As of 11 October 2023, fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas militants is ongoing. Israeli authorities declared the mobilization of 360,000 reservists, approximately 4% of the country’s population and the largest such mobilization since the country’s war with Egypt and Syria in 1973. Rocket attacks continue against southern Israeli towns near the Gazan border, including Sderot and Ashkelon, as well as toward Tel Aviv. At least 1,200 Israelis have been killed, and more than 2,700 have been injured in the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, at least 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, with at least 5,200 more injured. The United Nations estimates at least 260,000 Gazans have been displaced since the start of the conflict.
IDF fighter aircraft struck over 80 targets in the Beit Hanoun area of the Gaza Strip overnight — including areas the IDF claimed were two command centers and a tunnel. The IDF also conducted airstrikes against the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City — an upscale area home to Hamas-run governmental agencies, businesses and media and aid organizations — reducing portions of the area to rubble. The Gaza Strip is also experiencing a blackout after its sole power plant ran out of fuel amid an Israeli blockade against food and fuel entering the strip. Near the Lebanese border, sporadic cross-border exchanges are occurring. The IDF conducted artillery strikes against areas along Israel’s northern border following an anti-tank missile attack against the IDF. Lebanese media reported that residents near the border are sheltering and fleeing the cross-border attacks amid escalating concerns that Hizballah may fully enter the war.
Analyst Comment: Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (LLBG/TLV) continues to operate; however, numerous carriers have canceled flights to and from the airport amid the ongoing conflict. Additionally, occasional brief ground stops at the airport continue due to missile attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip and directed toward central and southern Israel. The availability of flights is likely to continue to be limited as the conflict persists, and in the event of an escalation of the conflict, a complete suspension of airport operations is likely. Given the size of the Israeli mobilization, an extensive ground invasion of the Gaza Strip appears imminent. Nonetheless, it is unclear how long it will take the IDF to prepare, equip and organize such a large mobilization. The time range for the beginning of a possible invasion thus ranges from several days to a week or more. Emerging developments along the Lebanon-Israel border pose further concerns regarding possible escalation of the conflict in the region. While rocket attacks emanating from southern Lebanon have thus far been sporadic, Hizballah may see an opportune time to strike while the vast majority of the IDF’s attention is in the south of the country.