At least 100 Israelis dead amid Hamas rocket attacks and terrorist infiltration

Battles continue against terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Firefighters tackle burning cars set aflame by a Gazan rocket in Beersheva, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Dudu Greenspan/Flash90.

This is a developing story.

(JNS) — Hamas killed at least 100Israelis on Saturday as it launched a massive offensive from the Gaza Strip, including firing more than 2,500 rockets and sending dozens of Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate the Jewish state.

As of 3 p.m., there were reports of active combat between Israeli security forces and Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

There were also reports of a hostage situation in Ofakim, located some 12 miles from the Gaza border.

At least 780 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.

Scores of the wounded were in serious condition, including at least 80 at Soroka, where there were also 10 victims in critical condition.

People were asked to donate blood across Israel, especially those with type O universal donor blood.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

“Since this morning, the State of Israel has been at war. Our first objective is to clear out the hostile forces that infiltrated our territory and restore the security and quiet to the communities that have been attacked,” said Netanyahu at the start of the meeting.

“The second objective, at the same time, is to exact an immense price from the enemy, within the Gaza Strip as well. The third objective is to reinforce other fronts so that nobody should mistakenly join this war.

“We are at war. In war, one needs to be level-headed. I call on all citizens of Israel to unite in order to achieve our highest goal—victory in the war,” added the premier.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes the Security Cabinet at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

In response, the Israel Air Force launched “Operation Swords of Iron,” initially striking 17 Hamas “military” compounds and four operational headquarters in Gaza.

The IDF was ordered to a “state of war readiness” and Defense Minister Yoav 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.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog denounced the “cold-blooded” killings of Israelis and called on the international community to act.

“Today we saw the true face of Hamas. A terrorist army whose only goal is the cold-blooded murder of innocent men, women, and children,” said Herzog.

“Supported and directed by their proxy commanders in Iran, they carried out an unprovoked, heinous attack against the Jewish state on a Jewish holy day [of Sukkot]. Innocent civilians were massacred and wounded, and many are still under attack.

“The State of Israel will take all measures necessary to eliminate this clear and immediate danger to our citizens. Israel will overcome in the face of all challenges. I call upon the family of nations–this war waged against us marks a line in the sand. Now is the time to hear clear, unequivocal condemnation of Hamas, its allies, and its backers in Iran. Now is the time to stand firm with Israel in support of its just and moral battle in the face of an abhorrent enemy,” added the president.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Saturday gave full support to the government to strike hard at Hamas.

“At times like these, there is no opposition or coalition in Israel. We will give full backing to the security forces for a harsh response against terrorism and its proxies,” said Lapid.

“The whole world must stand with Israel as we defend ourselves from terror,” said Lapid. “We must mobilize the international community against [Palestinian] terror.”

The United States condemned Hamas’s multi-pronged offensive.

“Sickened by the images coming out of southern Israel of dead and wounded civilians at the hands of terrorists from Gaza. The United States stands with Israel,” said acting U.S. Ambassador in Jerusalem Stephanie Hallett.

“I condemn the indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. I am in contact with Israeli officials, and fully support Israel’s right to defend itself from such terrorist acts,” she said.

Netanyahu was expected to speak with U.S. President Joe Biden later in the afternoon.

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