The fallout from Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel continues as the situation on the ground intensifies. The conflict has claimed 700 Israeli lives so far. Nine Americans have also perished in the fighting.
The circumstances surrounding the war are continually evolving as the rest of the world responds to the crisis. If current developments are any indication, Israel could be in for a protracted clash that will likely claim massive numbers of lives on both sides.
Here is what has happened so far.
Israel’s response to Hamas’ assault was swift and robust. The nation declared a state of war against the terrorist group and launched a counterattack using air raids and ground operations. Soldiers are currently fighting to neutralize the infiltrating terrorists.
Israel’s military forces have opened up fighting in nearly two dozen locations along the Gaza border after Hamas terrorists launched thousands of rockets into Israel Saturday morning.
“There is no community in Southern Israel where we do not have forces in all the towns,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a statement Saturday evening. “There are communities that have been rid of terrorists, but we want to finish additional scans of the area before declaring so.”
Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists invaded areas of southern Israel as rocket barrages launched from the Gaza Strip struck the area Saturday, killing at least 200 Israelis and wounding at least 985 others, according to The Associated Press.
A senior Hamas military commander, Mohammad Deif, announced the start of the operation, calling on Palestinians everywhere to attack the Israelis, saying in a broadcast on Hamas media that the group launched thousands of rockets and calling the attack “the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth.”
The IDF stated that its Iron Dome missile defense system blocked many of the rockets launched by Hamas and about 198 Palestinians have been killed in the counterattack.
Meanwhile, the United States on Sunday sent the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the region to act as a deterrent and provide support for Israel.
Iran Looms Large Over the Conflict
Despite initial denials, Iran has been implicated in the assault on Israel. Tehran has been a staunch ally of Hamas since the organization’s inception, providing weapons, funding, and other resources to aid in its ongoing fight against Israel.
The sophistication of the attack indicates that Iran and perhaps other entities are intimately involved in the current conflict. Moreover, Iran’s Supreme Leader praised the assault shortly after it began. Tehran’s role in the planning and execution of the attack was confirmed on Sunday.
A new report is shedding light on how Hamas managed to pull off its violent invasion of Israel on Saturday. Possibly thousands are dead in the wake of the Palestinian terror spree, in which women and children were indiscriminately murdered in the streets.
Before the dust settled — and it’s about to get kicked up again in the Gaza Strip as Israel plans a retaliatory strike to behead Hamas — many were wondering just how such an attack could have been pulled off. Clearly, intelligence resources were involved, and the multitude of weaponry, including thousands of rockets, was not produced by the Palestinians.
Now, we have an answer. Despite denials from the Biden administration, Iran was behind the attack, to the point of helping plan it and giving the green light for it to proceed.
Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel Over Several Weeks – WSJ https://t.co/WBe4IIWT1b— Josh Kraushaar (@JoshKraushaar) October 8, 2023
Iran’s geopolitical presence and influence over the region will not be ignored in the days to come. The scale of coordination implies the existence of a formidable alliance against Israel, whose response is not only an effort against Hamas but Iran’s attempt to use proxies to attack the Jewish state.
President Joe Biden has faced criticism for his tepid response to the escalating crisis. On Saturday, he issued a statement condemning the attacks, but some argued that his comments were not forceful enough. Indeed, the White House posted a tweet calling for both sides to cease violence. It later deleted the post.
Biden was also criticized for the length of time it took him to respond to the attack. RedState’s Nick Arama noted that the president didn’t release a statement until 10 a.m. ET and didn’t bother to make live remarks until around 2:40 p.m. He refused to take questions from reporters about the war.
One of the reasons why this particular conflict is different from others is because Israeli and U.S. intelligence failed to anticipate it. This gave Hamas the element of surprise when it launched the assault and contributed to the loss of life on the Israeli side.
The attacks, orchestrated with precision, raise questions about the efficacy and reliability of intelligence agencies that typically anticipate these types of incursions. The apparent failure introduces a renewed scrutiny of their protocols. As RedState’s Joe Cunningham noted:
That’s one of the things that leads experts and frequent observers to believe that Iran had a hand in this in some way or another. The planning for an assault like this – and, yes, it was indeed a highly planned, highly coordinated attack and not just some random raid – had to be pretty insulated for Israel to not pick up on it. The planning, then, would need to take place outside of Gaza, and Iran is one of the places that welcomes anti-Israeli terrorists with open arms. Multiple reports confirm something along these lines happened.
A Polarized America
As with most issues, American attitudes on the current conflict are mixed. Politicians have come out on both sides, either blaming Israel or Hamas for the attack. Former U.N. Ambassador and current presidential candidate Nikki Haley issued a dire warning, insisting that what happened in Israel could happen in the U.S.
Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and the Iranian backers—they hate Israel and they hate America.— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) October 8, 2023
We can't be distracted. We have to remember that what happened to Israel could happen here in America. pic.twitter.com/RKuNzcCkoh
Former Vice President Mike Pence affirmed his commitment to Israel’s security and lashed out at former President Donald Trump and other Republicans for favoring a non-interventionist stance on foreign policy.
In a scathing rebuke, Pence faulted “voices of appeasement like Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis that I believe have run contrary to the tradition in our party that America is the leader of the free world.”
On the other hand, far-left Democrats said little about the matter until Israel retaliated. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) called for a “ceasefire” as Israelis were being slaughtered and kidnapped. MSNBC also chimed in, blaming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the attack.
Andrea Mitchell blames Netanyahu and the Saudis not listening to Biden "There was some concern…the Saudis were so eager for the economic benefits" of normalization and "there has been the most aggressive encroachment into the West Bank by this far-right coalition government" pic.twitter.com/NRLmkJfcjh— Alex Christy (@alexchristy17) October 7, 2023
It is expected that even more developments will emerge over the next week as Israel continues rooting out Hamas and neutralizing the threat to its security. So far, it is not quite clear what role the United States will play in this conflict after sending naval vessels to the region. However, it seems more and more as if this war will not be a short one.