More than 545 Israelis were being treated at hospitals; Hamas said it abducted soldiers and civilians and took them back into Gaza.
(JNS) — Hamas killed at least 22 Israelis on Saturday morning as the terrorist organization fired 2,500 rockets at the country’s South and Center and dispatched dozens of terrorists into communities located along the Gaza border.
At least 545 Israelis were evacuated to hospitals across the country, the Health Ministry said, including many at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
At least 70 of the wounded were in serious condition. People were asked to donate blood, especially those with Type O universal donor blood.
A man works to extinguish a fire ignited by a Gazan rocket strike in Ashkelon. Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
As of 11:30 a.m., Hamas terrorists were in full control of at least three Israeli communities.
There were unconfirmed reports of massacres in several places.
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said there were 21 “active scenes” across southern Israel.
There were reports of terrorists penetrating the country’s borders by air using hang-gliders and others doing so by sea.
Ofir Liebstein, the head of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, was killed during an exchange of fire with terrorists in Kibbutz Kfar Aza.
Hamas said it had abducted soldiers and civilians and taken them back into the Gaza Strip.
The rocket fire began a few minutes before 7 a.m., a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary (on the Gregorian calendar) of the surprise Egyptian and Syrian attack that started the Yom Kippur War.
Rocket alert sirens were activated as far south as Arad and Dimona, in Tel Aviv in the central region and in Jerusalem in the mountains.
A Hamas rocket fired from the Gaza Strip strikes a building in Tel Aviv, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Gidon Markovich\TPS
In response, the IDF engaged the invading terrorists and dozens of fighter jets carried out air strikes on Hamas assets in Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a security meeting at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv attended by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other high-ranking officials.
The Israel Defense Forces was ordered to a “state of war readiness” and Gallant authorized the call-up of reserve troops.
He also announced a “special security situation” within 80 kilometers of the Gaza Strip, enabling the IDF to close relevant sites and impose safety restrictions on the population.
The IDF later announced the launch of an operation named “Iron Swords.”
“The Hamas [terrorist organization] has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location,” said Gallant.
“I call on all of Israel’s citizens to follow security instructions. The State of Israel will win this war,” he added.
The high-level Security Cabinet was set to meet at 1 p.m.