The Iron Swords – the First Gaza War The war in the south of Israel (Updated to 1 p.m., October 8, 2023)

Hamas terrorist operatives exit Gaza on motorcycles (Ma'an, October 7, 2023).

Hamas terrorist operatives exit Gaza on motorcycles (Ma'an, October 7, 2023).

Palestinians in front of a captured IDF tank (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)

Palestinians in front of a captured IDF tank (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)

A vehicle with Hamas terrorists enters the southern Israeli city of Sderot (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)

A vehicle with Hamas terrorists enters the southern Israeli city of Sderot (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)

Attack on the Palestine Building in Gaza City (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023).

Attack on the Palestine Building in Gaza City (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023).

Gazans take shelter in UNRA schools (Wafa, October 8, 2023)

Gazans take shelter in UNRA schools (Wafa, October 8, 2023)

The Hamas leadership, led by Haniyeh and al-'Arouri, celebrates the invasion by giving thanks to Allah (Hamas Telegram channel, October 7, 2023)

The Hamas leadership, led by Haniyeh and al-'Arouri, celebrates the invasion by giving thanks to Allah (Hamas Telegram channel, October 7, 2023)

Solidarity march in the center of Ramallah (Shehab Telegram channel, October 7, 2023).

Solidarity march in the center of Ramallah (Shehab Telegram channel, October 7, 2023).

Support demonstration in Basra (al-Sumaria, October 7, 2023)

Support demonstration in Basra (al-Sumaria, October 7, 2023)

