Lebanon’s militant Islamic armed extremist group Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells early Sunday morning at three Israeli positions in a disputed area along the country’s border with Golan Heights in the north of Israel according to Times of Israel. They were doing so in support of Palestinian terror group Hamas, which launched a surprise attack the day before.
Israel formally declared war by invoking Article 40.
This is the first time the nation has done so since 1973. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized the declaration. The Israeli Defense Forces are authorized to deploy by air, sea and land "wherever it sees a threat to the country of Israel."
In a televised address Saturday night, Netanyahu said the military will use all of its strength to destroy Hamas’ capabilities. “All the places that Hamas hides in, operates from, we will turn them into ruins,” he added.
“Get out of there now,” he told Gaza residents in the tiny, overcrowded Mediterranean territory. Gaza’s 2.3 million people have endured a border blockade, enforced to varying degrees by Israel and Egypt, since Hamas militants seized control in 2007.
In Gaza, much of the population was thrown into darkness Saturday night as Israel cut off electricity. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that Israel has stopped supplying electricity to Gaza and will add fuel and goods to the list soon..
Hezbollah said in a statement that the attack using “large numbers of rockets and shells” was in solidarity with the “Palestinian resistance.”
The Lebanese terror group fired a number of projectiles at military sites in the contested Mount Dov region.
Israeli forces responded with artillery strikes into Lebanon and a drone attack on a Hezbollah post near the border, the military said.
The Israel Defense Forces also launched airstrikes against a Hezbollah tent established in Israeli territory and other infrastructure on the Lebanon border in response to mortar fire.
Hours later the IDF fired warning shots toward Hezbollah members who were attempting to rebuild the tent on the Lebanon border after it was bombed earlier in response to a mortar attack.
“A short while ago, the IDF fired warning shots toward a number of suspects in the area of the infrastructure that was struck earlier today in Mount Dov,” the military says in a statement.
A UN peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL deployed along Lebanon’s southern border and called for “everyone to exercise restraint” and make use of the force’s “liaison and coordination mechanisms to de-escalate” and prevent a fast deterioration of the security situation.
UNIFIL said it had detected several rockets fired from southeast Lebanon toward Israeli territory, followed by artillery fire from Israel toward Lebanon.
The statement came shortly after armed Islamacist terror group Hezbollah admitted to firing at the Israeli positions in the disputed Chebaa Farms area along the border with Golan Heights. The force said it is in contact with authorities on both sides of the border at all levels “to contain the situation and avoid a more serious escalation."
In the south of Israel overnight and into Sunday morning, IDF forces continued to clash with gunmen from Islamacist terrorist group Hamas only 24 hours after the militants launched a surprise attack on Israel in which about 500 people were killed, far more injured, in the deadliest day of violence in Israel for 50 years.
On Sunday, the IDF said its forces were fighting Hamas incursions in eight places. An Israeli military spokesperson said that two hostage situations had been “resolved,” but did not say whether all the hostages had been rescued alive. Israeli news outlets have reported that some of the hostages taken from the outdoor nature party were rescued.
Times of Israel reports that Israel Defense Forces’ top spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a press conference Sunday morning at 11 am local time that the military killed more than 400 Islamic terrorists in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, and captured dozens more, during the fighting that began yesterday.
He continued “As of this hour, there are forces fighting in [Kibbutz] Kfar Aza, there are searches in a large number of towns. There are IDF forces in all towns, there is no town that does not have an IDF force in it.”
Hagari says the IDF’s missions are to evacuate all residents from towns on the Gaza border, end the fighting in Israeli territory, control the breaches in the security barrier, and continue strikes against terror sites in the Strip.
Israel struck 426 targets in Gaza, its military said, flattening residential buildings in giant explosions. That included the 14-story Palestine Tower that held Hamas offices in central Gaza City and the home of the head of Hamas’s intelligence in the Gaza Strip.
The home was used as military infrastructure by the terror group. The military is currently continuing to carry out strikes across the Strip, per the IDF.
Israeli media said at least 300 people were killed and 1,500 wounded in Saturday’s attack, making it the deadliest in Israel in decades. Hamas fighters took an unknown number of civilians and soldiers captive into Gaza and a line of Israelis with missing relatives snaked outside a police station in central Israel to supply investigators with DNA samples and other means that could help identify their family members.