Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches major surprise attack, with at least 348 dead

They attacked by air Land and Sea taking Israel by surprise during a major Jewish holiday now 13 and a half hours after Hamas launched its audacious assault Israel says it’s at War and Palestinians already paying a heavy price air strikes raining down on Gaza and a warning that

Electricity supplies to the strip will be cut the attack began at Daybreak with thousands of rockets fired from Gaza hitting ashalon biva and as far as way as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem at the same time dozens of Hamas Fighters crossed the heavily fortified Border in at least seven places they infiltrated stero and

Other Southern towns and Villages gunning down civilians torching homes and taking hostages including in the ofakim and Berry kutes since then the Israeli Defense Force has been engaged in gun battles with Hamas in numerous locations and it’s been hitting back hard bombing Hamas targets high-rise buildings and health facilities in the

Densely populated Gaza Strip which is just 16 square miles and home to 2.3 million Palestinians Kira moodley reports on the day’s developments and just to warn you you may find some of the images distressing an astonishing new image that turns this decades old conflict around Palestinians are top a captured tank in

Gaza a coordin ated and unexpected attack a breach in Israel security that it appears they simply didn’t see coming Street battles inside Israeli towns a stunning failure for the state their retaliation only just beginning in Gaza the full consequences still unknown in the early hours they came by

Land sea and air all this footage from Hamas itself as it triumphantly declared the start of operation alaxa flood the flood began with a stream of rockets the militant group fired more than 2,000 from Gaza into Israel smoke bowed in cities such as rovet and ashalon on this Saturday of

Simchat Torah Israeli security taken off guard by this attack on a Jewish holiday at around 6:00 in the morning a rocket fell near the house and everything burned the house destroyed the windows the walls we heard a massive shock our child was startled I don’t know we live

In a reality that is not real we’ve decided enough is enough said hamas’s military commander as they broke through the Gaza fence this unprecedented attack was an apparent Israeli security failure akin to 50 years ago at the start of the Yum kapore War but that conflict was on land in Sinai

And Golan this was Terror and Death on Israelis doorsteps militants riding through the city of stot as Hamas began taking control in Israel’s South unprecedented large scale incursions onto Israeli territory one of the deadliest days in its 75e history with citizens told to remain inside through the slats of their blinds

They witnessed the unimaginable Israeli police fighting to get back inside their own station hours later the Prime Minister convened his security cabinet all eyes on a man leading the country’s most right-wing government who promised to put National Security First but who has instead focused on his political problems at

Home since this morning the state of Israel has been at War our first objective is to clear out enemy forces that infiltrated and restore the security and quiet to the communities that have been attacked the second objective is to exact an immense price from the enemy the Israeli Defense Forces soon

Launched operation iron swords targeting Hamas militants and with heavy air strikes on the Gaza Strip and they released a video showing their soldiers preparing for mobilization a military ation now on either side code words for allout war the number of Dead Rising throughout the Day some in Gaza were well aware of the Wrath heading their way and had already fled to shelters of course we are in fear we’re afraid of what they will do the Israelis might wipe us off the face of the Earth some did not flee but celebrated

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip 16 years ago a blockade by the Israeli government has been described as creating a prison on this small parcel of land Palestinians jubilantly paraded captured Israeli army vehicles machines which had earlier been manned by soldiers some having had their lifeless bodies dragged

Out elsewhere Hamas claimed to have taken a number of Israeli captives some civilian hostages others soldiers as prisoners of war in total enough for them they claim to swap for all the Palestinian prisoners currently in Israeli jails over in the occupied West Bank they chanted a bullet for a bullet and

Fire for fire we have [Applause] risen it was here in places like Janine where Israel’s military raided the refugee camp 3 months ago causing widespread r that many thought the tensions would boil over not in Gaza some did throw stones at Israeli soldiers small skirmishes but Hamas this

Evening said their operation may have started in Gaza but it will expand to the West Bank the militant group continues to release footage of their attacks they say they are still engaged in battles in 25 locations in Israel and the Israelis continue to Pummel the Gaza Strip with Netanyahu telling us

President Joe Biden that a forceful prolonged Campaign which Israel will win is necessary this is just the first 12 hours well earlier I spoke to Hamas spokesman gazi hammad and asked about his group’s attacks against Israeli citizens which have been described as unprovoked look uh I think we as a

