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A woman and a child escape a site hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas initiated a major attack on Israel. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

PRAY: Israel Is at War - Palestinians Invade, Murder 700+ Jews, Take 30+ Hostage

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At least 700 Israelis have been murdered and at least 1,000 left wounded by an invasion by hundreds of Palestinian terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Most of the Israeli casualties are civilians, including many women and children.

More than 30 Israelis have also been taken hostage and dragged back into Gaza by the terrorists. Jewish women, children, and the elderly are also among the hostages, as well as U.S. citizens.

Along Israel's northern border, Iranian-backed Hezbollah also joined the war, firing dozens of rockets and shells into Israel. But that battlefront appears to have subsided as Israel focuses heavily on Gaza which is the headquarters of the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist group.  

Cars burn after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a residential building in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. The rockets were fired as Hamas invaded and murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)


"Israel is at war," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced after Israelis woke up under attack by air, land, and sea on Saturday, their Sabbath.

Sirens blared as thousands of rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip attempted to pummel the Jewish state, and Israelis ran for bomb shelters early on Saturday. By evening, Gaza terrorists had launched roughly 3,000 rockets at Israel.  At the same time, a combined offensive including truckloads of dozens of armed terrorists infiltrated through the border into southern Israel by land, paragliders entered by air, and others by sea.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war, not in an operation or in rounds, but at war. This morning, Hamas launched a murderous surprise attack against the State of Israel and its citizens. We have been in this since the early morning hours,” Netanyahu told his nation.

“I convened the heads of the security establishment and ordered – first of all – to clear out the communities that have been infiltrated by terrorists. This currently is being carried out,” he said. “At the same time, I have ordered an extensive mobilization of reserves and that we return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known. The enemy will pay an unprecedented price,” he added.

“We are at war and we will win it.”

Some areas were reported to have fallen under complete control of Hamas.  By evening, the IDF was still fighting terrorists in 22 locations inside Israel.

From about 6:30 a.m., sirens blared first in southern Israel around the Gaza Strip and then in the Negev Desert, Tel Aviv area cities, and Jerusalem. 

Many of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system. But there are reports of rockets having landed inside populated areas.  Israel’s State-run public broadcaster KAN mentioned unconfirmed reports of Israeli soldiers kidnapped and taken into Gaza. 

Media reports said dozens, dead or alive is unknown, had been taken hostage and carried into Gaza.

One casualty was named as the Mayor of Sha’ar HaNegev, Ofir Libstein, who spoke at the recent International Christian Embassy Feast of Tabernacles celebration.

As of late morning, fighting was taking place inside two IDF bases and a number of southern Israeli communities, with residents locked in their houses as fighting was going on around them.

An Israeli soldier stands by the bodies of Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists who invaded from the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

According to military spokesman, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, Israel has launched Operation Swords of Iron.

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “special security situation" in Israel’s home front within about 50 miles of the Gaza Strip enabling the IDF “to provide civilians with safety instructions and close relevant sites.”

“The Hamas [terrorist organization] has made a grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel. IDF troops are fighting against the enemy at every location,” Gallant said.

“I call on all of Israel’s citizens to follow security instructions. The State of Israel will win this war,” he said.

Palestinians celebrate by a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip fence east of Khan Younis southern Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Eslaiah)

Hecht said that Israel was also prepared on the northern border in the event of an attack from the north.

“The Hamas terrorist organization had begun a massive shooting of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, and terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “Civilians in the southern and central areas are required to stay next to shelters, and in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, inside shelters."

“The Hamas terrorist organization is the sovereign in the Gaza Strip and is responsible for this attack. It will face the consequences and responsibility for these events,” it warned.

Former IDF Spokesman, Jonathan Conricus tweeted:

“This is an unprecedented multidimensional attack on Israel designed to kill and abduct civilians and soldiers. Part of the Iranian network of terror. As the extent of Israeli casualties will be confirmed, I expect an Israeli response never seen before. This is just the beginning,” he said. CBN's Chris Mitchell spoke with Conricus earlier today about the attacks.

The attack comes at the end of the biblical Sukkot holiday. Known as Simchat Torah, it’s the day Jewish people celebrate the Word of God. 

It also comes one day after the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was taken off guard by a massive attack from an Arab coalition.

To give relief to victims of these devastating attacks, go to or text TERRORVICTIMS to 71777.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and