SATURDAY’S ATTACK ON Israel by Hamas was unprecedented in its scale and level of infiltration into Israeli territory.
In the early hours of the morning, Hamas unleashed a massive wave of rockets and missiles towards Israeli settlements and towns – over 20 target areas – including Tel Aviv.
To fire an indiscriminate barrage of such projectiles toward civilian targets constitutes a war crime. It is forbidden under international law to deliberately target civilians and civilian ‘objects’ in artillery or air strikes.
The large number of missiles – Hamas claims 5000 projectiles and drones in the first wave – was designed to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile shield.
Hamas, along with Hezbollah in Lebanon, have a track record in firing missiles into Israeli territory.
However, as the salvoes of missiles were fired, approximately 1,000 heavily armed Hamas fighters swarmed a number of checkpoints in the fortified perimeter between Gaza and Israel.
Israeli troops were overwhelmed – killed in firefights – at Erez, Kisufim and Kerem Shalom crossing points. They also breached perimeter fences and poured across the border into Israel in pick-up trucks, on motorcycles and on foot.
The scale of this infiltration is unprecedented. Hamas fighters rapidly moved east, rampaging through the towns and settlements of Sderot, Yad Mordechai, Kfar Aza, Yated, Kissufim, Be’eri – penetrating as far east as Ofakim, 22 km from Gaza.
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) troops were taken completely by surprise – Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath day, and was also the Jewish festival of Sukkot.
Gaza is under constant surveillance by air, satellite and a myriad of observation and listening posts operated by the IDF and security agencies such as Mossad.
The fact that Hamas achieved surprise and such a large movement of people, weapons and such a concentrated missile and drone assault prompts serious questions about Israel’s security readiness. Israeli military and political spokespersons are referring to Saturday’s operation as........