Full Special Report: Israel declares war after surprise Hamas attack | NBC News



I THINK THIS IS GOING TO I THINK THIS IS GOING TO ESCALATE INTO MORE SIGNIFICANT CONFLICT NEXT SEVERAL HOURS AND NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED AS RAF WAS SAYING, WE’VE SEEP ATTACKS FROM GAZA INTO ISRAEL BUT NOT THIS SCALE WHERE YOU’RE HAVING DOZENS OF MILITANTS FLYING IN ON HANG

GLIDERS AND COMING IN BY THE SEA AND CROSSING IN BY LAND, PRESUMABLY BY TUNNELS OR HOLES IN THE BORDER. THE FACT THEY ARE STILL ENGAGED IN RUNNING BATTLES IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL IS SOMETHING THAT WILL BE SHOCKING TO THE WAS ISRAELI PEOPLE. I KNOW THAT SEVERAL OF THE

AIRPORTS AND TRANSIT POINTS INTO ISRAEL ARE ALREADY FACING DELAYS OR CANCELLATIONS, THE COUNTRY IS ON ALERT, ISRAEL SAID THAT IT IS NOW ON WAR FOOTING. WE’VE HEARD FROM HAMAS, THEY HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THIS OPERATION, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME VIDEOS THAT HAVE COME OUT AS WELL SHOWING GUNMEN DRESSED IN BLACK, PREPARING FOR THIS

COMMANDO STYLE RAID, AND THEY STAY THAT IT IS RETALIATION FOR ISRAELI ACTIONS IN JERUSALEM FOR ISRAELI ACTIONS AROUND THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE COMPOUND. THIS IS AN OLD TENSION WHERE THERE’S BUILDUP OF TENSION, AND THE PALESTINIANS WILL LAUNCH AN ATTACK TO PUNISH THE ISRAELIS FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE FOR EXCESSES AND ATROCITIES BUT WE

HAVEN’T SEEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS, THIS LEVEL OF SOPHISTICATION AND TO CATCH THE ISRAELIS OFF GUARD AND THEN TO KEEP THIS OPERATION MOVING FOR HOURS NOW, THIS BEGAN AT DAWN, IT IS ALREADY AFTERNOON IN ISRAEL. THIS HAS BEEN BEGINNING ON MULTIPLE HOURS NOW I THINK IT’S LIKELY WE’LL SEE AN ESCALATION,

SMALL SCALE WAR, MAYBE BIGGER SCALE WAR BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISRAEL. >> RICHARD, TALK TO US ABOUT THAT SURPRISE FACTOR. ISRAELIS HAVE SOME OF THE BEST MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ANYWHERE. HOW DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN? >> WELL, THEY DON’T HAVE A LOT OF VISIBILITY INSIDE GAZA. NOW, GAZA, ITSELF, THEY HAVE LOTS OF INTELLIGENCE, BUT

CLEARLY WASN’T AS GOOD, BUT GAZA IS A PLACE THAT IS RUN BY THE PALESTINIANS, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT AN AREA THAT IS MORE OR LESS CLOSED OFF, OFTEN COMPARED TO THE BIGGEST PRISON IN THE WORLD, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT JUST OVER 2 MILLION PEOPLE THAT LIVE THERE. GAZA CITY BEING THE BIGGEST

POPULATION CENTER, VERY DENSELY POPULATED. AND THE ISRAELIS HAVE INFORMANTS, THEY HAVE INTELLIGENCE, BUT THEY DON’T LIVE THERE. THEY DON’T PATROL THERE. NO ISRAELI SETTLERS THERE. THIS IS AN AREA THAT IS BLOCKED OFF, THAT IS RUN BY HAMAS, AND THE ISRAELIS WOULD PREFER TO FORGET ABOUT THE PLACE AND NOT

HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT BUT WHAT HAPPENED IS HAMAS IS IN CHARGE, HAMAS IS VERY MILITANT, VERY ORGANIZED, THEY’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THE LEADER FOR YEARS, HE’S THE ONE WHO PERSONALLY ANNOUNCED THIS OPERATION. SO THIS, FROM HAMAS’S POINT OF VIEW IS AN ENORMOUS COUP TO CARRY OUT A SOPHISTICATED

SURPRISE ATTACK LIKE THIS. ISRAELI OFFICIALS SAID HAMAS MADE A HUGE MISTAKE BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO BRING AN ENORMOUS APPRISAL. >> WE WANT TO GO BACK TO RAF SANCHEZ IN THE SOUTH OF ISRAEL. WHAT ARE YOU SEEING AND HEARING RIGHT NOW? >> Reporter: THERE IS SO MUCH ACTIVITY AROUND US, A CONVOY OF

