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How the Hammas staged the lighting assault

How Hamas staged lightning assault Bangkok one

Numerous Israeli citizens were asleep when the unprecedented and meticulously coordinated attack initiated at the break of dawn. Considering it was the Jewish Sabbath and a sacred festival day, families were planning to spend time together at home or in synagogues while friends gathered. However, the tranquility was shattered as a volley of rockets pierced the sky, revealing vulnerabilities in Israel’s fortified barrier with the Gaza Strip. Through the analysis of footage captured by militants and civilians on the ground, BBC News has pieced together how Hamas orchestrated their most sophisticated assault from Gaza.

Around 06:30 local time, the rockets took flight, as Hamas, an Islamist militant organization designated as a terrorist group globally, frequently employs this tactic. Despite the challenges posed by Israel’s advanced Iron Dome missile defense system, the large quantity of rudimentary rockets launched in a short span aimed to overwhelm it. This scale suggests extensive planning and accumulation of munitions. Hamas claims to have fired 5,000 rockets in the initial round (although Israel disputes this, stating half that number).

Air raid sirens began sounding in locations as far as Tel Aviv, 60km (38 miles) from Gaza, and western Jerusalem. Smoke billowed above towns hit directly by the rockets. Simultaneously, fighters gathered at strategic points to breach the heavily fortified Gaza barrier. Although Israel withdrew its troops and residents from Gaza in 2005, it still maintains control over its airspace, shared border, and coastline. In addition to regular patrols and a network of cameras and sensors to prevent incursions, the barrier consists of concrete walls and fences.

In a remarkable display, Hamas attempted various methods to breach the barrier. This included flying over it using paragliders (unverified footage showed at least seven paragliders over Israeli territory) and crossing by boat. The Israel Defense Forces repulsed two such attempts made by Hamas to land vessels on the beach. Nevertheless, the distinguishing feature of this attack lies in the coordinated and direct assaults on the barrier crossing points. At approximately 05:50 local time, images from the ground were posted on a Hamas-affiliated Telegram account, portraying militants overpowering a checkpoint and the lifeless bodies of two Israeli soldiers. Another image depicted militants riding motorcycles through a hole cut in the wire fence section of the barrier.

At a less guarded section, a bulldozer was observed demolishing a stretch of barbed wire-topped fencing. There, dozens of seemingly unarmed individuals gathered, with some making a dash through the breach. At Erez, the northernmost Gaza crossing, approximately 43.4km (27 miles) from Kerem Shalom, footage posted by Hamas propaganda channels captured an explosion at the concrete barrier, serving as a signal for the assault. A militant then appeared, directing a group of fighters towards the blast site. Eight individuals clad in bulletproof vests and armed with rifles sprinted towards the heavily fortified checkpoint, engaging Israeli troops in gunfire.

Later in the video, militants were seen securing the compound, moving systematically from room to room. These coordinated movements and trained actions were clear indicators. Despite Israel controlling six out of the seven official crossings between Gaza and Israel (the Egyptian one is controlled by Cairo), Hamas managed to find numerous entry points along the barrier within hours.

Hamas fighters dispersed in all directions, penetrating multiple locations with apparent instructions to execute on sight. Ofakim, situated 22.5km (14 miles) east of Gaza, witnessed the furthest incursion. In Sderot, militants confidently rode in the back of a pickup truck through the town, located approximately 3km (1.8 miles) east of Gaza. In nearby Ashkelon, just north of the recently stormed Erez crossing, around a dozen armed fighters navigated the empty streets. Such scenes unfolded across southern Israel, prompting civilians to seek refuge indoors. At a music festival near Re’im, gunmen indiscriminately fired upon a large gathering of young people in the desert. Witnesses described militants traversing the area in a van laden with weapons, meticulously searching for additional targets.

Hostages were subsequently taken from the festival and other locations, transported back into Gaza. Israel reports the abduction of approximately 100 soldiers and civilians. Verified footage from the town of Be’ri shows militants coercing around four civilians to leave with them. Several videos circulating online depict injured Israelis being paraded through the crowded streets of Gaza. Unverified, graphic footage also captures atrocious acts, including a motorist being forcibly removed from their vehicle and having their throat slit. Additionally, the bodies of deceased individuals, both civilians and soldiers, were desecrated.

In addition to targeting Israeli communities, Hamas launched assaults on two military installations: Zikim and Re’im. Footage near Re’im unveiled the aftermath with burnt-out cars strewn along the road leading to the base. The exact casualties resulting from the fighting remain unclear. Hamas’s social media channels have frequently circulated images of deceased Israeli soldiers, which BBC News has not verified. Within a few short hours of the rocket barrage, hundreds of Israeli individuals lost their lives, surpassing anyone’s expectations. Assistance swiftly arrived in the southern region, but for a brief period, Hamas effectively held control over territories beyond Gaza. The speed and lethality of this surprise attack have left Israel stunned, and lingering questions about how such an event transpired will persist for years. By mid-morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “We are at war.”

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SOURCE: http://bbc.com

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