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  4. Israel mobilises reserve forces on large scale amid state of emergency after Hamas strike

Israel mobilises reserve forces on large scale amid state of emergency after Hamas strike

Several Israeli military personnel have been deployed to the area surrounding Gaza to fight against Hamas members. The IDF has launched operation ‘Iron Swords’ in response to Hamas’s surprise attack.

Reported By : Manish Prasad Edited By : Aveek Banerjee
Jerusalem
Updated on: October 07, 2023 18:25 IST
Israeli forces in Ashkelon as Hamas launched a devastating
Image Source : AP Israeli forces in Ashkelon as Hamas launched a devastating rocket attack.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas following an unprecedented rocket strike and infiltration by the Palestine-based group, the military's Chief of Staff has announced a large-scale mobilisation of reserve forces.

Many Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) personnel, including special units, have been deployed to the area surrounding Gaza and are fighting in different centres to protect the residents of the south. Dozens of Air Force fighter jets have also attacked targets of the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has declared a state of national emergency as the military launched operation ‘Iron Swords’ in response to Hamas’s surprise attack – by air, land and sea – comprising a barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and infiltration into its heavily fortified border in the southern area that caught the country off-guard.

There are at least seven sites where Israeli troops were battling the infiltrators, IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters. At least 22 people have been confirmed killed by the Israeli rescue service, including the head of the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council Ofir Liebstein, along with 250 wounded in southern and central Israel this morning, as Palestinian militants entered Israel from Gaza.

"There are many hundreds who are hospitalised right now across Israel. The Israeli blood bank is asking for blood donations, and a special situation has been called all across the country. School has been cancelled tomorrow, five or five and a half million Israelis are either in shelters or very close to shelters," said former IDF spokesperson Lt Col (Res.) Avital Leibovich to ANI.

Netanyahu declares war on Hamas

In his first public statement since the escalation of hostilities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the nation is "at war" and will extract an unprecedented price from its enemy.

"We are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours," Netanyahu said in a televised address.

Videos of Hamas fighters parading what appeared to be stolen Israeli military vehicles through the streets and at least one dead Israeli soldier within Gaza being dragged and trampled by an angry crowd of Palestinians shouting “God is Great" surfaced on social media.

In a high-level meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves against the "terror of settlers and occupation troops". He directed officials "to provide protection for the Palestinian people and provide all that is necessary to bolster the resilience and steadfastness of the Palestinian people in facing the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation and settler gangs"

There are also unconfirmed reports of people being taken hostage and kidnapping of soldiers, including Israel commander Nimrod Aloni.

International community reacts to conflict

The response of the international community has remained polarised - Western countries condemned the attack against Israel and Saudi Arabia called for de-escalation of hostilities, while Iran supported the Hamas attack on Israel.

“We stand firmly with the Government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks. The US unequivocally condemns the unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilians. There is never any justification for terrorism,” said Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

 

“The kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the situation exploding as a result of the continued occupation, the Palestinian people being deprived of their legitimate rights and the repetition of system provocations against” them by Israel, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The US Embassy is closely monitoring the security situation as a result of rockets fired from Gaza across southern and central Israel. US citizens are reminded to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness," said the US office on Palestinian Affairs.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was deeply shocked with the terrorist attacks in Israel and offered prayers for innocent victims and their families. "Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour," he tweeted.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS news agency that Moscow is in contact with Israel, Palestine, and Arab countries and called on all parties involved in the conflict to cease fire. "This is a relapse of a 75-year-old conflict. Moscow is in contact with all parties, including the Arab states. We call for an immediate ceasefire and peace," he said.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Ukraine's foreign ministry also condemned the attacks and expressed solidarity with Israel. 

Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah congratulated Hamas  for the operation, saying it had “divine backing and pledges final and comprehensive victory.” 

The rocket strike came after weeks of heightened tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza, and heavy fighting in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In 2023, over 200 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank so far, while retaliatory attacks have claimed the lives of 30 Israeli people.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | India issues advisory for its citizens as Israel declares war on Hamas after rocket attack

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