By Saturday afternoon (local time), some 200 Palestinians had been killed, with over 1600 wounded, as the Israeli military began its response to the ‘invasion’ of southern Israel launched by Hamas.
After about ten hours of fighting, over 40 Israelis have been reported killed and over 800 wounded. Hamas has also captured possibly scores of Israeli soldiers and civilians, including what it says are IDF military commanders.
What’s becoming clear, given the shocking scenes currently coming out of southern Israel, is that this is set to be the biggest and most devastating Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades.
It appears at the very least, we are in the midst of a third intifada. But one big question will linger in the coming days and weeks as Israel is sure to escalate its response into a ground invasion Gaza: will the war escalate beyond Gaza and southern Israel?
Already both Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran have sent “congratulations” messages to Hamas and the Palestinians. Hezbollah’s statement in particular condemned Arab states who have normalized relations with the Jewish state.
The Wall Street Journal reports on Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s statement as follows:
Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which, like Palestinian militant groups, also vows Israel’s destruction, praised the operation by Hamas inside Israel, according to Arab media.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said it served as a warning against recognising Israel.
“It sends a message to the Arab and Islamic world and the international community as a whole, especially those seeking normalisation with this enemy, that the Palestinian cause is an everlasting one, alive until victory and liberation,” Nasrallah said in a statement.
At the moment, Israel’s northern border with Hezbollah remains quiet, but if a shooting war starts out of southern Lebanon, Israel will find itself in a war on two fronts.
Already, there are allegations from Western pundits that Iran is financing this expanded Hamas operation…
در این ویدیو که تروریستهای فلسطینی در حال انتقال یک زن اسراییلی گروگان گرفته شده هستند یک نفر به فارسی در ثانیه ۵۹ فریاد میزند: «زنگ بزن زنگ بزن» که تاییدیست بر حضور نیروهای جمهوری اسلامی(سپاه قدس)در عملیات تروریستی علیه اسراییل. pic.twitter.com/sPFLKn1lKQ— Naser Khoshnevis (@khoshnevisnaser) October 7, 2023
Below: while we couldn’t make out any Farsi in the audio of the below disturbing footage, allegations like IRGC operatives being involved will only grow…
A lot happening right now, but Hamas couldn't have conducted this complex an operation without serious planning and intelligence assistance from Iran. The response from Israel won't be—and can't be—the limited, restrained operations people are used to seeing.— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) October 7, 2023
A potential broader war could also draw in Syria, given that Israeli jets have already struck the country almost on a weekly basis. Israel has long said it is attacking Iranian targets and assets inside Syria.
If Hezbollah and Israel enter a war, this would increase the likelihood of it expanding into already war-torn Syria.