Iran’s clerical regime is openly supporting the horror which has seen over 1,000 Israelis wounded and up to 150 dead in less than one day in a huge terror attack.
In a press briefing on Saturday evening, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Richard Hecht was clear that the blame for the bloody and barbaric barrage in which even women and children have been taken hostage, lies with the Iranian regime, which has long been a supporter of the Gaza-based group.
“Iran has tentacles everywhere” he said when asked if the Iranian regime was considered the root cause of the attacks which over Saturday have so far seen an estimated 150 Israeli deaths, possibly dozens of civilians taken hostage and hundreds more wounded. The IDF refrained from sharing numbers.
Last year in an interview with Al Jazeera, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh publicly thanked Tehran for supporting it with $70 million to help it develop missiles and defense systems, saying the regime is the terror group’s biggest donor.
While Hamas – designated as a terrorist group by countries including the UK and US – announced they had launched more than 5,000 rockets, the IDF claim the number is closer to 3,000 but attacks continued into Saturday evening.
From 6am on Saturday, dozens of militants, many armed with RPGs, entered the country by land, sea and air attacking civilians in their homes, and invading military bases near the border.
Horrific images shared by Hamas on Telegram show civilians and soldiers being taken hostage, murdered and dragged through the streets of Gaza to baying crowds.
Members of Iran’s parliament were shown on state television rising from their seats to chant “death to Israel” as bells of celebration rang in Tehran.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was also quoted by ISNA supporting the terror proxy: “In this operation, the element of surprise and other combined methods were used, which show the Palestinian people’s confidence in the face of the occupiers.”
Iranian state media reported celebrations in Tehran including fireworks and street parties on Saturday evening. The mural at Tehran’s Palestine Square was also changed in support of the militia’s operation.
Yahya Rahim Safavi, an adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei voiced unequivocal support for the terror proxy on Saturday, saying ”We will stand by the Palestinian fighters until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”
The IDF claims it is “ready for a long long event” after Hamas declared war in an attack on civilians like nothing witnessed in the country’s history. An aggressive deployment of troops has followed, and the response is as yet being discussed, though the IDF says it will be “severe” given the terrorist nature of the attack which has even seen children and elderly taken hostage both in their homes in Israel and smuggled across the border bank to Gaza.
Coinciding with the 50-year anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, in which Israel was invaded in a multi-front attack in the worst war in its history, Hecht said while the unraveling events should not be compared to the war which saw Israel attacked from multiple Arab nations, Saturday’s is “a bad bad event”.
Fears are that the offensive will become a multi-front attack as was seen earlier this year with rockets launched from Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. Just last month, the leaders of Iran’s Palestinian proxies, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, met with the Supreme Leader in Tehran, showing an increasing unity forming between the groups as the regime rallies them to action against its archenemy.
Fellow Iran-backed proxy, Hezbollah, issued a statement in support of the invasion, which also included drones, the regime’s speciality weapon, claiming it was in direct contact with Hamas and other proxy groups.
In its statement, Hezbollah claimed the attacks were a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalization with Israel”, in a barbed attack on Saudi Arabia, whose relations have been ramping up in recent weeks amid talk of a US-brokered deal.
Israel is “prepared for an escalation in the north”, said Hecht, who also admitted that the country is braced for a long battle as Hamas has “a massive amount of missiles”, calling it “early days” with hundreds of militants involved, funded by Tehran.
The US was quick to show its support of Israel. President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him he supports the Jewish state’s right to defend itself, while US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Austin said of the attacks which fell on both the holy Sabbath and the Jewish festival of Simchat Torah: “Over the coming days the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.”
However, the support will be met with questions after a deal to free US-Iranian hostages has just allowed the release of $6bn of frozen Iranian funds, which many argue will be reinvested into the regime’s military operations at home and abroad.
As of Saturday evening, fighting was ongoing in 22 locations, with large swathes of Israel in bomb shelters as the situation unfolds.