Palestinians we are Fighters for freedom for dignity and for Prosperity so we are fighting for for the future of our people it is enough for us as a Palestinian to live under under occupation for 7 5 years and it is a time now for the inter International Community to understand that the source

Of all evils and pains and tragedy is occupation I think we need all the International Community to help us to end this occupation and to give the Palestinian to establish their estate so I think all the time we are paying a price so I not we Afraid from Israel now

They are now in Gaza they are killing they are destroying destroying buildings and towers and destroy the infrastructure electricity everything they you know have a situation where Palestinian gunmen are apparently roaming the streets killing civilians taking people hostage ordinary civilians hostage there’s no justification for that is

There look I think old people now looking that for the civilians of the the Israel civilians and they don’t take care about the Palestinian Civ now today today this until this evening we have about 2000 200 people were killed K in Gaza 99% of them are civilian children and

Women and in the last 10 years more than 10,000 people Palestinians were killed here in Gaza and most of them are civilians do you make a distinction between killing Israeli military figures and civilians do you make that distinction look we are we are by to the

Islam ethics and morons and we we were we were never uh thinking to to attack the civilians but I think it is open confrontation now I I think but I think have a strong commands in order to avoid the our our fight is with the soldier and settlers and against the occupation

This is our goal and this is our aim but you say you act within the laws you say you act within the laws of Islam but there’s nothing that justifies the killing of civilians which we’ve seen in the last 24 hours by Hamas and by Palestinian mil militants

Look I think as we are we are very we are very careful we are very very specific in this way as I told you we are doing very hard to avoid the civilians but I think as I told you it is an open War confrontation conflict it

Is not easy to do everything 100% but I as I told you we are abide to the ethics you say you’re being careful but there’s civilians being moan down at a bus stop being killed shot at at a bus stop that’s not careful is it you don’t take care about the the

Palestinian civilians in Gaza flank who are killed every day in the The W back and Jerusalem and Gaza no one take take care about the Palestinians no one take care every day that you know that since the beginning of this year about 233 Palestinians were killed in theb

It’s almost exactly half a century since the young people war is that timing significant symbolic to you I think it is now today that the world should understand very well that the International Community should understand they have to put for the occupation second listen that Israel

Should not that are not free to do everything against aist that as a Palestinians we have the power to stop this to make kind of deterant and to stop the crime for is finally are you prepared now for a very long War I think all the our life is suffering it is part

It is suffering and suffering and suffering so I think we prepare Al ourselves to fight against occupation but maybe this is I don’t know this round of Confrontation or conflict will last for some days I I don’t know it depends on the situation on the ground gazi hammed thank you very much for

Joining us well leftenant Colonel Richard heck is a spokesman for the Israeli Army I spoke to him earlier and asked what shape he expects this war to take so we have an unprecedented event Cathy that happened this morning where Hamas basically Unleashed a combined offensive on Israel with a

Massive Salvo of rockets and also a ground incursion Invasion to Israel so this is something which is unprecedented they came in not focusing on Military targets they moved into the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip targeting families grandmothers children a nature party that was happening near Gaza so we are planning

Our response but our first stage right now as we speak we’re still fighting our first stage is to restore Security in these 22 locations and then we’ll plan our future response towards Gaza and it is going to be severe well do you expect that severe response as you put it to

Include sending troops into Gaza our focus is now restoring in security there’s people now in Siege in these communities families children grandmothers uh and I can confirm that we have also had people abducted so just again the mindset of people coming through the fence capturing a grandmother take her taking her into the

Gaza Strip people from a party H so we have some hostages H we have some casualties and it’s been a very very severe and hard day Hamas said that they’ve got enough Israel captives as they put it to force you to free all Palestinian prisoners in in in your

Jails I mean is a prisoner exchange possible to liberate these hostages is that something you consider you have in the past we are not talking about that right now we are that’s St we talked about probably the future right now we’re focusing on a real war that’s

Going on right now in the South you talked about grandmothers being taken must gazen civilians Garen grandmothers and children now in reprisal endure a hail of missiles from Israel Kathy this is not the story if if Gaza was quiet uh we wouldn’t have gone or done what we’re doing we do not focus

Our ER attacks on you know people that are not involved uh on civilians we will be going after Hamas targets they’re responsible for this event hopefully the collateral damage will be minimal but we will respond severely but how can the collateral damage as you put it be minimal when Gaza is so congested

