Readers may recall that we ended our first post-mortem to the war between Israel and Hamas by speculation if Iran would get dragged in:
Finally, there is some speculation that Iran may get dragged into what is rapidly emerging as the worst Middle-Eastern crisis in years, with various pro-Israeli hawks claiming that the Hamas attack would have only occurred with explicit Iranian backing. If Israel does indeed attack Iran, as it has hinted it would do for years, may we suggest you fill up your gas tank.
That speculation has been all but validated moments ago when the WSJ reported that "Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday", according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group.
Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions, the WSJ reported citing its Hamas and Hezbollah sources.
Details of the operation were refined during several meetings in Beirut attended by IRGC officers and representatives of four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon, they said.
At the same time, officials from the deep state blob - who have been desperate to appease both Iran and Venezuela in recent months in hopes of getting sanctions against the Tehran regime lifted so that it can officially supply extra oil to the US ahead of the 2024 elections (instead of just unofficially shipping oil to China), with Biden terrified what high gas prices may do to his reelection chances - say they haven’t seen evidence of Tehran’s involvement. In an interview with CNN that aired Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship.” This was echoed by an U.S. official of the meetings who said that “We don’t have any information at this time to corroborate this account.”
A European official and an adviser to the Syrian government, however, both of whom are not bound by the price of oil in Nov 2024, gave the same account of Iran’s involvement in the lead-up to the attack as the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members.
Some more details from the WSJ:
A direct Iranian role would take Tehran’s long-running conflict with Israel out of the shadows, raising the risk of broader conflict in the Middle East. Senior Israeli security officials have pledged to strike at Iran’s leadership if Tehran is found responsible for killing Israelis.
The IRGC’s broader plan is to create a multi-front threat that can strangle Israel from all sides—Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the north and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, according to the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members and an Iranian official.
Whether or not Iran actually did help Hamas plan and execute the attack, and whether Mossad - the world's best intelligence agency - was really completely unaware of what was going on, is - for the time being - irrelevant. What matters is that the narrative is now being shaped so that the mainstream media will cast blame on Iran alongside Hamas, just as a US aircraft carrier arrives in the Gulf to provide support to Israel.
The geopolitical implications are staggering, but once again we repeat our advice from Saturday morning: fill up your gas tank now.
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Update(1345ET): For the first time since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the government of Israel has issued a formal and legal "declaration of war" after Saturday's devastating assault from Islamic militants out of Gaza, which according to the country's health ministry has left over 700 Israelis dead and thousands injured. Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer told CNN in a morning interview, "There will probably be more hundreds, several hundred more."
At least 350 have been killed on the Palestinian side, as a large-scale Israeli bombing campaign over Gaza ensues. Israeli officials are expected to embark on some kind of hostage rescue operation. According to Israeli media there are foreigners, likely including Americans, among the kidnapped hostages being held by Hamas and Islamic Jihad:
The Government Press Office, a body that operates under the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, said Sunday in a Facebook post that the number of hostages in Gaza was over 100.
Among the kidnapped were small children, the elderly, and foreign nationals including 11 Thais working on farms near the border. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the State Department was attempting to confirm reports that Americans had been killed or kidnapped.
Nonstop troop movements near the Gaza border. pic.twitter.com/CoQcDYxOq4— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) October 8, 2023
Currently, there are reports that internecine gunfire has erupted in different parts of Israel and the West Bank. Overnight there were also reports of sporadic shelling and exchanges of fire in the north, between Hezbollah and Israel's military.
Will a northern front open up? This would likely put Israel in an even greater state of panic as things spiral...
Below is a brief review of major events over the last several hours, courtesy of Academy SITREP:
- Early this morning, Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel firing thousands of rockets in a coordinated air and land assault.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country was now "at war” and has retaliated with massive airstrikes on Hamas targets.
- Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia organization that fought a war with Israel in 2006, said that it was monitoring the situation but has not yet pledged its support to join forces with Hamas in this attack on Israel.
- An adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that Iran supported the cross-border operation by Hamas, which is not surprising and could partially be in response to the ongoing Saudi Arabia /Israel diplomatic talks.
- Netanyahu has spoken with President Biden and Secretary of Defense Austin said that “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.”
- While still early, initial reports are coming in indicting over 40 Israelis have been killed along with hundreds more injured.
Fighting along Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip is ongoing Sunday:
Police publish footage of forces battling Hamas terrorists in southern Israel. At least 30 officers have been killed in the fighting. pic.twitter.com/6mE0nH2HB7— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 8, 2023
Meanwhile, US Neocons clamoring for war and escalation by saying an attack on Israel is an attack on America...