ISRAELI SPECIAL FORCES JUST DROVE PAST SIRENS ON HEADING SOUTH AND THE FACT IS, AS RICHARD WAS SAYING, THIS ATTACK BEGAN HOURS AGO, IT IS NOW 1:10 IN THE AFTERNOON, THE FACT THAT WE ARE STILL SEEING ISRAELI REENFORCEMENTS FLOODING TO THE SOUTH SHOWS YOU THE ISRAELI MILITARY DOES NOT YET HAVE A

GRIP ON THIS SITUATION. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE ARE USED TO SEEING, IT IS NORMALLY THE ISRAELIS WHO ARE CONFIDENT, WHO ARE IN CONTROL, BUT THEY SEEM TO HAVE BEEN CAUGHT COMPLETELY OFF GUARD HERE. CAUGHT OFF GUARD IN A WAY THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN ISRAEL SURPRISED IN EXACTLY 50 YEARS.

YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO OCTOBER 1973, THE YOM KIPPUR WAR WHEN ISRAEL WAS SURPRISED BY AN EGYPTIAN MILITARY ASSAULT, A WAR IN THE FIRST DAYS PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE THE END OF ISRAEL. I WASN’T HERE IN 1973 BUT YOU ARE HEARING THOSE COMPARISONS ON

THE ISRAELI RADIO AND THERE IS JUST A STATE OF SHOCK IN THIS COUNTRY THEY COULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT SO OFF GUARD. SOMETHING ELSE WE’VE BEEN SEEING ON THE ROAD, THE TRUCK HAS MOVED AWAY NOW, BUT WE JUST SAW A TRUCK CARRYING A BATTERY OF IS ISRAELI MISSILE INTERCEPTORS, IT’S HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED

ISRAELI AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM DEVELOPED WITH SUPPORT FROM THE UNITED STATES, IT IS THE BACKBONE OF ISRAEL’S DEFENSES, IT IS WHAT ISRAEL RELIES ON TO PROTECT ITS CIVILIANS FROM THIS ROCKET FIRE, FROM GAZA, BUT WHATEVER HAPPENED IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THIS MORNING, THE IRON DOME WAS NOT ABLE TO STOP THIS

BARRAGE, THE ISRAELI MILITARY SAYS IT WAS MORE THAN 2,000 ROCKETS FIRED, AND JOE, WE HAVE JUST SEEN PLUMES OF SMOKE ALL ACROSS SOUTHERN ISRAEL, WHERE THESE ROCKETS LANDED, ON HOMES, ON WAREHOUSES, AND THERE IS JUST A SENSE OF DISBELIEF AT WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, GUYS. >> RAF, DO YOU HAVE A SENSE

OF — WAS THERE A FAILURE? OF THE DEFENSE SYSTEM, OF THE IRON DOME, OR WAS IT THAT THEY WERE JUST GETTING HIT IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS, AT ALL AT ONCE, YOU JUST CAN’T PREPARE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT? >> Reporter: IT’S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION, LAURA, WE ASKED THE ISRAELI MILITARY EARLIER, WAS

THIS AN INTELLIGENCE FAILURE? HOW IS IT ON ALMOST TO THE DAY THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1973 WAR THAT ISRAEL COULD BE SURPRISED AGAIN, AND ON SUCH A SCALE? AND I WILL TELL YOU, THE ISRAELI MILITARY SPOKESMAN SAID IT’S A GOOD QUESTION, HE’S DECLINED TO ANSWER IT BUT HE SAID THAT THERE

IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF TIME TO ASK VERY HARD, VERY PROBING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED HERE BUT RIGHT NOW THEIR PRIORITY IS THIS LIVE FIRE FIGHT GOING ON IN CITIES TO THE SOUTH OF ME, AND POTENTIALLY A MASSIVE HOSTAGE RESCUE OPERATION, BOTH INSIDE OF ISRAELI CITIES BUT

POTENTIALLY INSIDE OF GAZA AS WELL. GUYS. >> RAF, THIS IS AN AREA THAT’S FAMILIAR WITH CONFLICT. HELP US UNDERSTAND, PUT INTO CONTEXT, HOW THAT FITS INTO THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF CONFLICT IN THE REGION. >> Reporter: YEAH, SO WE HAVE SEEN ROUNDS OF FIGHTING BETWEEN HAMAS MILITANTS IN GAZA, AND THE

