Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has declared that Israel was at “war” with the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, after barrages of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Saturday, in response to a surprise assault on the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
“We are at war, not in an operation or rounds, but at war,” the Israeli leader said in a statement, adding Hamas had launched a “murderous surprise attack” on Israel and its people.
“I have ordered an extensive mobilisation of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added.
Hamas militants infiltrated Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip — including by paraglider and over the sea — and launched more than 2,200 rockets, Israeli military leaders said.
The confrontation, which has killed at least one person and injured scores of others in Israel, is one of the most serious in years following weeks of rising tensions along the volatile border.
In a rare statement, Hamas military commander, Mohammed Deif, called on Palestinians inside Israel and Israel’s Arab neighbours to join the fight.