Saturday marked one of the darkest days in Israel’s 75-year history, when the Islamist militant group Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack targeting civilians and soldiers alike.
Here’s what you need to know:
Full Attack: The attack began early Saturday morning, when Hamas fired rockets into Israel; sending terrorists across borders by land, air and sea; and called on the public to take up arms against Israel. More than a day later the attackers were still wreaking havoc on Israeli soil. As of Sunday afternoon, thousands were injured, at least 350 people were killed in Israel and “dozens” of civilians and soldiers were taken hostage.
At the scene: Attacks on concertgoers who ran for their lives were recorded on camera. One video showed an Israeli woman being abducted and carried on the back of a motorcycle while her boyfriend was kidnapped. Another showed the motionless body of a German-Israeli woman, identified by her dreadlocks and tattoos, marching through Gaza as onlookers chanted “Allahu Akbar.” While driving a car saw a man spitting on his head.
Answer: In response, Israel launched an airstrike on Hamas. Inside Gaza, at least 313 Palestinians have died and more than 1,900 have been injured. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
War to Come: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed the country would take “strong revenge”. A top IDF officer in charge of operations in the Palestinian territories said Hamas had “opened the gates of hell”. What the exact response will be remains to be seen, but comments from a military spokesman hinted that Israel may try to take full control of Gaza for the first time since it unilaterally withdrew from the territory in 2005.
Intelligence Gap: Whether by design or by accident, Saturday’s attack began 50 years after and one day Israel failed to predict another incursion, known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War. Israel has spent billions of dollars building one of the world’s strongest security services, yet it still struggles today with the infiltration of military bases, cities and kibbutzim that mark the 1948 War of Independence.