ISRAELI MILITARY, ALMOST ON A YEARLY BASIS, GOING BACK TO SORT OF 2008, 2009. MAJOR WAR IN 2014. THERE WAS ANOTHER MAJOR WAR IN MAY 2021, NOT ON THE SAME SCALE. WHAT IS HAPPENING TODAY IS JUST A DIFFERENT ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, NORMALLY THE FIGHTING IN THESE SITUATIONS TAKES PLACE INSIDE OF

GAZA, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE ROCKET FIRE ON ISRAELI CITIES, WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IS THE FIGHTING IS ON THE ISRAELI SIDE OF THE BORDER, AND THAT IS NOT SOMETHING WE HAVE EVER SEEN ON THIS SCALE BEFORE, JUST TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE MORE HISTORICAL CONTEXT DURING THAT

WAR IN 2014 ONE ISRAELI SOLDIER — EXCUSE ME, GOING BACK INTO THE EARLY 2000s, ONE ISRAELI SOLDIER WAS CAPTURED BY HAMAS MILITANTS, HE WAS TAKEN INSIDE OF GAZA, HE WAS HELD FOR YEARS THERE, AND ISRAEL UNABLE TO RESCUE HIM BY FORCE WAS ULTIMATELY FORCED TO RELEASE MORE THAN A THOUSAND PALESTINIAN

MILITANTS TO SECURE HIM AND THAT GIVES YOU A SENSE OF THE VALUE ISRAEL PLACES ON THE LIVES OF ITS PEOPLE. IT IS PART TO OVERSTATE WHAT A CRISIS IT IS IF THERE ARE MULTIPLE, DOZENS, POTENTIALLY, OF ISRAELI CIVILIANS BEING HELD INSIDE GA SGA AS A, AND IT IS HA

TO OVERSTATE THE URGENCY WITH WHICH ISRAEL FEELS IT WILL NEED TO RESPOND TO A CRISIS ON THIS SCALE. >> RAF, STAY SAFE. WE’RE GOING TO COME BACK TO YOU REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THE MORNING. WE WANT TO TURN TO OUR CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT ANDREA MITCHELL JOINING US BY PHONE. ANDREA, GOOD MORNING TO YOU.

I IMAGINE THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD WAKE UP TO ON A SATURDAY MORNING. TALK TO US ABOUT THE LARGER HISTORICAL CONTEXT, WE HEARD FROM RAF. IT’S THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THAT OTHER AWFUL SURPRISE ATTACK BACK IN 1973. SET THE SCENE FOR US, IF YOU WILL.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, RAF IS EXACTLY RIGHT, THIS IS SO UNPRECEDENTED, WE’VE HAD SIMILAR MISSIONS BEFORE AND OUTBREAKS. I WAS THERE IN 2021. BUT THERE WAS ALWAYS A TRIGGER. SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED. AND THEN IT WAS THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE, A HOLY SITE TO THE PALESTINIANS AND ALL ARABS IN

FACT WHERE THERE HAD BEEN A TRIGGER IN EACH OF THESE INSTANCES, IN THE FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD — IN THE WEST BANK. BUT GAZA IS DIFFERENT. GAZA HAS ALWAYS BEEN, AS RICHARD AND RAF WERE SAYING, A PLACE — A NO MAN’S LAND, REALLY, FOR ISRAELIS AND THERE HAVE BEEN

INCIDENTS BEFORE, THE U.S. IN THE PAST, SECRETARIES OF STATE, HILLARY CLINTON IN 2009, YOU KNOW, INTERVENED, WENT THERE, NEGOTIATED A SOLUTION, BUT IT WAS SMALL SCALE. SMALL SCALE, THOUGH, WAS ALWAYS MAJOR TO ISRAELIS. ISRAELIS TAKE THIS SO, SO SERIOUSLY, AND THIS IS BEYOND ANYTHING THAT WE’VE EVER SEEN

BEFORE. AND IT IS ON THE 50th AND IT IS ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE I DON’T MEANY WAR. PEOPLE WERE HOLDING CONFERENCES HERE, I WAS IN NEW YORK ON THURSDAY AT THE COUNSEL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS WITH THE FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER AND OTHER OFFICIALS FROM BOTH COUNTRIES, AND SOME OF MY

