Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Rep. John Larson spoke up Sunday about this weekend’s unprecedented, coordinated attacks on Israel by the Islamist group Hamas, condemning the offensive as an act of terrorism.
“I am appalled by the attacks on innocent Israeli civilians,” Lamont said in a written statement. “Connecticut stands in solidarity with the people of Israel and condemns these terrorist attacks by Hamas. My heart is with the families of the victims in this dark hour.”
Larson condemned Hamas in the “strongest possible terms,” calling its actions “heinous and indiscriminate” terrorist attacks.
“The reports of Israeli casualties and hostages – including civilians – are horrifying and I extend my heartfelt condolences to those who have been killed and wounded,” Larson said. “Israel has the full and unequivocal right to defend itself. The United States stands in solidarity with Israel.”
According to news reports, following months of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Hamas launched what is being described as a series of coordinated attacks in Israel Saturday. Reports said Saturday was the deadliest day in decades for Israel, which reported over 700 dead.
In Gaza, over 400 Palestinians have been killed as Israel has responded with airstrikes in the densely-inhabited enclave.
On Sunday, Israel formally declared war on Hamas.
CNN reported that questions remain over how the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus appeared to be caught off guard in one of the country’s worst security failures.
CNN also reported that Hamas claims to be holding “over 100” Israeli hostages, including high-ranking officers, and fired thousands of rockets into Israel throughout the weekend. Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian armed group, reportedly said on Sunday that it was holding at least 30 hostages in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Palestinians living in Gaza to “leave now” and promised retaliation as well as “mighty vengeance” and “a long and difficult war.”
Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel have struck in many locations inside the country, including in Tel Aviv, and armed Hamas troops entered Israel and infiltrated military bases, towns, and farms, shooting at civilians and taking hostages.
News reports say the Israeli foreign ministry has released photos showing dozens of bodies following a Hamas attack on a music festival near the Israel-Gaza border, where emergency responders said 260 people were killed.
In Connecticut, vigils were being planned for Monday, Oct. 9, including one at the West Hartford Town Hall at 4 p.m.