On October 7, 2023, after the surprise invasion of Israel by Gaza militants, the Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) aired an audio recording of Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif's announcement of the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge. Deif said that the invasion of Israel – in which so far over 600 Israelis have been killed, over 2,000 injured, and at least 100 kidnapped and taken to Gaza – was the "first strike" of the operation. He called upon Palestinians in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, and inside Israel itself to carry out attacks against Israelis using guns, knives, Molotov cocktails, and vehicles. Stating that the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel was over, he called on West Bank residents to attack Israeli settlements, and "sweep out the occupiers and their settlements from all our land in the West Bank." The people of Jerusalem, he said, should "expel the occupation forces and the settlers" from Jerusalem. He went on to exhort the Arabs in Israel to "torch the earth under the feet of the plundering occupiers – kill, burn, destroy, shut down roads."
Mohammed Deif: "In light of the continuous crimes against our people, and in light of the occupation’s rampage, and its disregard for international laws and resolutions, and in light of the American and Western support [of Israel] and the international silence, we have decided to put an end to all of this, with the help of Allah, so that the enemy understands that the time that it could go on a rampage without being held accountable is over.
"We declare the beginning of Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge. We also declare that, with the help of Allah, the first strike of Operation Al-Aqsa Deluge, which targeted the enemy's posts, airports, and military fortifications, included over 5,000 shells and rockets in the first 20 minutes.
"I say to the masses of the people and our nation, and to the free people of the world: Today, the wrath of Al-Aqsa has exploded – the rage of our people, our nation, and the free people of the world. I say to our pure mujahideen: This is the day that you make this criminal enemy understand that its time is up. [The Quran says:] 'Kill them wherever you may find them.”
“I say to our young people in the West Bank, from the various organizations: Today is your day to sweep out the occupiers and their settlements from all our land in the West Bank, and to make them pay the price for their crimes, over the lean years. Organize your attacks on the settlements, with all the means at your disposal.
"Today, the military coordination [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] is over. [The Palestinian Authority’s security forces] should prove that their patriotism and affiliation with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, and Palestine are greater than all the illusions of the occupation.
"Today, our people regain their revolution, rectify their path, and return to the plan of liberation, the return [of the refugees], and the establishment of a [Palestinian] state, through blood and martyrdom. I say to our people in Jerusalem: Arise for the support of your Al-Aqsa Mosque. Expel the occupation forces and the settlers from your Jerusalem, and destroy the walls of separation. I say to our people in occupied [pre-1967 Israel] – in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, Lod, and Ramla: Torch the earth under the feet of the plundering occupiers – kill, burn, destroy, and shut down roads. Make the cowardly occupiers understand that the Al-Aqsa Deluge is bigger than they think.
“The day has come when anyone who has a gun should take it out. Now is the time. If you do not have a gun, take up your cleaver, axe, Molotov cocktail, truck, tractor, or car.”