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CNN 10

Surprise Attack on Israel. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 09, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to CNN 10. It`s Monday, October 9th. Thank you for spending part of your day with us. I`m Coy Wire.

And we start with news that broke over the weekend on Saturday, marking a dark day in the history of Israel. The Islamist militant group, Hamas,

launched a surprise attack on Israel. The assault began early in the morning with Hamas firing thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip into

neighboring Israel.

The militants then entered into Israel, broke into homes and claimed to capture dozens of Israelis. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

said, Israel is now at war with Hamas after this deadly and unprecedented surprise blitz.

Israel Defense Forces or IDF responded with their own airstrikes targeting Hamas inside the Gaza Strip. Hundreds on both sides of the conflict have

died from the attack. Thousands more have been injured, but those numbers continue to rise.

The Gaza Strip is an area that`s only about 25 miles long along the Mediterranean sea. It`s surrounded by Egypt to its west and Israel to its

east. It has been hotly disputed for decades. Hamas is now in control of the territory, but Israel controls most of the access to and from the Gaza


Before we continue with more on this latest conflict, CNN`s Nic Robertson explains the history of Gaza and the tensions in this region.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Gaza is only about 25 miles long and seven miles wide. But this small strip of land is one of the

most fought over in history. It was an Egyptian base, a raw city of the Philistines and the place where the Hebrew hero Samson betrayed by Delilah

met his death, since then much blood has been spilled.

The most recent contest for Gaza began at the end of World War II when persecuted Jews traveled to Israel from Europe, looking for a new start

after the horrors of the Holocaust. In 1947, the U.N. created a plan to split Israel into two countries, one for Jews and one for the Arab people.

Backed by the U.S. president Harry S. Truman, David Ben-Gurion, Israel`s Founder, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Egypt

then attacked Israel through the Garza Strip. Israel was victorious, but Gaza remained under the control of Egypt and an influx of Palestinian

refugees began.

In 1967, war broke out between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in what became known as the six-day war. Israel seized the Gaza Strip and held it

for about 40 years. In 2006, Hamas, the groups sworn to destroy Israel and listed by the United States, European and Union and others as a terrorist

group won a landslide victory in Palestinian, legislative elections and Israel unilaterally pulled its forces out of Gaza that year.

Hamas was now in control of the territory. However, Israel still controls much of the area`s access to and from the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israel

and Hamas have been exchanging blows. Israel maintains Hamas as a violent terror organization. While Hamas says they represent an oppressed people

being victimized by the Jewish state. The international community continues to press for a cease in violence, but for now the Strip`s population of 1.8

million people are trapped in the crossfire.


WIRE: This surprise attack on Israel over the weekend came 50 years and one day since another attack known as the Yom Kippur War. Israel has since

spent billions to create one of the world`s most formidable security systems. But in this case, the Israeli government appeared to be caught off

guard. And the moment is seen as a massive intelligence failure. So why this most recent attack?

Hamas says the assault on Israel was in part to defend the holy site, the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, in response to what they claim are attacks on

it. And the desecration of it, as well as they say, an ongoing siege of Gaza. The holy site compound is one of the most revered places in Islam and

Judaism. The sacred grounds known to Muslims as noble sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount have been a flash point of tensions between Israel and

the Palestinians for decades.

Clashes have frequently broken out at the site between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli forces. Police rated the compound several times over

the last year. Violence has been particularly heightened this year. The number of Palestinians, both militants and civilians killed in the West

Bank by Israeli forces is at its highest in nearly two decades. Let`s go now to CNN`s Tom Foreman, to better understand how Hamas forces attacked

Israel this past weekend.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This extraordinary series of attacks began at 6:30 in the morning, when Israel was asleep with this massive barrage of

rockets flowing out of Gaza. Note that this would be the level at which their most rudimentary rockets would hit about 6 miles or so. Then you

reach out to maybe 25 miles and their most advanced rockets, the ones that would most seem to rely probably on some technology beyond them.

Iran has many intelligence people would say, would reach up here to Tel Aviv, that`s about 45 miles from here. Whatever the placement of them was,

though, there were an awful lot of them. We don`t have an exact count, but it appears to be in the thousands. That would matter because that would

make it easier to overwhelm Israel`s missile defense system, the Iron Dome system, and make sure that some got through, even if many were stopped.

More importantly, by doing this, all indications are that laid the groundwork for what came next. At 7:40, an hour and 10 minutes later,

that`s when armed soldiers, fighters started coming out of Gaza into Israel, some by knocking down walls and barriers here, some coming in by

air with powered parachutes, some by boats going around here. This was something again, that indicated it was a very planned attack.



ROBERTSON (voice-over): In the early hours of Saturday, Israelis woke to a sudden assault from Gaza militants. The surprise attack, claimed by the

Palestinian militant group Hamas, a complex and massive operation, marking a steep escalation of hostilities. The attack began with a huge barrage of

missiles fired from Gaza.

Thousands of rockets, some making direct hits on targets across southern Israel. Under the cover of the missiles, a large-scale infiltration began

as Hamas militants crossed by land, sea, and air, even using paragliders to cross into Israel.

Videos from border crossing stations show Hamas fighters storming into Israeli territory. A few miles away in the border town of Sderot, Hamas was

seen driving and opening fire at civilians. The gunmen tore through the streets, leaving a trail of casualties behind. The full extent of the

casualties is unclear, but hundreds have been killed and more than a thousand injured on both sides.

During the raid, some fighters also took Israelis as hostages. Israel quickly retaliated, hitting multiple targets along the Gaza Strip. In Gaza

City, two high rise buildings collapsed after an airstrike. The unrest continuing late into the night, with both sides trading rocket fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unwavering in his message that Israel is at war with Hamas.


WIRE: So what happens next? For his part, Israel Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that his country will quote, "take mighty

vengeance." And the Israeli security cabinet has officially declared a state of war. But Israel is not only keeping a close eye on the Gaza Strip,

but also two others in the Middle East region, which includes one of its chief rivals, Iran. Iran has already sent congratulatory remarks on this

attack and support for Hamas.

Another nation in the Middle East that could be seen as a key factor in bringing possible mediation between Hamas and Israel is Qatar. Qatar, which

is a backer of Hamas released this statement saying, quote, "The ministry of foreign affairs held Israel solely responsible for the ongoing

escalation due to its continuous violations of the rights of the Palestinian people." Many countries have condemned this current attack as

an act of terror. Hamas has over the years, claimed many attacks on Israel and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States,

the European union and Israel.

On Saturday, President Biden said his administration`s support of Israel`s security is quote, "rock solid and unwavering." And that Israel has the

right to defend itself and its people. Big questions now remain. And CNN is closely monitoring the situation and the responses from those involved in

the region and around the world.

We`ll keep you posted right here with continued coverage as events unfold, that`s all for today. We hope you have a strong start to your week and

we`ll see you right back here tomorrow.