The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were reported to be in the midst of a significant mobilisation of forces on Saturday night (7 October).
They called up a large number of reservists and prepared for war after being brutally attacked by Hamas terrorists.
The country's southern communities were targeted in this unprecedented terrorist attack. The assault resulted in hundreds of casualties, over 1,500 injuries, and the apparent abduction of dozens of people.
Hamas gunmen carried out a wide-ranging assault, infiltrating up to 22 locations in southern Israel. These included towns and communities located as far as 24 kilometres from the Gaza border.
In some areas, they freely roamed for hours, targeting and killing both civilians and soldiers.
Israel's military faced a challenging task in responding to the attacks. Gun battles continued into the night, and terrorists held hostages in at least two towns.
The death toll from the day's events continued to rise rapidly, reaching 300 people by early Sunday morning.
Among the victims were many civilians who were killed in their homes, on the streets, and even at a large outdoor gathering that the terrorists specifically targeted.
Hospitals faced an overwhelming influx of wounded individuals, with the latest count reaching 1,590. Of these, around 300 were seriously injured, and 19 were in critical condition.
Israeli security forces were facing difficulties in clearing out terrorist cells from devastated communities even 18 hours after the coordinated assault began.
Many civilians remained trapped in their homes, fearing the roaming terrorists who were searching for victims. The troops were engaged in confrontations with hostage-takers and had to storm homes, resulting in the gunmen being shot dead.
Meanwhile, social media platforms were inundated with a continuous flow of distressing photos and videos from Palestine, showing the aftermath of destruction in the towns.
Additionally, there were horrifying clips of terrified individuals, including men, women, and children, being forcibly removed from their homes and taken to an uncertain future in Gaza.
The IDF acknowledged the abduction of both soldiers and civilians but did not disclose the exact number.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel was in a state of war and discussed the potential formation of an emergency government with opposition leaders.
During a night-time address to the nation, the premier pledged to utilise the full strength of the IDF to dismantle Hamas' capabilities and advised the residents of Gaza to evacuate immediately.
Netanyahu said: “Hamas wants to murder us all, murdering children and mothers in their homes, in their beds. It is an enemy that kidnaps elderly people, children, young girls, an enemy that massacres and slaughters our civilians, our children, who simply wanted to enjoy the holiday.”
Media outlets reported that, as night fell, Israeli forces regained control of several communities, while ongoing battles were taking place in other areas.
In response to the attacks, Israel carried out several counter-attacks. These included a drone strike on two terrorists attempting to breach the security barrier near the disused Karni Crossing, clashes with troops in the town of Nirim resulting in the deaths of nine terrorists, and a fighter jet targeting four terrorists at the Erez Crossing.
The IDF reported that troops killed terror squads in the southern towns of Sufa, Kfar Aza, and Kerem Shalom. Additionally, the IDF conducted drone strikes against terrorists in the area.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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