Hamas attack ‘worst security situation’ in Israel since 1973 Yom Kippur War: Expert

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The wide-ranging incursion launched by Hamas into Israel which ignited a bloody showdown between the militant group and Israeli forces is the “worst security situation” Israel has ever faced since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, an Israeli affairs expert told Al Arabiya English.

The flare up of tensions in Israel started on Saturday when Hamas launched an unexpected and unprecedented surprise attack. Supported by a barrage of rockets, Hamas militants breached the blockade from Gaza Strip into adjacent Israeli towns. This sudden incursion resulted in numerous casualties and abductions – over 1,600 dead and thousands more injured.

Israel, in response, launched airstrikes on targets in Gaza and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war with Hamas, vowing to exact an unparalleled cost on the militant group.

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“The brutal attack by Hamas is unprecedented and is different from any of the previous rounds of warfare in Gaza, also in numbers of losses and captives. It is the worst security situation Israel has faced since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the highest number of victims in one day,” Senior fellow for Israel Affairs at the Middle East Institute, Nimrod Goren, told Al Arabiya English.

The unprecedented attack raised questions regarding why Israel’s sophisticated border security failed to stop Hamas’ militants. Goren said: “There is anger and puzzlement in Israel regarding the attack – how was it not foreseen, and how was it not stopped much earlier.”

He added: “There is also anger at the Netanyahu government, which failed to protect its citizens and did not focus throughout the year on advancing Israel's real national interests. At the moment, though, the focus is on minimizing damage, helping those in need, seeking ways to release the captives, and getting the upper hand.”

On Sunday, Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for targeting Israeli sites in Shebaa Farms – considered by Lebanon as occupied by Israel – using missiles and artillery. Tel Aviv responded to the attacks by firing artillery at the area in Lebanon from which the strike originated.

The IDF said: “In response to a Hezbollah attack from Lebanon into Israel, IDF Artillery struck targets in the area. An IDF UAV also struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in the area of Mount Dov.”

This has raised concerns over the possibility of Hezbollah getting directly involved in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. A senior Hamas official said that Hezbollah “will join the battle if Gaza is subjected to a war of annihilation.”

Goren stated: “Developments along Israel's northern border raise concern of a possible spillover of the events to Lebanon - meaning, Hezbollah joining the warfare. Israel is taking necessary precautions and is encouraged by the clear US commitment of support and of supplying military aid.”

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