Overview
  • On the morning of October 7, 2023, hundreds of armed Hamas terrorist operatives breached the border security fence and began pouring into Israel from the Gaza Strip, driving pickup trucks and motorcycle, on foot and using motorized hang gliders, heading towards IDF bases and the Israeli villages surrounding Gaza. To cover the invasion, massive rocket barrages were fired at south and central Israel. As of this writing, IDF forces are still battling terrorists in several towns and villages near the Gaza Strip and the rocket attacks continue.
  • The IDF declared a state of preparedness for war. A few hours after the invasion began, IDF aircraft started attacking Hamas terrorist targets and symbols of the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip
  • Apparently Hamas’ military-terrorist wing had been planning “Operation al-Aqsa Storm” for several months but very few people knew about it and they successfully kept it secret. According to Hamas spokesmen, the operation was intended to “convey a message to Israel” regarding Jews going to pray on the Temple Mount. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist operatives joined Hamas in invading Israel.
  • So far, Hamas calls for operatives in Judea and Samaria to join the attack have been unsuccessful. However, there was considerable glee in Judea and Samaria, expressed by support marches of armed operatives, distribution of pastries to passersby in the streets and chants of encouragement for the terrorists invading from the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is focusing efforts at the “diplomatic” level and making preparations to help the Gazans.
  • In the northern arena, Hezbollah operatives fired mortar shells at Mount Dov; the IDF responded with artillery fire. The Arab world expressed support for Hamas. The United States condemned the Hamas attack and gave its full support to Israel, as did other Western countries.
The Events on the Ground
October 7, 2023
  • In the early morning hours of Saturday October 7, 2023, Simchat Torah,[1] hundreds of armed Hamas terrorists breached the security fence on the Gaza Strip border and poured into Israel in vehicles and motorcycles, driving to the nearby Israeli towns and villages. Other terrorists arrived on foot and used motorized hang gliders. An attempt to invade by sea was foiled by Israeli navy ships. Terrorists may have also entered through attack tunnels.
Terrorists cross the security fence in eastern Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)      Hamas terrorist operatives exit Gaza on motorcycles (Ma'an, October 7, 2023).
Right: Hamas terrorist operatives exit Gaza on motorcycles (Ma’an, October 7, 2023). Left: Terrorists cross the security fence in eastern Khan Yunis (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)
Palestinians in front of a captured IDF tank (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)    Hamas terrorists on the Israeli side of the border drive to Kibbutz Nahal Oz (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023).
Right: Hamas terrorists on the Israeli side of the border drive to Kibbutz Nahal Oz (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023). Left: Palestinians in front of a captured IDF tank (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)
  • The terrorists infiltrated a number of IDF bases and posts, including the headquarters of the Gaza Division, as well as the cities of Sderot and Ofakim and a large number of villages near the Gaza Strip. At one point, they controlled more than ten communities simultaneously. They also attacked several thousand young people who were at an open-air party in the area. Terrorists continued to pouring into Israel though gaps in the fence created by explosions and bulldozers. The terrorists stormed the villages, broke into houses, murdered their inhabitants and set fire to buildings, in several instances stealing whatever they could carry. They took hostages and barricaded themselves inside their houses. In some of the villages battles went on for hours. Many soldiers and civilians, including women, the aged and young children, were abducted and forced to return with the terrorists to the Gaza Strip. As the day progressed IDF forces managed to regain control of many locations taken over by the terrorists.
A vehicle with Hamas terrorists enters the southern Israeli city of Sderot (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)
A vehicle with Hamas terrorists enters the southern Israeli city of Sderot (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)
Rocket fire
  • As the terrorists invaded, heavy barrages of rockets were fired at central and southern Israel. Rocket attacks continued throughout October 7 and into October 8. As of the morning of October 8, 2023, more than 3,200 rockets had been fired at Israel (IDF spokesman, October 8, 2023). A large number of civilian dwellings were hit, including in cities in the center, as were public buildings, one of them Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.[2] The rocket fire injured a large number of people and considerable property damage was reported.
A rocket from the Gaza hits a residential building in Ashkelon (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)       A rocket from the Gaza Strip hits Tel Aviv.
Right: A rocket from the Gaza Strip hits Tel Aviv. Left: A rocket from the Gaza hits a residential building in Ashkelon (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023)
October 7-8, 2023
  • On the night of October 7, 2023, Israeli navy fighters foiled an attempted terrorist invasion from the sea in the region of Zikim, near Gaza’s northern border. Navy fighters and IDF aircraft attacked and killed them near the beach (IDF spokesman, October 8, 2023).
Navy attack in the Zikim region (IDF website, October 8, 2023)