JOURNALIST COLLEAGUES. IT WAS ALWAYS AN ACADEMIC EXERCISE ON THE ANNIVERSARIES OF THE YOM KIPPUR WAR, NEVER ANYTHING LIKE THIS. AGAIN, THERE WAS A LOT OF TENSION GROWING IN THE WEST BANK, AND ELSEWHERE, IN THE COUNTRY. BECAUSE OF GROWING FRICTION BETWEEN THE PALESTINIANS AND THE ISRAELIS BECAUSE OF THE MOST RIGHT WING COALITION,

NETANYAHU’S COALITION POSSIBLY TAKING MORE LAND BECAUSE OF THE SETTLEMENT CONFLICTS. BUT THAT WAS IN THE WEST BANK. GAZA HAS BEEN SOMETHING THAT ISRAEL HAS RICHARD ENGEL WAS SAYING WOULD PREFER TO IGNORE, BECAUSE IT IS UNGOVERNABLE, AND IT’S ALWAYS BEEN A TRAGEDY FROM THE PALESTINIAN PERSPECTIVE AND THE DIVISION BETWEEN HAMAS,

WHICH RUNS GAZA, WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE MOST RADICAL OF THE PALESTINIANS, THE OTHER PIECE OF THIS IS THAT THERE HAS BEEN REALLY NO PALESTINIAN STRONG LEADERSHIP FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, NO NEGOTIATIONS, REALLY, BETWEEN THE ISRAELIS SINCE 2014, AND THEY HAVE BEEN, YOU KNOW, TENTATIVELY TALKING, INTENSIVE NEGOTIATIONS, ACTUALLY, WHICH

HAVEN’T REACHED ANYTHING OTHER THAN A FRAMEWORK FOR A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF RESOLUTION OF THE ISRAELI, ARAB SITUATION BETWEEN THE SAUDIS AND ISRAEL RECOGNITION BY SAUDI ARABIA, AND ISRAEL, WHICH PEOPLE IN ISRAEL HAVE BEEN SAYING, AND SOME IN THE NETANYAHU COALITION, NETANYAHU HIMSELF THEY’VE BEEN SAYING WOULD BE THE END OF

FRICTION IN THIS REGION, SOMETHING THAT HARD RIGHT MEMBERS OF THE COALITION HAVE OPPOSED. BUT THAT’S THE KIND OF THING THAT’S BEEN DISCUSSED, THAT THE U.N., WHEN WE WERE THERE A FEW WEEKS AGO, NOTHING, NOTHING HAS BEEN CONTEMPLATED LIKE THIS. THE SURPRISE ASPECT OF THIS IS ALSO SHOCKING, YOU’VE BEEN

TALKING ABOUT THE IRON DOME. THE IRON DOME HAS BEEN, YOU KNOW, VIRTUALLY IMPENETRABLE. THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ONE OR TWO STRAY ROCKETS BUT NOTHING ON THE SCALE OF THIS. AND AS RAF WAS SAYING, BACK WHEN ONE ISRAELI SOLDIER WAS HELD FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, A THOUSAND PALESTINIANS WERE TURNED OVER

WHEN NEGOTIATIONS TO TRY TO GET THEM OUT FAILED, THEY NEVER FORGET, THEY NEVER LEAVE ANYONE BEHIND. AND HERE, WHEN YOU HAVE POTENTIALLY SOLDIERS AS WELL AS CIVILIANS, AND ALL ISRAELIS SERVE IN THE MILITARY, ALL EXCEPT THE MOST RELIGIOUS GROUP OF ISRAELIS HAVE REQUIRED MILITARY SERVICE, MEN AND WOMEN, FOR DECADES.

WELL, THE ENTIRE COUNTRY WILL BE, YOU KNOW, COMPLETELY — THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WILL DIVIDE ISRAELIS, THERE WILL BE AN INVESTIGATION HOW THEY FAILED TO SEE IT COMING AND THERE WILL BE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS FROM THIS. BUT THIS COMES AFTER A PERIOD OF A FULL YEAR OF FULL, YOU KNOW,

ANGRY DIVISIONS INVOLVING THE MILITARY, FORMER INTELLIGENCE, PROTESTS AGAINST THE NETANYAHU GOVERNMENT, THE COALITION GOVERNMENT, THAT WAS OVER JUDICIAL REFORM, THAT WAS OVER DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES. DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES. NOTHING LIKE THIS. COULD HAPPEN WITHOUT UNITING THE ISRAELI CITIZENRY. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? ASPECTS WILL COME MUCH LATER. THIS IS AS NETANYAHU SAYS, WAR,