There’s so many people more than two million people living in a tiny space you can’t distinguish between civilians and Military targets there can you I think that’s not the story right now right now there’s Israelis the Israel is now under attack Israel they started if they didn’t start it it would have been

Quiet I mean just a few weeks ago uh there was more workers coming into Israel there was a great bathing season in Gaza this year things were getting better it’s a very simple equation they started they attacked Israel in a very severe way but do you regret that

Inevitably civilians in Gaza will now suffer terribly as a result sadly the Civ we’re not fighting against the civilians of Gaza and contrary to the Hamas who are fighting against any Israeli civilian they’ll kill any Jew they can uh contrary to that we will be focusing on targets and

If there’s uninvolved people killed that will be tragic but again we will respond severely to this horrible attack tragic but unavoidable yes thousands of rockets were were fired um from Gaza how was that possible and how many actually got through the Iron Dome missile defense system so approximately 3,000 uh Rockets

Have been fired into Israel it might be a bit less it might be a bit more and Iron Dome have been standing pretty well um there was there was one hit this morning in Ashkelon I’m sure there’s a few more I’m a old air defense guy you

Know there’s we always say it’s not there’s never an hermetic defense they’re always trying to saturate our defense systems H there was actually one hit in Tel Aviv but it wasn’t from a rocket it was from after an intercept it was some debris that fell down from the

Interception so again it’s it’s a challenging Dynamic too for our air defense uh community so did you ever think you’d live to see an attack of this nature on so many different fronts it’s a very challenging day a very severe day Kathy but we will overcome I trust the military go go on

I’m I’m hoping that by the end of this day we’ll have control back in all these communities and again it’s been a a very hard price but and then as the Prime Minister has made clear a a war a retaliatory war will follow how long do you anticipate that continuing for hard

To say as long as needed leftenant Colonel Richard heck thank you very much for joining us thank you Kathy well the unprecedented operation by Hamas comes at a time of turmoil in Israel its Hardline government under intense pressure from pro-democracy protesters there’s also growing despair among Palestinians in a year of rampant

Settlement expansion flare ups over a holy site in Jerusalem and 200 killed in Israeli raids in the West Bank the peace process is effectively over and many of their allies are normalizing relations with Israel Coro O’Brien looks at the backdrop to today’s events if War begets War it feels like

It’s spawning at an alarmingly bloody rate across the globe today’s attack on Israel though both a long time coming and in a form no one was expecting especially it would appear Israel itself so how did we get here yesterday the burial procession of a 19-year-old Palestinian on the West

Bank that as is often the case morphed into violent protest not counting today’s Bloodshed nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in fighting this year the highest death toll in almost two decades some 30 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks on Israel the suppression of Palestinians the violent backlash

Against Israel is the cauldron in which extremists on both sides stirred up the conditions that led to today the domestic players include hardliners who’ve occupied the Israeli government and a hollowed out Palestinian Authority then the regional actors likely involved in today’s attack I think the result of

What we’re seeing unfold in Israel is very much a coordinated uh attack by Hamas with the help of Iran and hasah I think I don’t have the intelligence to to to say that but my analysis is that this required months of planning and definite support

From either Iran or hisbah or both in a statement Hezbollah said it is in quote direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance and praised hamas’s attack as quote a decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel here’s what they’re referring to the blessing

Of a new Middle East between Israel Saudi Arabia and our other neighbors great prime minister Netanyahu hurding the possibility of normalized relations with Saudi Arabia at the UN recently something Iran and Hezbollah see as among other things a betrayal of the Palestinian cause so much of how the

Region responds will be down to to the ferocity of Israel’s reaction and is there a world in which this could be the start of a series of United coordinated attacks by Israel’s enemies the Iranians and the and hisbah are going to be very wary about opening another front that

Risks um seeing massive Israeli retaliation against what is in essence the back office for now for the Palestinians operating in in in Gaza proxies are always players in this part of the world but there is nothing proxy about the people who will suffer the most in whatever it is to

Come well joining me now to discuss all this further is our International editor Lindsay Hilson Lindsay the words unprecedented have been used from both sides um is that the case this is unparalleled for various reasons or can you draw comparisons with previous conflicts well I think if you compare it with for example