Navy attack in the Zikim region (IDF website, October 8, 2023)
  • On the morning of October 8, 2023, fighting continued in a number of locations where terrorists were still present, including Sderot, Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Be’eri and Kibbutz Kissufim. The IDF spokesman reported the IDF’s mission for October 8, 2023 was to evacuate all Israeli villages near Gaza, which continued to be pounded by rockets from the Gaza Strip.
  • At 9:10 a.m. Hamas announced its operatives continued “waging combat” in the cities of Ofakim and Sderot, and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Be’eri, Kibbutz Kissufim and Yated, a moshav not far from the Egyptian border, adding that the operatives were supported by artillery fired from Gaza by its military wing. At 10:20 Hamas announced that early in the morning operatives from its military wing had infiltrated with equipment to support the attacks on the IDF Sofa post, Kibbutz Sofa, Kibbutz Holit and Yated, near Rafah (Telegram channel Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, October 8, 2023).
Hamas cartoon (Sons of al-Zawari in Rafah Telegram channel, October 8, 2023)     "The Rage of the Sky," a notice issued following a Hamas military-terrorist video about the launch of "suicide" UAVs (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades Telegram channel, October 8, 2023).
Right: “The Rage of the Sky,” a notice issued following a Hamas military-terrorist video about the launch of “suicide” UAVs (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades Telegram channel, October 8, 2023). Left: Hamas cartoon (Sons of al-Zawari in Rafah Telegram channel, October 8, 2023)
Israeli casualties
  • The Israeli ministry of health reported that as of noon on October 8, 2023, 2,028 wounded had been evacuated to hospitals, and more than 600 deaths were reported. Among the dead were IDF officers and soldiers, police officers, members of Magen David Adom, firefighters and civilians. It was also reported that an unspecified large number of civilians and soldiers had been abducted to the Gaza Strip, where they were being held by Hamas terrorists.
  • Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, said they were holding dozens of captive Israeli officers and soldiers in secure locations and tunnels in the Gaza Strip (Abu Obeida’s Telegram channel, October 7, 2023). In response to remarks made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said Netanyahu had spoken of “dozens” of abducted Israelis, but the number was actually much larger (Hamas’ Telegram channel; Aljazeera.net, October 8, 2023). Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said Hamas held IDF officers and the captives would make it possible to the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons (Shehab, October 7, 2023).
The IDF response
  • The IDF declared a state of preparedness for war. A few hours after the invasion, IDF aircraft initiated massive attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip. As of October 8, 2023, over 500 targets had been attacked, some of them military-terrorist targets and symbols of the Hamas regime. They included (IDF spokesman, October 7, 8, 2023):
    • Hamas facilities and military-terrorist and operational headquarters, including the headquarters of the rocket unit and an operational headquarters used by the PIJ.
    • Rocket launching positions and squads.
    • Terrorist squads attempting to invade Israeli territory.
    • Operational infrastructures established in mosques.
    • Homes of senior Hamas operatives, including Yahya al-Sinwar, Fathi Hamad, Sameh Sarraj, Ghazi Hamad, Salah al-Bardawil, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Nizar Awadallah, and Abu Anas al-Ghandour, the commander of the northern division of Hamas.[3]
    • High-rise buildings where the offices of Hamas units and departments were located, including intelligence headquarters, weapons-manufacturing production headquarters, the general security apparatus headquarters and the offices of the senior leadership.
    •  Bank branches used to finance terrorism.
High-rise buildings attacked, including Hamas headquarters and offices (IDF website, October 8, 2023)    Hamas terrorists attacked near the security fence.
Right: Hamas terrorists attacked near the security fence. Left: High-rise buildings attacked, including Hamas headquarters and offices (IDF website, October 8, 2023)
Attack on the branch of Hamas' Islamic National in the Nasr neighborhood in Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023)    Attack on the al-Aklouk Tower in the Nasr neighborhood in Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023).
Right: Attack on the al-Aklouk Tower in the Nasr neighborhood in Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023). Left: Attack on the branch of Hamas’ Islamic National in the Nasr neighborhood in Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023)
Israeli Air Force attack in western Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)    Attack on the Palestine Building in Gaza City (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023).
Right: Attack on the Palestine Building in Gaza City (Twitter account of photojournalist Hassan Aslih, October 7, 2023). Left: Israeli Air Force attack in western Gaza City (Shehab Twitter account, October 7, 2023)
  • Israel stopped supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip. The Gaza electricity company announced the 80% shortage of electricity was due to “a fault in Israeli lines” (Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, October 8, 2023).
