CONFLICT IN ISRAEL
At approximately 06:30 local time, Hamas launched a multifaceted surprise attack on Israel, with a massive rocket barrage and a mass infiltration of hit squads into Southern Israel. Dozens of Israeli civilians have been kidnapped and taken to Gaza as hostages, as Hamas terrorists took control over several townships and military installations. Over 2,200 rockets (Palestinian sources claim 5,000) were fired into Israel, with more than one-third of the Israel population impacted, including Tel-Aviv and Central Israel. Israel has declared a State of War and is mobilizing its reserves as it attempts to regain control over the communities around the Gaza Strip. The situation is rife with escalation potential with regional implications.
- So far, more than 40 civilians have been reported dead; 740 injured; and Hamas claims to be holding 50 kidnapped Israelis in the Gaza Strip.
- There are unconfirmed reports of several other ongoing hostage situations within Southern Israel.
- Israel has lost security control over its border with the Gaza Strip.
- Fighting has been reported in the following Israeli areas: Erez Crossing, Sderot, Kfar Aza, Nahal Oz, Netivot, Be’eri, Re'im military base, Nirim,
Ofkaim, Magen, Sufa, Kerem Shalom, Holit, Mefalsim and Yad Mordechai, with several hostage situations being reported.
- Further terrorist attacks and sectarian violence in Israel cannot be ruled out.
- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have mobilized 10,000 reservists (so far); launched air strikes into Gaza, and commenced a counteroffensive to retake captured bases and communities. The IDF is also preparing for a possible escalation in southern Lebanon.
- Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) remains open (subject to change). Public gatherings in major cities have been banned and the Israel-Jordan border has been closed.
- Clashes have been reported in Jerusalem and in the West Bank.
- This surprise attack involved a high degree of planning, coordination, and likely approval from Iran.
- Strategic Goal: Derail the Saudi-Israel normalization deal by dragging Israel into a war with high civilian casualties in Gaza.
- Timing this operation over a Jewish holiday was designed to maximize the potential for kidnapping and civilian casualties while facing the least possible resistance (reduced IDF manpower, mobilization delays).
- Re-opening this national wound will engender extreme domestic political pressure in Israel to go further than in previous operations.
- In previous conflagrations, Israel's strategy was short-term and focused on restoring deterrence and nominally degrading Hamas and other terrorist groups' capabilities.
- This will be different and it's possible that Israel will seek to permanently alter the strategic balance.
- There are strong parallels to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Namely, a massive intelligence failure, slow military reactions, and the use of a Jewish holiday to surprise Israel.
- This is likely the start of a long and bloody military campaign.
- Escalation Potential: There is a possibility that the situation devolves into a multi-front war to include Lebanon and/or a terror wave within Israel and the West Bank. Should Hezbollah enter the conflict, the war could take on a regional dimension.
- Lebanon's Hezbollah told Egypt they will enter the conflict if Israel conducts a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
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