NO, STOP IT. This was a barbaric, savage attack on ISRAEL, not America.— David Reaboi, Late Republic Nonsense (@davereaboi) October 8, 2023
Glad you support Israel doing what it needs to do to defend itself—they’ll do it. That’s nice.
But stop universalizing every damn conflict and shoe-horning it into your basic ideological agenda. It’s… https://t.co/dnuwndYMLz
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Among the most shocking images to come out of Saturday's surprise deadly assault by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) out of Gaza was the scene of dozens of militants flying over the southern Israeli desert using motor-powered hang gliders.
Some of the first footage to go viral soon after the broader cross-border assault was of militants parachuting down into a crowd of thousands of unsuspecting young Israeli partiers who were enjoying a rave concert in the southern desert. Foreigners, including Europeans and possibly Americans were also in attendance. The surreal scene looks like something out of the 1980s movie "Red Dawn"...
NEW: Video shows Hamas terrorists paragliding into Israel during a festival.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) October 8, 2023
The terrorist reportedly entered the festival and began shooting those in attendance.
In response to the attacks by Hamas, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to “fight them to the bitter end.”… pic.twitter.com/w6doS5tA72
The above is being widely described as the moment it all started. The event was described as a "Music Festival for Peace" - ironically enough, but was very close to the Gaza border.
Possibly dozens of festival goers were abducted and others were killed. There were seen huddled in the back of large trucks and driven into Gaza by armed militants.
Others, more fortunate, later fled across the desert by foot - and made it to their vehicles, as the below additional footage shows...
Hamas militants paradropped with buggies right into southern Israel as an outdoor rave was going. pic.twitter.com/cL7ILigLv6— Russian Market (@runews) October 8, 2023
The whole paraglider aspect to the Hamas operation shows a high level of planning, coordination, and sophistication by the Gaza-based militant group. Many Western observers are questioning how Israel's celebrated Mossad intelligence organization could have missed it, given clearly the operation was at least months or longer in planning.
Hamas subsequently published high quality footage of its 'special ops' units launching the motorized paragliders...
Later in the day, some of the captives - including apparently foreigners - were paraded by the Islamic terrorists in front of cameras. One particularly gruesome image included what looked like a young woman's mangled, lifeless body face-down in the bed of a pick-up truck with a militant sitting on top of her (it's as yet unknown whether she's dead or alive).
There are reports that she may be a German national and her family is said to be seeking information on her whereabouts. She remains missing and is possibly deceased:
BREAKING:— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 7, 2023
The woman whose body was seen on video in the back of a pick-up truck driven by Palestinian terrorists to Gaza has been identified.
30-year-old Shani Louk was a German citizen visiting Israel to attend the music festival for peace held near the Gaza border fence. pic.twitter.com/sPIc8FRs8K
Americans were also likely among the captives. On Sunday Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "We have reports that several Americans were killed. We are working overtime to verify that," he told reporters. Here's what the US top diplomat said:
“Does the administration know at this point if U.S. citizens were among the dead or those taken hostage?” NBC News' Kristen Welker asked Blinken.
Blinken said: “So we have reports that several Americans may be among the dead. We are very actively working to verify those reports. Similarly, we’ve seen reports about hostages and they’re, again, we’re very actively trying to verify them, and nail that down.”
Pressed again on whether some U.S. citizens could have been taken hostage as well, Blinken replied: “That’s correct.”
Additionally Fox News correspondent Will Cain followed with, "Was just told by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN that there are dozens of American citizens among the hostages in Gaza." He explained that many of these would be dual nationals.
BREAKING It is now being reported that DOZENS of Americans are being held hostage by the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/OEbduXVIvK— 1776 (@TheWakeninq) October 8, 2023
As more details emerge from the scene, there are unverified reports that multiple dozens of the festival attendees may have been killed or kidnapped - again among them international tourists and visitors.
The Irish Times on Sunday reported that 22-year-old dual citizen Kim Damti was among the many unaccounted for.
Ms Damti was attending an all-night outdoor rave with hundreds of others close to the Gaza border when the first rocket barrage hit close to 7am on Saturday, taking everyone by surprise.
In the last phone call made by Ms Damti, at 7am on Saturday, she was running with a friend towards a car in an attempt to flee the rocket barrage. That was the last contact with her.
More and more disturbing footage like the below has been trickling out.
This appears to be a video of scores of women who were captured at the outdoor rave by Hamas. pic.twitter.com/xkFVhtwecw— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 8, 2023