  • The ministry of health in Gaza reported that as 10:30 a.m. on October 8, 2023, IDF attacks had resulted in 313 dead and 1,990 wounded. According to the ministry, hospitals in the Gaza Strip were operating on an emergency footing, planned surgeries were canceled and outpatient clinic activity stopped. They called for international organizations to supply the medical equipment necessary for “the situation” (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, October 7, 2023). According to reports, UNRWA opened its schools to receive residents whose homes were destroyed and about 23,000 people had already arrived (aljazeera.net, October 8, 2023).
 Gazans take shelter in UNRA schools (Wafa, October 8, 2023)    Gazans take shelter in UNRA schools (Wafa, October 8, 2023)
Gazans take shelter in UNRA schools (Wafa, October 8, 2023)
Hamas
  • Hamas’ military-terrorist wing apparently spent months making preparations for Operation al-Aqsa Storm but did generally keep the information secret. Its intended message was again the unity of the arenas, and according to the Hamas leadership, it was triggered by the arrival of Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount during the Succot holiday.[4] PIJ terrorist operatives joined the invasion but it was led by Hamas. Hamas spokesmen also tried to enlist the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Hezbollah and the Arab countries.
  • Mohammed Deif, commander of the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, who announced the start of the attack in a pre-recorded message on al-Aqsa TV, said that in the first strike more than 5,000 rockets and mortar shells had been fired at Israel. He claimed Israel had attacked the Mourabitat (guardians of al-Aqsa Mosque) and “desecrated” the Mosque despite previous warnings from Hamas. He also claimed that daily violations continued in Judea and Samaria, and Israel had carried out hundreds of “massacres of civilians.” He also announced the end of security coordination with Israel [for which the PA is responsible], and called for a general mobilization of Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs as well as “brothers” in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen (Hamas’ Telegram channel, October 7, 2023; Safa, October 7, 2023).
Muhammad Deif (Safa, October 7, 2023)
Muhammad Deif (Safa, October 7, 2023)
  • Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, in a pre-recorded voice message broadcast on al-Aqsa TV, said the operations “in the field” were proceeding as planned, and that the results were as yet unknown in Israel, which would be “stunned when it awoke to what had happened.” He called on the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and on Israeli Arabs to participate in Operation al-Aqsa Storm, which had begun “in response to the cries of the Mourabitoun at al-Aqsa” (al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades website, October 7, 2023; Dunia al-Watan, October 7, 2023).
  • Saleh al-‘Arouri, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, who apparently helped plan the attack, claimed it was the result of “attempts to desecrate al-Aqsa Mosque.” He claimed they had information that “the IDF was preparing to attack the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria immediately after the holidays” and for that reason they were preparing to “protect the Palestinians.” He tried to mobilize the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and appealed to them to actively participate in the attack and escalate their activities against the IDF and the Jewish settlers (Shehab, October 7, 2023). He added that the “resistance” [the Palestinian terrorist organizations] planned to continue the campaign and had a sufficient number of living and dead captives to free all the Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails (al-Aqsa TV, October 7, 2023).
  • Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, who resides in Qatar, issued a press release claiming that the “Palestinian resistance” [terrorist organizations] was conducting a “campaign” for al-Aqsa Mosque, the holy places and the prisoners. According to Haniyeh, the main reasons for the campaign were the “criminal Zionist aggression” against al-Aqsa Mosque, which had reached its peak in the last few days, Israel’s [alleged] intention to surprise them and escalate the aggression against the Gaza Strip, the continuation of Israel’s [alleged] “relentless aggression” in Judea and Samaria, the killings and murders among Israeli Arabs, the decades-long detention of Palestinian prisoners, and violating agreements by rearresting the Palestinians freed in the Gilad Shalit exchange deal. He also claimed that the campaign which began in the Gaza Strip would spread to Judea and Samaria and beyond, to wherever there were Palestinians. Later, he gave a speech in which he said Hamas had been holding four prisoners,[5] and Israel refused to respond to the mediators for their release even after the “resistance” had said more than once that “the price would rise,” and now the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades and the “resistance” had a large number of hostages (Hamas Telegram channel, October 7, 2023).
The Hamas leadership, led by Haniyeh and al-'Arouri, celebrates the invasion by giving thanks to Allah (Hamas Telegram channel, October 7, 2023)
The Hamas leadership, led by Haniyeh and al-‘Arouri, celebrates the invasion by giving thanks to Allah (Hamas Telegram channel, October 7, 2023)
Judea, Samaria and the Palestinian Authority (PA)
  • So far, Hamas’ efforts to enlist the participation of terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria have been unsuccessful. However, throughout Judea and Samaria Palestinians celebrated: armed terrorists held marches, pastries were distributed in the streets to passersby and there were chants of encouragement to continue fighting. Some of the “demonstrations” developed into riots with Israeli security forces; five Palestinian deaths were reported (Ma’an, October 8, 2023). Following the events, a general strike was declared throughout Judea and Samaria (Ma’an, October 2023).