THERE’S NO REAL PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP IN GAZA, NO COMMUNICATION WITH ANY OF THEM IN ORDER TO HAVE NEGOTIATIONS TO TRY TO RESOLVE THIS. SO IT WILL HAVE TO BE RESOLVED, AND THE AMERICANS WILL HAVE TO GET INTO IT. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL ARE GOING TO

HAVE TO ADDRESS IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE THEY CANNOT — AMERICA’S CLOSEST ALLY, AND DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST OVERWHELMED, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES IS SO CRITICAL. >> ALL RIGHT, ANDREA MITCHELL THANK YOU FOR JOINING US EARLY THIS MORNING. WE REALLY DO APPRECIATE IT. WE WANT TO GO BACK TO RAF

SANCHEZ ONE MORE TIME AND CHECK IN WITH HIM. DO WE HAVE AN IDEA WHAT THE OBJECTIVE IS HERE? IS IT TERROR, IS IT TO GET TERRITORY? ARE WE HEARING ANYTHING ABOUT WHY THIS IS HAPPENING AND WHY IT’S HAPPENING NOW? >> Reporter: YEAH, SO WE HAVE HEARD AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM

ONE HAMAS CALLS ITS MILITARY WING EARLIER, AND THEY SAY THAT THIS IS RETALIATION FOR THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF THE WEST BANK IN EAST JERUSALEM. THEY SAY THAT THIS IS RETALIATION FOR WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING AT THE AL-AQSA MOSQUE IN GE RUSE THEM, THE THIRD HOLIEST SITE IN ISLAM.

THE TEMPLE MOUNT TO JEWS, THE HOLIEST SITE IN JUDAISM, ONE OF THE MOST COMBUSTIBLE, INCENDIARY SPOTS IN THIS ENTIRE GEOPOLITICAL REGION, AND THEY SAY THIS IS AN ACT OF REVENGE FOR WHAT THEY SEE AS DECADES, AND DECADES OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND MISTREATMENT OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE. NOW, TO THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT,

TO THE ISRAELI PEOPLE, THIS IS VERY CLEARLY AN ACT OF TERRORISM THAT THESE ARE ARMED HAMAS GUNMEN GOING INTO CIVILIAN AREAS FIRING ROCKETS AT CITIES, AND AT TOWNS ALL ACROSS SOUTHERN ISRAEL, AND THEY SAY THEY WILL TREAT THIS AS TERRORISM, JUST TO GIVE YOU A SENSE OF THE ACTIVITY

HERE YOU HAVE BEHIND ME THESE ARE ISRAELI BORDER POLICE, THEY ARE MANNING THIS CHECK POINT, THEY ARE MAKING SURE THAT NONE OF THEEFZSE GUNMEN ARE ABLE TO H IN CARS AND HEAD BACK FURTHER INTO ISRAEL. OVER THIS WAY YOU CAN SEE THERE ARE AT LEAST FIVE AMBULANCES BEHIND ME, AND GUYS, EVERY

COUPLE OF MINUTES MORE AND MORE ISRAELI REENFORCEMENTS ARE SPEEDING TO THE SOUTH, THROUGH THIS CHECK POINT, HEADING DOWN TOWARDS GAZA. JUST A MOMENT AGO WE SAW AN ISRAELI ARMORED VEHICLE MOUNTING THE SIDEWALK HERE, DRIVING AROUND THE POLICE CAR, AND ABSOLUTELY FLYING TO THE SOUTH. YOU CAN SEE THESE ARE MEMBERS OF

THE ISRAELI BORDER POLICE JUST WALKING PAST ME NOW. THIS IS AN ALL HANDS ON DECK SITUATION, THE ISRAELI MILITARY IS CALLING UP THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF RESERVISTS AS THEY TRY FIRST OF ALL, AS THEY ABSOLUTE TOP PRIORITY TO CLEAR THESE HAMAS MILITANTS OUT OF THESE SOUTHERN CITIES AND THEN

BEGIN TO STRIKE BACK INSIDE OF GAZA. GUYS? >> RAF, WE’RE GOING TO COME BACK TO YOU SOON, STAY SAFE OUT THERE. OUR THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM. WE WILL HAVE MUCH MORE COMING UP THIS MORNING ON “SATURDAY TODAY” AND THROUGHOUT THE DAY ON THE NETWORKS OF NBC, AND NBCNEWS.COM.

>> FOR NOW WE’RE GOING TO RETURN TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING. PROGRAMMING. HAVE A GOOD MORNING.

source

x

Leave a Comment