Israeli media reported that tens of Israeli settlers and soldiers were apprehended and driven into the Gaza Strip, and another 50 are being held captive by resistance fighters in the Gaza envelope.
“The number of those kidnapped to Gaza has reached tens, including both civilians and soldiers, and it is also possible that they [Palestenian fighters] might continue kidnapping now and transporting them, as the borders are not secured,” adding that “the enemy [the Palestinian resistance] is spreading a sense of victory with footage showing soldiers and civilians being driven in trucks.”
Footage circulated on social media showing Israeli prisoners and settlers being driven into Gaza.
Other prisoners were also shown detained in Palestinian houses in Gaza.
Israeli Channel 13 reported that 50 Israelis are being held captive in settlements in the Gaza envelope.
Tamir Stein, the correspondent for Channel 12 in southern occupied Palestine, announced that a town in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.
“The real situation is not clear even to the army,” Stein added.
The Israeli police commissioner confirmed that more than 21 fronts are active in the envelope of Gaza.
Israeli journalists report that settlers are hiding in shelters as Palestinian fighters roam around in the liberated settlements.
The leader said the operation comes in response to the Israeli occupation’s desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as multiple assaults against women in its yards.
He added that the Resistance fired more than 5,000 rockets and shells during the first stage of strikes.
Deif addressed the Palestinian Resistance fighter, saying, “This is your day to make the enemy understand that its time has ended,” adding that the Resistance had previously warned the Israeli occupation against assaulting women worshippers and desecrating al-Aqsa.
Al-Qassam Brigades leader also addressed the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, calling on them to “organize operations against settlements” and “sweep” the occupation away.
He then urged Palestinians residing in occupied al-Quds, as well as those in the 1948 occupied territories, to join the fight against the Israeli occupation.
Deif called on Palestinians to take up arms, utilizing any means possible.
He also addressed the Resistance in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, saying, “This is the day that fronts and banners shall unite.”
Furthermore, he urged Algerians, Moroccans, Jordanians, Egyptians, and the rest of the Arab World to take action in support of the operation.
Palestinian Resistance kidnaps IOF soldier
The Palestinian Resistance in Gaza has launched barrages of rockets toward illegal Israeli settlements, including “Bat Yam” and “Rishon LeZiyyon” south of “Tel Aviv”.
Sirens have sounded in the Gaza Envelope illegal Israeli settlements and “Tel Aviv”. Simultaneously, the Iron Dome attempted to intercept the Resistance’s rockets, as per Al Mayadeen’s correspondent.
Concurrently, Israeli media reported that “the Palestinian Resistance crossed the separation barrier, reached the intersection of the “Urim” settlement, and opened fire toward a settler’s vehicle.”
It was also reported that “gunfire from light weapons occurred at the Urim junction in the northern Al-Naqab and western Ofakim,” resulting in injuries.
Israeli media also reported that the Resistance launched a joint attack with an attempt of gliders to infiltrate the south.
Following the assault, Israeli forces opened shelters in “Tel Aviv” and “Ashdod” following the extensive rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, as reported by the Israeli army’s radio.
Additionally, Al Mayadeen’s correspondent reported that the Palestinian Resistance had successfully taken captive several Israeli occupation soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Shehab Agency confirmed that “Gaza Resistance, for the first time in history, has infiltrated occupation settlements with jeeps and has taken control of areas within them.”
The Resistance’s operation comes in the context of continued and unchecked Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the West Bank and al-Quds, as well as a suffocating siege on the Gaza Strip.
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Israeli settlers living near the Gaza Strip have been sent fleeing for their lives as the Palestinian resistance conducts the biggest offensive in decades for ‘honor, resistance, and dignity’
In the early hours of 7 October, Palestinian resistance faction Hamas launched the biggest offensive against Israel in decades as part of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, firing thousands of rockets into central and southern Israel while resistance fighters infiltrated the occupied territories from land, sea, and air.
According to Israeli media, at least six settlers have been killed and close to 200 injured, while over 30 Israeli soldiers have been taken hostage.
Footage on social media shows scores of settlers fleeing southern Israel as the operation got underway.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh described the ongoing battle as one of “honor, resistance, and dignity to defend Al-Aqsa [Mosque].”
“The enemy besieging Gaza has planned to surprise it and escalate the aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the settlement and aggression that continues every moment in the West Bank, which seeks to uproot our people and expel them from their land, and the crimes of the occupation against our people in the 1948s, as it stands behind all the killing and assassination operations there, and the occupation’s continuation of detaining our prisoners for decades, and reneging on agreements when he re-arrested those liberated from the swap deal,” Haniyeh said.
