Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country was at war with Hamas after the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented land, sea and air attack.
“Citizens of Israel, we are at war — not in an operation, not in rounds — at war,” Netanyahu said in a video message.
“I instructed first of all to cleanse the settlements of the terrorists who infiltrated,” he said in a recorded video address, adding he had ordered an “extensive reserve mobilization.”
Israel will “fight back with a strength and scope that the enemy did not know,” he said. “The enemy will pay a price it has never known before.”
“We are in a war, not an operation, in a war” he said, calling on Israeli citizens to strictly obey instructions of its forces.
Dozens of Israelis and IDF Soldiers are known to have been killed during Hamas militants launched a surprise attack. Militants from Hamas entered Israel from Gaza by land, by sea and by air using paragliders and captured Merkava tanks and other military vehicles.
The leader of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, announced the group was behind the attack on Israel, which it dubbed “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood,” and announced it has launched 5,000 rockets at Israel.