The Yom Kippur War of 1973 began with a simultaneous surprise October attack 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 in combat for Israel was Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu, the older brother of current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (He was subsequently killed rescuing Israeli hostages in Uganda in July 1976.)
The massive assault by Hamas came a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion on Yom Kippur.
The Saturday morning incursion caught Israel and its allies completely by surprise, as Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel and dozens of heavily armed gunmen mowed down a barrier along Israel’s southern border. Israel began launching retaliatory air strikes on targets in Gaza shortly after.
On Sunday, the death toll from the initial attack reached 600, according to reports from Israeli media. Americans were likely among those killed and kidnapped, