From 1843 Magazine/The Economist:
It started at 6.29 in the morning with a siren going off. I live alone so I just jumped out of bed and ran straight to my safe room. My block of flats is less than a year old and they put a safe room in every apartment.
Usually the siren sounds for rocket attacks and lasts 10-15 minutes. Then you come out and go back to your daily life. But yesterday morning it lasted a very, very long time. Even inside the safe room you could hear the missiles. I heard the ones Hamas fired on Ashkelon, on Ashdod, on Kiryat Gat and on Beersheba, where my daughter lives. We live very close to the Iron Dome battery that intercepts them, so I hear our missiles responding. I couldn’t get access to the internet.
After an hour I was able to get back online. That was when I realised there had been an operation by Hamas to break through the border, enter the city and start to mess things up here. We have never encountered such a situation. At least 20 of them must have entered Sderot. They were running around 300 metres from my home.
I have been in touch with friends across town since it started. We don’t exchange security tips, we don’t know how to. But as much as possible, we try to pass on reliable information. There is also a lot of disinformation around – Hamas do a very good job of circulating it on tv and social media.
We’ve received messages that terrorists have commandeered police vehicles, as well as ones belonging to the army and border guards. And they also took uniforms, to disguise themselves as Israeli soldiers, so we were warned about this as well. There are reports of actions considered war crimes.
I’ve seen our troops underneath my balcony. They’re driving around in hatchback vehicles, the soldiers pointing their weapons out of the window – which is something I’ve never seen in Israel. Normally if they’re loaded they keep them hidden. But now they’re brandishing them.
There seem to have been two main skirmishes in Sderot. We’ve had reports from other places nearby too. In Ofakim, near Beersheba, a Hamas squad reportedly took civilians hostage.
In the kibbutzim around here, which are closer to the border than we are, people were besieged in their homes and their bomb shelters. Hamas squads were trying to enter their safe rooms to murder them. They’ve reported that 25 people are dead, but from my experience – I was an army captain for many years – the numbers that the emergency services initially announce double or triple in the final count. Most of the dead are probably not soldiers.
One of my colleagues lives in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, just on the border with Gaza, and she was trapped in her safe room with terrorists outside. It was an Anne Frank situation. That’s the only way to describe it. She was inside her house, with her children, and her husband who is sick, while Hamas were outside, kicking the door. She feared they would either set fire to her house, or blow up the walls and break in.
Link to the rest at 1843 Magazine/The Economist