Palestine defends attack on Israel

Palestinian officials are defending the Saturday attack against Israel after militant forces assaulted the country in multiple directions in a surprise maneuver that has left at lest 40 Israelis dead.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they have “repeatedly warned against the consequences of blocking the political horizon and failing to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate right to self-determination and establish long their own state.”

“We have also warned against the consequences of daily provocations and attacks including the continued settlers’ and occupation forces terrorism, as well as the raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Christian and Islamic holy sites,” officials said in a statement after world leaders condemned the invasion.

The attack Saturday caught Israel completely by surprise and led to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring war against Palestinian militant groups and immediately launching a massive military operation in Gaza.

Palestinian officials have said at least 232 are dead in Gaza and more than a thousand people are wounded.

United Nations Human Rights Chief Volker Turk called for an “immediate stop to violence & urges de-escalation to avoid further bloodshed.”

Early Saturday morning, Hamas, a militant and political group that rules the Gaza Strip, fired more than 2,000 rockets at Israel and blitzed the country in multiple directions, with fighting reportedly ongoing across Israel.

Decades of violence has led to the latest outbreak, with Palestine and Israel fighting in several wars since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Hamas released a statement on its Telegram channel claiming it was defending its people and holy sites from Israeli occupation in an operation it calls “Al-Aqsa Flood.”

“Their freedom is a right and a duty, and it constitutes one of the most important priorities of our Palestinian people and their glorious resistance,” they wrote.

Hamas also called on other Arab and Islamic nations to join the fight, calling it a consequential religious battle against Israel, a predominantly Jewish state.

“The Arab and Islamic countries have a direct responsibility to stand against the occupation and demand its end,” they added, “and to work to support the Palestinian people politically, diplomatically and financially, in all ways, and in all international forums and organizations.”

Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi, told Al Jazeera the military operation is a response to decades of violence and called on the international community to join the response.

“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth,” he told the outlet.

The world, however, has condemned the assault, including the U.S., which is standing behind Israel and promising to back the country in its defense.

Updated 4:03 p.m.

Tags Al Aqsa Flood Benjamin Netanyahu Gaza Strip Hamas attack Israel Israel-Palestine war Khaled Qadomi palestine Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs VOlker Turk