Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first public statement following the surprise attack by Islamic Hamas on Saturday, said that the nation is “at war” and will extract an unprecedented price from its enemy.

“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 countrymen in a televised address.

“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 is currently being carried out,” he said in his first public comment since the attack began in the morning.

Local media reports said that some 200 Israelis have been injured and several killed in the attacks since the morning, with some reports saying that as per Israel police estimates some 60 infiltrators have been located across 14 different locations.

Unconfirmed reports of people being taken hostages and also kidnapping of soldiers have been doing the rounds, but they remain unverified.

“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,” Netanyahu warned as the Israeli army called for mobilisation of reservists.

“In the meantime, I call on the citizens of Israel to strictly adhere to the directives of the IDF and Home Front Command. We are at war, and we will win it,” Netanyahu asserted.

The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip carried out the unprecedented attack on Israel at daybreak, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land and sea and caught the country off-guard on a major holiday. A senior commander from Hamas has claimed that thousands of rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel.

The serious invasion on Simchat Torah revived painful memories of the 1973 war practically 50 years to the day, in which Israel’s enemies launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur.

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