Written by CAM’s General Director David Troyer
Residents of Israel were stunned on Saturday morning, October 7, when Hamas militants breached the border fence around Gaza and crossed into southern Israel under cover of heavy rocket fire. As Hamas operatives rampaged through the area, over 1,400* Israelis were killed and more than 3,000 injured. Entire communities were destroyed, and as many as 200 people were taken to Gaza as hostages.
According to some reports, October 7, 2023 saw the most Jewish civilian deaths in a single day since the Holocaust. With tactics reminiscent of ISIS, Hamas militants cruelly took the lives of civilian men, women, and children. Some were tortured or abused before they were killed.
This is the most serious escalation of the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. Our staff in Israel explained, “This time, as opposed to many times in the past, the events are very significant and dangerous.” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has predicted a “long and difficult war.”
Israel has responded with thousands of air strikes on Gaza, killing over 6,500 people and displacing hundreds of thousands. A 23-year-old lady from Gaza City told ABC News, “. . . the night comes . . . bombings don’t stop . . . the house shakes, the windows crack, the doors bang . . . Everything is just so intense, and it feels like the world is ending for a few minutes . . .”
Israel has declared a complete siege of Gaza, meaning no electricity, food, or fuel can enter Gaza from Israel. Israel says it is completing preparations to “strike Gaza from air, sea, and land” to topple Hamas, which has controlled the territory since 2007 and is labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States.
Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, half of whom are children, are squeezed into a 140-square-mile area, making it one of the most densely populated places on earth. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was already “extremely dire before these hostilities” and “now it will only deteriorate exponentially.” Residents are trapped, with no way to leave the tiny territory.
A BBC News reporter stationed in Gaza City reported that medical and food supplies are dwindling, and the situation for the people of Gaza is increasingly desperate. He met a woman in a supermarket, scouring the shelves for milk for her baby. Half a bottle was all she had left, and the supermarket shelves were bare.
During a nighttime air raid in Gaza, this reporter woke his three children and rushed to the hospital for shelter. But when he arrived, hundreds of people were blocking the entrance—they too were seeking shelter from the relentless air strikes. Half-asleep children shrieked as they stumbled through the streets while rockets streaked overhead.
Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a British-Palestinian doctor, says the health system in Gaza is on the verge of collapse. “All the [hospital] beds are full . . .” Entire families are brought in, and 30 to 40 percent of the injured are children. This is the bloodiest assault he has seen since he started working in Gaza more than 40 years ago.
In addition to the Israel-Hamas conflict, tensions are mounting in northern Israel as the country’s military and Iran-backed groups in Lebanon and Syria exchange sporadic missile and rocket fire. Iran-funded militants in Yemen and Iraq have warned they may also take up arms against Israel.
As usual, innocent civilians on both sides are suffering. We anticipate that the needs will be many. CAM staff remain in Israel to monitor the situation and help where possible. Please join us in earnest prayer for all involved, that . . . The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
Heavy Rocket Fire Continues
Oct. 10, 2023
Heavy rocket fire from Gaza continues in southern and central Israel. Israel is hitting hundreds of targets in Gaza with airstrikes, killing and wounding many people. The combined death toll from both locations has passed 7,900*.
Tensions continue to mount between Lebanon and Israel as they exchange rocket fire.
Israel has declared a complete siege of Gaza, meaning no food, water, or fuel can enter Gaza from Israel.
This is the most serious escalation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has predicted a “long and difficult war.”
Please continue in prayer for the many innocent people in both Israel and Gaza who are suffering as a result of the fighting.