2021 there was a 10day battle if you can call it that or clash between Hamas and the Israelis in those days the Hamas fired 4,300 Rockets already more than 3,000 have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel in one day so I think that shows you that this Hamas attack is

On a much a greater scale than we’ve seen before and this level of coordination by Hamas that the way they’ve they’ve managed to get in to infiltrate they’ve taken 54 hostages this is unprecedented and some of those hostages have been taken back to Gaza now you know in the past you had gilad

Shalit one soldier who was taken hostage and that took years for the Israelis to negotiate his release and now if we’re talking about we don’t know how many are in in Gaza so that again is unprecedented and also the way this has taken Israel by surprise what was going

On there are some reports that um prime minister Netanyahu had put too many soldiers up towards the West Bank where there have been a lot of problems recently and taken the eye off the ball in the South but that is also unprecedented something so big which the

Israelis just didn’t see coming and you talk about the hostages being taken back to Gaza might that affect the Israeli response do you think well definitely what Hamas is saying is that the hostages are being held in their tunnels in other facilities now obviously the Israelis do know where some Hamas

Facilities are and they want to bomb those facilities but if those facilities have got Israeli um civilians or soldiers and obviously that makes difference which is why the hostages were taken in the first place as well as in order to try and swap them for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

But from what we’ve seen already we’ve seen that the Israelis are mercilessly bombing Gaza and you know this is desperate already 200 Palestinian um civilian Ians and citizens killed and 150 Israelis this again is a much higher death toll on the Israeli side than we’ve seen before so briefly what now

Well I think that two countries have the possibility of negotiating that’s Qatar and turkey the Hamas do talk to those countries but there is no direct line between Hamas and Israel and the Palestinian leadership is sclerotic it’s weak it has no legitimacy there are no peace talks it’s very hard to see how

This comes to an end quickly and how such a mediation could take place in the next few days Lindsay thanks very much for joining us with that analysis well Gaza has been under bombardment all day leaving its residents fearful about what the night ahead will bring this was the

Scene just a short while ago as more air strikes Light Up the Sky targets have included high-rise buildings housing families as well as offices used by Hamas one one strike came as I spoke to Gaza based activist and journalist nor swery just shortly before we came on air

And asked her to describe the situation right now in her neighborhood so the situation is very terrifying in fact now because it’s almost 12 hour since the attack or whatever its name H started this early morning at 6 and 25 a.m. so it was U like a surprisedly happening uh

And we were completely shock I assume you haven’t tried to go out in that situation but are you hearing constant missile strikes for sure yes I didn’t try because I have kids so I have to keep them safe ER at some points I feel a panicked that all is all of this is

Happening there and uh everyone here in Gaza is waiting for his Destiny maybe if he will stay alive or not Israelis say you know this was an unprovoked attack I know Hamas says there has been plenty of provocation but do you fear now that ordinary gazans are going to pay the

Price for potentially Hamas overreaching themselves well in fact it’s not about Hamas itself it’s about the also the Israeli side that I believe this is a kind of reaction about what has been happening in in the last 10 years maybe not only in in the last year or in the

Most recent time Rance or Sor it’s okay was that a was that a missile strike yes yes okay I can so we can’t hear it here describe what just happened to us if you can so it’s a kind of moming not sure if it’s from our side or the or the Israeli

Sign effect but I believe from The Sound it’s an Israeli air strike for some uh place maybe or a building or whatever we will wait for the news to know where yeah because you were very all the way through this interview you’ve been very calm and you know very

Composed and when you paused there I could see the the terror in your face yeah it’s aying a terrifying situation not only for me it’s for any human being yeah to be under uh Under Fire and to to watch his Destiny by himself or herself yeah to wait for

Maybe to die or not to die this is the situation here for the Gins in fact yeah we have a daily life in in before this day but we know at some point and suddenly we’ll face the death again because some of the the the both sides

Of the conflict will do something to to broke again your court you’ve described very well how your Court um but do you find it in your heart to sympathize with the Israeli civilians who are you know have been captured kidnapped they’re terrified they’ve lost their relatives their friends do you feel solidarity

With them indeed it’s not about empathy or solidarity it’s about the humanity in fact yeah so we we are all human beings and at the end of the of the day we are all human beings but ER the the engagement with the civilians H should be H respected with these rules and uh

And this is what should be happened norw thank you very much for joining us and thank you



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