dream. Let’s also not forget this: Sabra and Shatila Massacre: Four Decades of Unforgotten …

Comments are closed.