Israel declared a state of war today as thousands of rockets launched by militant organisation Hamas struck the country. The outbreak of conflict follows months of surging violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with fatalities in the occupied West Bank hitting a scale not seen in years.
Militants have infiltrated southern towns on motorcycles, SUVs and paragliders in an unprecedented move. Videos circulating on social media show civilians being fired upon in Israel’s southern towns.
One such video, shot by a resident in Sderot, shows Hamas militants firing at civilian cars passing by the street. The resident shot the video from his terrace and is seen hastily taking cover as a gunman looks in his direction.
Just surreal! Footage of Palestinian Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into Israel from Gaza, firing at residents in Sderot from an SUV. pic.twitter.com/ffUO5XwG1I
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) October 7, 2023
The video was shared on X by international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky.
Some videos on social media, reportedly from Gaza, also showed militants dragging the bodies of several Israeli soldiers into the streets in celebration.
The violence erupted a day after Hamas, which rules Gaza, said that the “people had to draw a line to end the occupation” and added that Israel continued to commit crimes across Palestinian land, and especially on the holy site of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
In a pre-recorded speech, Hamas militant leader Mohamed Deif, said, “We have decided to put an end to all of this, with the help of God, so that the enemy understands that the time of recklessness without accountability is over. We declare Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and the first strike has surpassed 5,000 missiles and shells in the first 20 minutes.”