Israel attacks, a look at the aerial dimension

On October 7, 2023, Israel woke up to a massive rocket attack targeting multiple cities throughout the country, combined with the news that Hamas operatives had breached Israeli defenses and were attacking communities in the south, in areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. 

The initial thrust of the attack arrived, unsuspectingly, from the air, as armed attackers used paragliders to hop over the barriers that separate Israel from Gaza. The attackers used the surprise factor to overwhelm Israeli defenses, massacre civilians in different locations and even take control temporarily of an Israeli military base. 

While battles were raging on the ground, Israeli Air Force jets, which official sources numbered as being “in the dozens”, took to the skies to counterattack. According to the Israeli Air Force, 21 different Hamas-linked sites in Gaza were destroyed. An undetermined number of attackers were also engaged within Israeli territory. 

Rocket attacks resumed at night, with Iron Dome anti-air defense systems going into action. According to the Israeli authorities, the number of rockets launched at Israeli cities on Saturday numbered in the thousands.

Tel Aviv Ben Gurion international airport remained open throughout the day, although, at times, travelers were told to lay down on the tarmac in order to protect themselves from incoming missiles. One such moments was witnessed and shared on social media by CNN news channel editor Nic Robertson, as he disembarked from an aircraft that has just landed. 

Many airlines, including Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Air India and Air France, have either cancelled flights to Tel Aviv or modified the schedules due to the ongoing security situation. United Airlines 594 turned around over Greenland, when it was on its way from San Francisco to Tel Aviv.  

Israel’s national airline, El Al, continues to operate its regular flight program, but has temporarily relaxed its flight change or cancellation conditions for those passengers that wish to do so. 

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