“This flood began in Gaza and will extend to the West Bank and abroad, and every place where our people and nation are present,” he stressed, adding,” Today, the wrath of our nation and righteous fighters is boiling over. This is your day to make the enemy understand that its time has come to an end.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) says its fighters joined the operation as Hamas urged other resistance factions, including Hezbollah, to join the fight.
“We are part of this battle; our fighters are side-by-side with their brothers in the Al-Qassam Brigades until victory is achieved,” PIJ spokesman Abu Hamza said in a post on Telegram.
For its part, Hezbollah issued a statement congratulating the Gaza resistance for the “heroic operation,” calling it “a decisive response to the continuing crimes of the occupation … and a [clear reminder] that the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of resistance are the only options in the face of aggression and occupation and a message to the Arab and Islamic world and the entire international community, especially those seeking normalization.”
In retaliation for the surprise attack, the Israeli air force has begun raids on “Hamas targets” in the besieged Gaza Strip, with residents saying they “do not know what to expect.”
“We don’t have bomb shelters to go to. In previous attacks, people would just run out of their homes to other relatives’ homes, thinking it would be safe. Every place is liable to an attack,” Gaza resident Rana Shubair told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, in the Israeli settlements near Gaza, settlers have communicated with media outlets saying many have barricaded themselves inside their homes and are begging Tel Aviv to “send troops.”
“There are wounded here … There are burning houses,” a resident of the illegal Kibbutz Beeri settlement told Israel Channel 12 news, adding that the feeling among settlers is that the have been “abandoned.”
“Hamas made a grave mistake this morning and started a war against the State of Israel. [Army] soldiers are fighting the enemy at all the infiltration sites,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said earlier on Saturday in remarks provided by his office.
“The State of Israel will win this war,” he added.
The US embassy in Israel says it is “closely monitoring” the security situation.
“US citizens are reminded to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness as security incidents, including mortar and rocket fire, often take place without warning,” an embassy statement reads.
Israel’s ‘catastrophic’ intel failure leads to Hamas offensive
Israel’s sophisticated surveillance and spying networks make scenes of Hamas fighters moving through the streets of southern Israeli cities all the more impressive
Former Israeli officials are calling the massive Hamas military offensive against Israel a “catastrophic” intelligence failure that will have immense and swift political ramifications.
On 7 October, Hamas fighters breached the Gaza border fence and swept into Israeli towns and settlements, killing some 100 soldiers and settlers while taking others captive back to Gaza, including the commander of the Israeli army’s southern region. Hamas also fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
The unprecedented Hamas offensive was allowed to happen by “disarray” in the Israeli armed forces and intelligence services, said Chuck Freilich, the country’s former deputy national security adviser.
This is a catastrophic failure in regards to Gaza,” he told Politico.
“It’s a failure in terms of intelligence, operationally,” Freilich said. “It’s clear we were caught totally unprepared by this. The divisional headquarters responsible for Gaza was occupied, they’re in disarray, and so the whole response has been delayed.”
Freilich predicts the intelligence failures will have significant political repercussions for the Israeli government.
“There’s always a short-term rallying around the flag. But once the dust settles we’ll have major political ramifications,” Freilich said. “After the Yom Kippur war, it took three and a half years for [then Israeli Prime Minister] Golda Meir’s government to be toppled — I don’t think it will take that long this time.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already faced criticism that his proposed judicial overhaul legislation has harmed Israel’s military readiness. Netanyahu’s effort to reign in the power of Israel’s supreme court to block legislation passed by the Knesset has met strong opposition, including mass protests and the refusal of some army reservists to continue their service.
Amos Yadlin, a former IDF intelligence chief, also compared Saturday’s events to the “intelligence failure” of the Yom Kippur War in which Syria and Egypt initiated the conflict, taking the Israeli army by surprise.
Similarly, Eli Marom, the former head of the Israeli navy, stated on live television, “All of Israel is asking itself: Where is the IDF, where is the police, where is the security? … It’s a colossal failure; the hierarchies have simply failed, with vast consequences.”
Peter Beaumont of the Guardian noted the Hamas offensive was enabled by an “intelligence failure for the ages” and came despite Israel’s sophisticated technological surveillance systems and network of human informants among Palestinians.
He noted that according to members of Israeli intelligence’s 8200 Unit, “the net for developing sources is almost all-encompassing” in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Members of Unit 8200 “were told to seek individuals with financial and health problems, those vulnerable because of sexual impropriety, efforts duplicated in entry and exit interviews for those Palestinians allowed to leave the coastal strip.”