 Solidarity march in the center of Ramallah (Shehab Telegram channel, October 7, 2023).    Lion's Den operatives march in Nablus (Palestine Post Twitter account, October 7, 2023).
Right: Lion’s Den operatives march in Nablus (Palestine Post Twitter account, October 7, 2023). Left: Solidarity march in the center of Ramallah (Shehab Telegram channel, October 7, 2023).
Celebration in the Jenin refugee camp (Twitter account of @fouadkhreiss, October 7, 2023)
Celebration in the Jenin refugee camp (Twitter account of @fouadkhreiss, October 7, 2023)
  • The PA government accused Israel of responsibility [sic] and is acting on the “diplomatic level.” Mahmoud Abbas received a phone call from Antony Blinken, the American Secretary of State, in which Mahmoud Abbas claimed the main reason for the “escalation” was the lack of a political horizon and the denial of Palestinian rights. He called for an end to the “ongoing Israeli escalation” against the Palestinians and “aggression” against Muslim and Christian holy sites, especially al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that the Palestinian people had given advance warning of its reaction. Blinken told him the United States was working with all parties to stop the “escalation” (Wafa, October 7, 2023). Mahmoud Abbas also had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron (Emmanuel Macron’s Twitter account, October 7, 2023; elasemawelnas.com, October 8, 2023).
  • PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh spoke on the phone with Joseph Borrell, the president of the European Union Council and its foreign minister. Shtayyeh noted the need for political and “non-security solutions” to the Palestinian issue and claimed the Palestinians had to be protected from “the crimes committed by the occupation soldiers and its settlers.” He claimed Israel was fully responsible for events and the Palestinians had the right “to defend themselves.” He also claimed the events were the natural result of “the arrogance of Israel’s power and its insistence on committing terrible crimes against the Palestinians” (Wafa, October 7, 2023).
  • The PA submitted a request to the Arab League for an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers as soon as possible to stop the “Israeli escalation” in the Gaza Strip and to provide the Palestinians with protection (al-Quds, October 8, 2023).
  • In the meantime, the PA is working to help the Gaza Strip. Muhammad Shtayyeh reported that on Mahmoud Abbas’ orders he had instructed the PA ministries to provide the residents of the Gaza Strip with all the necessary assistance (Wafa, October 7, 2023).
The Northern Arena
  • In response to the events of October 7, 2023, a number of Hezbollah operatives on motorcycles approached the fence near Metulla and fired shots into the air. IDF forces shot at them and they retreated. On October 8, 2023, mortar shells were fired at Mount Dov. Unlike previous attacks from Lebanon, this time Hezbollah claimed responsibility. A message on the Telegram channel of Hezbollah’s combat information unit claimed that as part of liberating the “remaining occupation Lebanese territories,” and as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinian “resistance,” Shaheed Hajj Imad Mughnieh squads had attacked three Israeli posts in the Shebaa Farms area with artillery fire and anti-tank missiles (Telegram channel of the Hezbollah’s combat information unit, October 8, 2023).
  • In response, the IDF fired artillery at the source of the fire from Lebanon and Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked Hezbollah facilities in the Mount Dov area (IDF spokesman, October 8, 2023). According to reports, two residents from the village of Shuba were injured (al-Nashra, October 8, 2023). Among the targets attacked by the IDF was a tent erected by Hezbollah in the Mount Dov area, which was destroyed. It was later reported that the tent had been rebuilt (photojournalist Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, October 8, 2023).
IDF attack in the Mount Dov area (IDF website, October 8, 2023)    IDF attack in the Mount Dov area (IDF website, October 8, 2023)
IDF attack in the Mount Dov area (IDF website, October 8, 2023)
  • UNIFIL forces said in a statement that they had monitored the attacks against the Israeli outposts and Israel’s response and were in contact with all the relevant parties to contain the situation and avoid escalation (al-Nashra, October 8, 2023).
Terrorist Attack in Egypt
  • In the meantime, a security source in Egypt reported that a police officer stationed in the Manshiyya area of Alexandria randomly shot at a group of Israeli tourists visiting the area, killing two as well as an Egyptian; the shooter was caught (al-Masry al-Youm, October 8, 2023). The attack may have been inspired by the events in southern Israel.
The Arab Arena
  • The IDF activity in the Gaza Strip has been largely condemned at the regional and inter-Arab level, led by Qatar, which demanded an end to Israel’s “violations.”
Iran
  • General Mohammed Bakri, the chief of staff of the Iranian Army, said Operation al-Aqsa Storm had turned the nightmare of Israel’s collapse into a certainty for the country’s leaders. He said no “ridiculous” efforts at normalization could slow down the process of decline and collapse of “the spider’s web’s” [a phrase often used by Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah] (Tasnim, October 8, 2023).
  • Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, Iranian foreign minister, spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart, Hakhan Fidan. Abdollahian claimed that the “resistance” action was the “spontaneous” result of Israel’s “ongoing crimes” against “Palestine.” He emphasized the need for solidarity and unity among the Islamic countries in support of Jerusalem and the “oppressed” Palestinian people (IRNA, October 8, 2023).
  • Ali Shamkhani, the political advisor to Iran’s supreme leader and a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, issued a message supporting the invasion of Israel, claiming that Operation al-Aqsa Storm was an example of a “legitimate defense” [sic] against the “criminal occupation regime.” The post on Twitter was also published in Hebrew, Russian, English and Arabic (Ali Shamkhani’s Twitter account, October 8, 2023).
Ali Shamkhani's message (Ali Shamkhani's Twitter account, October 8, 2023)
Ali Shamkhani’s message (Ali Shamkhani’s Twitter account, October 8, 2023)
Saudi Arabia
  • Faisal bin Farrakhan, the Saudi foreign minister, spoke with Antony Blinken, the American secretary of state, to discuss developments. According to the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry, the minister stated that action had to be taken to stop the escalation immediately and emphasized that Saudi Arabia condemned any form of harm to innocents. He also emphasized that both sides had to respect international humanitarian law (al-Arabiya, October 7, 2023).
Egypt
  • According to reports, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was following the events from Egypt’s strategic crisis management center and had called for increased efforts to contain the events and prevent further escalation (Extra News, October 7, 2023).
El-Sisi following the events in Gaza and the surrounding area (Extra News, October 7, 2023)
El-Sisi following the events in Gaza and the surrounding area (Extra News, October 7, 2023)
Turkey
  • The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called on Israel and the Palestinians to prevent escalation and act rationally and not be impulsive, which could raise the level of tension (NEWS9, October 7, 2023).
Demonstrations of support
  • Rallies and demonstrations of support and solidarity with the Gaza Strip were held in several cities, including Karak in Jordan (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023) and Rabat, the capital of Morocco (al-Andalou News, October 8, 2023). In Basra in Iraq there was a small demonstration of support organized by members of the Hezbollah Battalions, a pro-Iranian militia (al-Sumaria, October 7, 2023).
 Support demonstration in Basra (al-Sumaria, October 7, 2023)    Outbreak of joy Karak (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023).
Right: Outbreak of joy Karak (Shehab Twitter account, October 8, 2023). Left: Support demonstration in Basra (al-Sumaria, October 7, 2023)
The West
UN activity
  • Stéphane Dujarric spokesman for the UN secretary general, said UN Secretary General António Guterres strongly condemned the Hamas attack on Israeli cities (UN website, October 7, 2023) On October 8, 2023, at 10:00 p.m., the UN Security Council is scheduled to convene to discuss the events in Gaza (Times of Israel, October 7, 2023).
United States
  • United States President Joe Biden expressed support for Israel and emphasized that Israel had the right to fully defend itself and its citizens, noting there was no justification for terrorism. He said the United States stood by Israel and would do everything to enable Israel to defend itself. He also sent a message to the countries of the region stating that it was not the moment to take advantage of the situation (il.usembassy.gov, October 7, 2023).
Britain
  • British Secretary of State James Cleverly strongly condemned the Hamas terrorist attack which included murder, kidnapping and firing thousands of rockets, noting that they recognized Israel’s right to self-defense (Sky News, October 7, 2023).
France
  • French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog, and expressed his support for Israel. He also tweeted that he condemned the attacks from Gaza against Israel, its soldiers and residents, and that France expressed solidarity with Israel and the Israeli people. France, he said, was committed to their safety and their right to defend themselves. Macron also spoke with Najib Mikati, the prime minister of Lebanon’s interim government (Emmanuel Macron’s Twitter account, October 7, 2023; elasemawelnas.com, October 8, 2023).
Germany
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that Germany stood by Israel and condemned the attacks (deutschland.de, October 7, 2023).
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada strongly condemned the terrorist attack against Israel, stating that Canada stood by Israel and fully supported its right to defend itself (Justin Trudeau’s Twitter account, October 7, 2023 ).

[1] Simchat Torah is the Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle; the Torah comprises the first five books of the Old Testament.
[2] Pursuant to Article 8(2)(b)(ix) and (e)(iv) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[i]ntentionally directing attacks against … hospitals and places where the sick and the wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives” constitutes a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts. https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/customary-ihl/v2/rule28#:~:text=Pursuant%20to%20Article%208(2,and%20non%2Dinternational%20armed%20conflicts.
[3] The Hamas high command does not sleep at home, but rather in a bunker located directly below the Shifaa Hospital in western Gaza City.
[4] Observant Jews go to Jerusalem to pray on three holidays, Passover, Shavuot and Succot.
[5] I.e., the bodies of soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and two Israeli citizens, and Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are believed to be alive.