Israel has been under fire since Saturday morning, 7 October. More than 1,000 people have been killed so far and the number is expected to rise. Nearly 2,500 Israelis were injured in rocket fire and gunfire from Hamas terrorists. Hamas also kidnapped more than 100 people in Israel and transferred them to Gaza. Among those kidnapped are US citizens, a German national, 11 workers from Thailand and youths from Norway and Canada.
Massacre after music festival
The Americans, Canadians and youths from Norway were attending an international music festival near kibbutz Re’im, not far from the Gaza border. Shortly after the invasion of more than a thousand Palestinian terrorists and the start of the rain of rockets, they were startled from their sleep on the festival grounds. Originally, it was because of the rockets flying overhead, but shortly afterwards they heard approaching gunfire. The Hamas terrorists who reached the festival grounds fired randomly at the fleeing crowd of two thousand people. So far, 260 bodies have been recovered and an unknown number have been kidnapped to Gaza.
Hamas later published a video showing a bleeding young woman kidnapped and taken to Gaza. As she was violently pushed into a jeep, someone could be heard shouting something in Farsi, the language of Iran. This was the first concrete indication of Iran’s involvement in the violence against Israel.
“Someone could be heard shouting something in Farsi, the language of Iran. The first concrete indication of Iran’s involvement”
The Re’im massacre was long hidden from the public and the media. However, reports on social media from friends and relatives of the festival goers forced the government to publish the truth about this crime against humanity. Photos of the atrocities at the festival site can now be seen on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s website.
IDF retakes control
It was not until Monday afternoon that the Israeli army, supplemented by the Yamam unit of the police, got things under control. This happened after sixty Hamas terrorists entered Israel again through a tunnel under kibbutz Aza during the night from Sunday to Monday. The sixty terrorists infiltrated kibbutz Be’eri, after which a long confrontation began with the IDF soldiers present.
Eventually, the infiltration was prevented, and the terrorists were killed and captured. The terror tunnel was later found and blown up. On Monday afternoon, another infiltration attempt was made near kibbutz Zikim, south of the city of Ashkelon. A fierce firefight ensued between the terrorists and the IDF. Kibbutz Zikim was also besieged by a group of Hamas terrorists on Saturday. However, an alert kibbutznik saw the group approaching and opened fire after which others came to his assistance. Eventually, the terrorists were eliminated.
“The IDF is engaged in an unprecedented troop build-up along the Gaza border”
Ground action underway
Meanwhile, the IDF is engaged in an unprecedented troop build-up along the Gaza border. A total of 300,000 reservists have arrived in the Gaza border area. Among them is former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who came to do voluntary reserve service. The huge number of reservists indicates a major military action, but so far there is no talk of reoccupation of Gaza.
Ground action in Gaza is expected to begin soon and to last a long time. A large number of tanks have been transferred to the Gaza border area and reservists are currently receiving their equipment and instructions. The ground action will follow intense bombing of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza by the Israeli Air Force. In total, more than 800 targets have been shelled in Gaza since the start of this war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, called on the Palestinian population in Gaza to leave. This in turn drew criticism from some foreign media, such as CNN, which questioned where the population in Gaza could go. Israel, however, pointed to Arab countries such as Egypt, which could theoretically accommodate refugees from Gaza. The IDF on Monday afternoon reiterated Netanyahu’s warning and ordered Gaza residents to leave. The army has since also cleared a good number of villages in southern Israel. The government in Jerusalem further decided yesterday to close all border crossings with Gaza. Supplies of goods, gas, electricity and even water have also ceased.
Meanwhile, rocket fire on Israel continues in full force. Shortly after noon on Monday, another huge salvo of hundreds of rockets was fired. Some of these rockets reached as far as the area around Zichron Ya’acov, just south of Gaza. There were also unsuccessful attempts to hit Ben Gurion airport. The salvos are deliberately large in number because this is the only way to bypass the Iron Dome defense system. The system is unable to simultaneously intercept such a large number of missiles. This also explains why buildings are regularly hit and people are killed or injured by the rockets of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
In total, more than 4,500 rockets have now been fired at Israel and more than eighty reached their target. Iron Dome intercepted more than 280 rockets and the rest fell in open fields.
Meanwhile, there is also talk of a second front in northern Israel that is slowly but surely heating up. On Sunday, sporadic rockets and mortar shells were fired from Lebanon. The IDF responded with artillery shelling. On Monday afternoon, Hezbollah significantly stepped up its aggression. First, mortar shells were fired. That was followed by 12 rockets fired at the area of Mount Hermon and the Naftali Mountains in northern Galilee around two in the afternoon.
A first infiltration attempt was then reported an hour later. Four Hezbollah terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon. Two of them were shot dead by the IDF and the other two fled back to Lebanon. A short time later, Israeli Air Force Apache helicopters carried out retaliatory strikes in southern Lebanon. So far, Hezbollah has refrained from launching large-scale attacks against Israel. This could soon change when the ground war in Gaza begins.
Finally, among those kidnapped by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are many women and children. Qatar is now trying to reach a deal with the United States whereby Israel releases female Palestinian terrorists in exchange for the release of Israeli women and children. Egyptian officials further revealed that they are trying to get more clarity on the fate of the abductees. Hamas earlier informed that they would be used as human shields against Israeli attacks.