Israel's prime minister says the country "is at war" on Saturday after a surprise attack led by Palestinian militant group Hamas saw a barrage of rockets being fired into Israeli territory that is resulting in hundreds of deaths, and thousands more injured.
Dubbed as “Al-Aqsa Storm,” the Hamas military commander Muhammad Al-Deif said in a recorded message that the group “targeted the enemy positions, airports and military positions with 5,000 rockets” and that the assault on Israel is the response to the the desecration of the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and the ongoing siege of Gaza.
“If you have a gun, get it out. This is the time to use it – get out with trucks, cars, axes, today the best and most honorable history starts,” Al-Deif adds in the recording.
Israel has since responded in a wave of attacks from air, land and sea — an operation they have since dubbed "Operation Iron Swords."
Gaza health ministries are reporting a total of 232 deaths and 1,700 injured so far on Saturday.
As Canadians awoke to news of the attacks in the Middle East Saturday morning, Canadian officials and organizations were quick to release statements condemning the attacks.
"These acts of violence are completely unacceptable," reads a statement posted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to X, formerly known as Twitter.
Canadians appear to be reacting strongly to the prime minister pledging his support to Israel.
Canada strongly condemns the current terrorist attacks against Israel. These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this. Civilian life must be protected.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 7, 2023
"We must stand firm in our support of Israel and its right to defend itself against violence," reads a statement shared by Ontario Premier Doug Ford shared to the social platform early Saturday.
I unequivocally condemn the heinous terrorist attacks against Israel and Israeli citizens. We must stand firm in our support of Israel and its right to defend itself against violence.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) October 7, 2023
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also shared a statement over social media on Saturday which reads, "We fear what the coming days will bring. Terrorism and violence solve nothing."
I strongly condemn these horrifying attacks by Hamas on Israel.
Civilians should never be targeted and all hostages must be released immediately.
We fear what the coming days will bring. Terrorism and violence solve nothing.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) October 7, 2023
As a large number of Israeli diaspora call Toronto their home, the mayor issued a response over social media saying that she too, condemns the attacks, and that "Toronto police are not aware of threats to Jewish communities in Toronto and are working to ensure the safety of Jewish communities in the city."
I unequivocally condemn Hamas’ horrific attacks on Israeli civilians. At this time, Toronto Police are not aware of threats to Jewish communities in Toronto and are working to ensure the safety of Jewish communities in the city.
— Mayor Olivia Chow (@MayorOliviaChow) October 7, 2023
Toronto's police chief also offered a statement that the police force is monitoring the situation closely.
I am closely monitoring the events in Israel with deep concern.
The @torontopolice is not aware of any threats to Jewish communities in Toronto; however, we have increased our presence and visibility to ensure the safety of our Jewish communities and all residents. pic.twitter.com/bkl2RDX6D6
— Chief Myron Demkiw (@TPSMyronDemkiw) October 7, 2023
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland offered a response to the attacks, calling them "barbaric."
Canada condemns the barbaric terrorist attacks against Israel in the strongest possible terms—and we stand firmly with Israel in support of its right to defend itself.
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) October 7, 2023
Newly-elected Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew also offered up his condemnation of the attacks, saying he had been in touch with members of the Jewish population in the province to express solidarity.
This morning I spoke with members of the Jewish community in Manitoba to express my solidarity.
I condemn the terrorist attacks against Israel, the targeting of civilians, and affirm Israel's right to self-defense.
My hope is for a swift de-escalation of this conflict.
— Wab Kinew (@WabKinew) October 7, 2023
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly also issued a social media statement saying, "My heart is with the victims and all those affected by these attacks."
Canada unequivocally condemns the multi-front terror attack against Israeli citizens by Hamas.
Canada firmly stands with Israel and its right to defend itself against terror under international law. My heart is with the victims and all those affected by these attacks.
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) October 7, 2023
Demonstrations are reportedly being held in Toronto that appear to celebrate the Hamas-led invasion of Israel.
Demonstrators in Toronto, Canada, celebrate following the Hamas-led invasion of southern Israel. pic.twitter.com/N5ya7Ayf5Y
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) October 7, 2023
The Centre for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East also released a statement that calls on the Prime Minister to demand action on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to prevent further bloodshed.
Press release: CJPME calls on @JustinTrudeau to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to prevent further bloodshed. Canada must address the root causes of this escalation and demand an end to Israel’s blockade & apartheid policies, which have made a violent response inevitable. pic.twitter.com/JbtOFG9ARL
— Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (@CJPME) October 7, 2023
The executive director of UNICEF Canada released a statement saying, "I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of children in Israel and the State of Palestine."
"I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of children in Israel and the State of Palestine" - Catherine Russell, Executive Director @UNICEF statement.
Read the full statement here: https://t.co/FsLjfiXpfK pic.twitter.com/O9tDDmpzoh
— UNICEF Canada (@UNICEFCanada) October 7, 2023
National flag carrier Air Canada has also issued a statement saying it has temporarily halted all service to Israel citing civil unrest, and it has implemented its goodwill policy to enable passengers with existing reservations to get home safely.