On the morning of 7 October 2023, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel infiltrating southern Israeli communities located close to the border with the Gaza Strip. Hamas fighters entered southern Israel via boats, paragliders and vehicles through the border fence. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) estimates that between 800 and 1,000 militants entered Israeli territory through about 80 sites in the border fence and launched attacks on 20 communities and 11 military barracks — situated as far as about 15 mi (25 km) north of the Gaza border. As of the latest reports on 9 October, IDF has regained control of the communities infiltrated by Hamas; however, active clashes between IDF personnel and Hamas assailants remain ongoing in the area. Concurrently, isolated Hamas infiltrations into southern Israel continue to occur, with the latest such incident reported in Be’eri kibbutz near the eastern border with Gaza overnight on 8-9 October.
More than 2,200 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip on 7 October and such rocket attacks have since continued, mostly in southern areas, including the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod. Rockets have been also fired toward central Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem — where explosions were heard earlier on 9 October. During the latest rocket attacks targeting Tel Aviv on 9 October, impact was reported in a village near Ben Gurion Airport (LLBG/TLV). While flight operations at the facility continue under emergency security procedures, the availability of flights remains disrupted as multiple international airlines have suspended flights to the airport. Major U.S. carriers — United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines — have halted their flights, as have several European airlines, including Air France, Wizz Air and EasyJet. However, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Ryanair and El Al have opted to continue services to Tel Aviv.
More than 700 people in Israel have been reported killed so far and nearly 2,400 others have been wounded. The death toll is expected to rise. Hamas, along with another militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have claimed to have taken more than 100 hostages from Israel.
In response to the attack, the Israeli government declared war on Hamas, and IDF has been conducting airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 511 people have been killed and 2,750 people have been wounded in Israeli airstrikes. Israel’s defense minister ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza on 9 October. Up to 300,000 Israeli military reservists have been called to duty ahead of expected major ground operation into the Gaza Strip.