Gaza: In a surprise offensive, the military wing of the Hamas movement, Al-Qassam Brigades, launched a barrage of over 5,000 rockets and missiles from the Gaza Strip towards Israel at dawn on Saturday.
Simultaneously, their fighters breached the eastern border, confronting Israeli army border points and targeting military vehicles with precision anti-tank Kornet guided missiles.
In a recorded statement, the Commander-in-Chief of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Deif, declared the launch of a military operation against Israel called: "Al-Aqsa Flood."
This operation was framed as a response to Israeli transgressions against the Palestinian populace in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and repeated incursions by Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa mosque, notably during the previous week's Jewish Sukkot festivities.
Al-Deif emphatically proclaimed, "Commencing today, security coordination will cease, and anyone possessing a firearm should wield it. The time for action has arrived."
He underscored the Al-Qassam Brigades' resolve to halt the injustices of the Israeli occupation, stating, "The era in which it (the Israeli occupation) acts with impunity is over."
In pictures: Gaza at war
On his part, Palestinian writer and political analyst Hussam al-Dajani explained that the actions of Hamas were a natural response to Israel's relentless aggression towards prisoners, Al-Aqsa, the West Bank, and the blockade of Gaza.
He explained that Hamas had flagged these transgressions to mediators to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put an end to them, but to no avail.
Al-Dajani referenced statements by far-right ministers, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Interior Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who openly supported the settlers and condoned their practices and crimes against Palestinians living under occupation for over 70 years.
Al-Dajani asserted that Palestinians "have the legitimate right to defend themselves under occupation and within the parameters of the rules of engagement. I believe the occupation forced the Palestinians into this situation."
A profound state of shock permeates Israel
Ehab Jabareen, an expert in Israeli affairs, observed that “there appears to be a profound state of shock within Israel, both among its general populace and at the highest levels of political and security leadership.”
There seems to be a significant security gap as the attack came as a complete surprise, and Israel has no prior intelligence about the attack and the extent of the military operation launched by Hamas.