Israel attack to cause ‘full-scale war’ as West’s response ‘crucial’ says expert

A surprise attack on Israel today will likely lead to a "full-scale war", an expert has warned.

Thousands of rockets were launched by Palestinian military group Hamas today (Saturday, October 7), with dozens believed dead and hundreds injured. The organisation, recognised as a terrorist group by the UK and a number of other countries, said its goal was to "set the earth on fire under the feet of the occupiers."

Hamas chief Mohammed Deif said: "This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth."

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Ludovica Castelli, a doctoral researcher at the University of Leicester, told the Daily Star today's attacks would only continue an ongoing "cycle of violence" and could lead to an all-out conflict.

"We are witnessing a massive surprise attack on Israel, which will most probably lead to a full-scale war in Gaza," she said.

"Analysts expect the Israeli military reaction to be unprecedented. This has the potential to be a transformative event, which will certainly lead to further radicalisation and will cement the cycle of violence."

Castelli noted there had been unconfirmed rumours of civilians and Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers being captured by Hamas and taken back to Gaza, which had the power to escalate the conflict even more.

The military expert said analysts would be watching closely to see how Western governments and Hamas' allies would respond, dubbing their reactions "crucial".

Already a number of countries – including the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, and Ukraine – have condemned the attacks and called for them to stop.

The UK's foreign secretary James Cleverly said in a post on social media today: "The UK unequivocally condemns the horrific attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians. The UK will always support Israel’s right to defend itself."

And Castelli noted ongoing responses to the conflict could help shape its outcome.

"It will be crucial to see how the different parties will react," she continued, "But also other factions such as Hezbollah. Hezbollah has announced that they are in direct contact with the Palestinian resistance and defined the attack as a response to Israel’s occupation and a message to countries that want normalisation with Israel."

Today dozens were killed in the surprise onslaught against Israel at the hands of the terror group. Hamas also claimed to have taken at least 50 Israelis – both IDF fighters and civilians – hostage, and said many of them were now dead.

A number of settlements near the border between the two countries are now believed to be under Hamas control, according to local media.

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