Palestinian militants launched a shocking attack inside Israel on Saturday, with militants infiltrating into the country’s south and firing a barrage of rockets from Gaza.
Israel responded to the raid by declaring a “state of war alert” and attacking targets in Gaza, setting the stage for a possible new round of intense fighting.
It comes after weeks of tensions along Israel’s border with Gaza and heavy fighting in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but there have been unresolved questions about the treatment of Palestinians for years, and long-standing grievances There’s always the possibility of an outbreak.
Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, announced on Saturday that it was behind the operation, dubbed the “Aqsa Flood.”
“We have had enough,” Mohammed Deif, the elusive leader of the group’s military wing, said in a recorded message, calling on Palestinians to join the fight.
“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” he said, adding that 5,000 rockets had been fired.
The Israeli military confirmed that infiltrations occurred at multiple locations near the Gaza separation barrier in southern Israel. It ordered residents to stay indoors.
“The military has declared a state of war alert,” it said in a statement.
Hamas “will face consequences and responsibility,” the statement said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top security officials are holding emergency meetings.