‘WE ARE AT WAR’: 300 Israelis murdered, dozens kidnapped, Hamas seizes control of Israeli towns, 3000 rockets fired

Gaza terrorists launch unprecedented attack on southern Israel, seizing multiple towns, while launching thousands of rockets.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

At least 300 Israelis were murdered and 1,600 more injured in a surprise terrorist attack Saturday.

Coinciding with the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret and the day after the 50th anniversary of the surprise attack which began the Yom Kippur War, Gaza terrorists launched a massive invasion of southern Israel, alongside a large-scale bombardment of southern and central Israel with rockets.

Hamas has dubbed the invasion and rocket barrages, “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.”

Starting at just before 6:45 a.m., terrorists in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip began firing volleys of rockets towards Israeli territory. By Saturday evening, Hamas claimed it had launched some 5,000 rockets.

At the same time, large numbers of terrorists infiltrated across the border from Gaza into southern Israel, overrunning IDF positions and seizing control of a number of Israeli border towns.

Video footage released to social media shows a bulldozer tearing a hole in the security barrier on the Israel-Gaza border, allowing hundreds of rioters and terrorists to cross into Israeli territory.

Other terrorists crossed the frontier by sea and by air – including a number of terrorists who used paragliders and ultra-light aircraft.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the unprecedented nature of Saturday’s attacks, saying Israel is now “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.”

“I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists. This currently is being carried out.”

“At the same time, I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price.”

“In the meantime, I call on the citizens of Israel to strictly adhere to the directives of the IDF and Home Front Command. We are at war and we will win it.”

Terrorists captured Kibbutz Be’eri, holding some 50 residents captive in the communal dining hall, while another terrorist cell infiltrated into the town of Ofakim, taking multiple residents hostage.

In the city of Sderot, a gun battle broke out near a local police station between terrorists and Israeli security personnel.

Major terrorist infiltrations were also reported in Kfar Aza, Sufa, Nahal Oz, Magen, and the Re’im army base.

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Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared an emergency situation across all areas within 80 kilometers of the Gaza frontier, covering much of southern and central Israel, granting the IDF expanded powers to combat the terrorist onslaught. On Saturday night, Gallant expanded the state of emergency to the entire country.

“Hamas has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel,” Gallant said. “IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location. I call on all of Israel’s citizens to follow security instructions. The State of Israel will win this war.”

The army is mobilizing reserve forces and has deployed large numbers of ground troops to the southern front to retake captured towns.

As part of what the IDF has dubbed Operation Iron Swords, Israel Air Force jets pounded dozens of terrorist positions across the Gaza Strip in response to Saturday’s attacks.

According to the Gaza health ministry, 198 Gazans were killed in the IDF retaliatory strikes and over 1,600 injured.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups claimed to have captured “a large number” of Israeli prisoners, both civilians and soldiers, whom they transferred to the Gaza Strip.

Unconfirmed reports circulating in Arabic media outlets claimed 52 Israelis have been abducted to the Gaza Strip.

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The IDF acknowledged that Hamas has taken a number of Israelis captive, but declined to specify the number.

“Hamas has kidnapped some and taken prisoners of war. A number of IDF soldiers have also been killed.”

Israel’s Education Ministry announced Saturday that school has been cancelled across the country Sunday.

The IDF’s Home Front Command has also placed limits on mass gatherings, with partial closures on communities south of Netanya and north of the central Negev, allowing only businesses with bomb shelters to operate.