Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday vowed to retaliate strongly against the attack launched by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and other groups. “Citizens of Israel, we are at war. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price. We will win this war," Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu said, telling citizens that the terrorists will be thwarted. “The enemy will receive a response they have never known before," he further added.
Hamas and other terrorist groups fired between 2,000-5,000 rockets towards Israel from the blockaded Palestinian area of Gaza Strip on Saturday morning and dozens of terrorists entered southern Israeli cities, laying siege and taking control of several key locations, including a police station.
Israel launched Operation Iron Swords to retaliate against the surprise attack launched by Hamas on Saturday. Israeli news outlets Haaretz and Times of Israel citing Israel defence minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel has launched the operation to eliminate and drive out Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah terrorists who have laid siege in Ashkelon and other southern Israeli cities that border the Gaza Strip.
According to reports by international news agencies, terrorists from Hamas have taken control of certain key locations, including a police station in Sderot, and are currently engaged in gun battles in over half a dozen locations.
The shootout has been reported from the towns of Kfar Aza, Sderot, Sufa, Nahal Oz, Magen, Be’eri and the Re’im military base, the Times of Israel said.
Dozens of Israelis have been kidnapped and residents in towns like Kibbutz Sufa have urged help from the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). “I don’t understand how this is still going on. We’ve been in this situation since 6 in the morning. Send help, please," a pregnant woman was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel.
“Hamas made a grave mistake this morning and started a war against the State of Israel. IDF soldiers are fighting the enemy at all the infiltration sites. The State of Israel will win this war," Gallant said.
The IDF is also carrying out strikes against sites belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.