Israel also employs sophisticated surveillance technology, such as Pegasus spyware, to monitor Hamas’ communications.
Israel also monitors the Gaza border fence using a network of regular patrols, cameras, and ground motion sensors while employing remote-controlled mini-cannons to deter Palestinian fighters and protesters from breaching the fence.
Despite this, Israeli intelligence was unaware of Hamas’ preparations for the major offensive and did not observe Hamas fighters gathering to breach the border fence.
Palestinian resistance factions from the Gaza Strip have taken control of over a dozen illegal settlements in southern Israel as part of ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Floods,’ which has been raging since the early hours of 7 October.
Fighters from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) say they hold at least 50 prisoners of war (POW) after overrunning many Israeli checkpoints and neighborhoods. Israeli media says the death toll from the operation has reached 100, with close to 1,000 injured.
In describing the operation, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri told Al Jazeera: “We managed to kill and capture many Israeli soldiers. The fighting is still on. As to our prisoners, I say, your freedom is looming large. What we have in hand will see you set free. The longer fighting continues, the higher the number of prisoners will become.”
Footage across social media has shown the extent of the resistance’s advance, as Israeli soldiers lay dead in many streets while settlers had to run for their lives or surrender to the armed groups.
The moment Palestinian resistance captured Israeli soldiers from inside a Merkava tank. pic.twitter.com/4AvC9AjYoo
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) October 7, 2023
Among those captured is Israeli General Nimrod Aloni, the commander of the Depth Corps, a unit that coordinates the army’s long-range operations “deep in enemy territory.”
Israeli Army General, Nimrod Aloni, has been captured by Palestinian resistance as part of ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.’ pic.twitter.com/Fd7FSNwGNt
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) October 7, 2023
The spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, Abu Hamza, confirmed that fighters from the Al-Quds Brigades and the Al-Qassam Brigades were at the front of today’s incursion, saying that the Gaza resistance recorded “a new chapter of victory” and “broke the prestige of the enemy entity,” with “a resounding historical shock.”
“Al-Aqsa Flood [revealed Israel] as an illusion made of dust and capable of being defeated and broken.”
In response, Tel Aviv has been conducting air raids inside the Gaza Strip, a coastal area considered the world’s largest open-air prison, leaving over 200 Palestinians dead and 1,600 injured. Survivors of the onslaught say they are “bracing” for the continued Israeli response as Hamas declared, “We are ready for an [Israeli] land invasion.”
BREAKING: CASUALTY UPDATE –
The Palestinian Health Ministry reports that according to preliminary data:
161 people were killed and 931 injured as a result of the Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Government has said: at least 40 Israelis dead, 750 injured… pic.twitter.com/B2j0pNsBgV
— Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman) October 7, 2023
Saturday’s operation caught the world by surprise, with even former Israeli security officials calling it a “colossal failure” of the intelligence apparatus, which failed to detect the launch of about 7,000 rockets from Gaza.
“All of Israel is asking itself: Where is the [army], where is the police, where is the security?” the former head of the Israeli Navy said during a TV interview. “It’s a colossal failure; the hierarchies have simply failed, with vast consequences.”
In response to the crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his country at “war” to the support of his western allies. However, the offensive may throw a wrench at ongoing normalization talks with Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, kingdom officials said: “[Saudi Arabia] repeatedly warned of the consequences of [the deterioration] of the situation as a result of the occupation as well as of depriving the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights and [not halting] systematic provocations against their holy [sites].”
The UAE, which normalized ties with Israel in 2020, issued a statement “[expressing] its deep concern over the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians,” also calling “for an immediate cessation of the escalation and protection of the lives of civilians.”
Support for the operation has poured in from the regional resistance, with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah calling it a “triumphant operation [and] a decisive response to the ongoing crimes of the occupation.”
Nasrallah also said the Lebanese resistance is “closely following the significant developments [in Palestine]” and “looking at the field conditions with utmost interest.”
Similarly, Yemen’s Ansarallah said that “[Operation Al-Aqsa Flood] revealed the weakness, fragility, and impotence of the temporary zionist entity and showed the world the strength and effectiveness of the resistance in Palestine and its ability to strike the ‘Israeli’ depths, storm the settlements, kill the zionists, and capture their soldiers.”
For Israel, support has poured in from the west, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying via statement, “France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves.”
The White House issued a similar statement, describing Saturday’s resistance operation as “appalling terrorist attacks.”