Palestinians launch massive military operation against Israel

Palestinians have launched their biggest operation against Israel in years with thousands of rockets being launched from Gaza and fighters crossing the separation wall into Israeli cities.

Videos showed Palestinian fighters inside a military base on Saturday, as bodies of dead soldiers lied on the ground. They also infiltrated the town of Sderot and other settlements.

“At least six people were killed and more nearly 200 wounded, and casualties were reported from Sderot,” the Times of Israel reported.

The offensive started around 7 a.m. as Israelis celebrated the last day of the weeklong Sukkot festival, with thousands of rockets fired at Israel.

Red alert warning sirens were activated in Tel Aviv and other towns and cities. In Jerusalem, rocket sirens sounded followed by the sound of explosions.

Hamas’ armed wing said more than 5,000 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, declaring it had started “Operation al-Aqsa Flood.”

“We decided to put an end to all the crimes of the occupation, their time for rampaging without being held accountable is over,” Hamas said. “We announce Operation al-Aqsa Flood and we fired, in the first strike of 20 minutes, more than 5,000 rockets.”

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Gaza-based Islamic Jihad said its fighters have joined the operation as Hamas called on Palestinians everywhere to fight and on resistance groups in Lebanon also to join the fighting against Israel.

“We are part of this battle, our fighters are side-by-side with their brothers in the Qassam Brigades until victory is achieved,” said Islamic Jihad armed wing spokesman Abu Hamza on a post on Telegram.

“This storm which started from Gaza will spread to the West Bank and outside the country and all the places where our people and nation are present,” Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh called the operation historic and epic, saying the main reason for its start was the “criminal aggression of the Zionists in al-Aqsa Mosque, which had reached its peak in recent days.”

Senior Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif said, “This is the day of the greatest battle end the last occupation on earth.”

He said Palestinian resistance fighters struck numerous Israeli targets, including airports and military facilities.

“Today, the wrath of our nation and righteous fighters is boiling over. This is your day to make the enemy understand that its time has come to an end,” the top commander stated.

Israel has escalated its violence against Palestinians recently, particularly after a right-wing cabinet led by Benjamin Netanyahu came to power.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed this year in the occupied Palestinian territories and Gaza. The majority of these fatalities have been recorded in the West Bank.

The United Nations said 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since it began keeping track of fatalities almost two decades ago.

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