The Yom Kippur War of 1973 began with a simultaneous surprise attack in October by Egypt and Syria that overran Israeli front-line units. Israel ultimately gained the upper hand, but the war was costly, with more than 2,500 Israelis killed, as well as thousands of Egyptians and Syrians.
One of the heroes of the fight for Israel was Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu, the older brother of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (He was later killed while rescuing Israeli hostages in Uganda in July 1976.)
The massive Hamas assault came a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise Yom Kippur invasion.
Saturday morning’s incursion came as a complete surprise to Israel and its allies, as Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Israel and dozens of heavily armed gunmen broke through a fence along the border southern Israel. Shortly thereafter, Israel began launching retaliatory airstrikes on targets in Gaza.
On Sunday, the death toll from the first attack reached 600, according to Israeli media. Americans were likely among those killed and kidnapped, Blinken said Sunday.
“We have reports that several Americans have been killed, we are working overtime to verify it. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and, again, we are working to verify those reports,” Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash.
David Cohen contributed to this report.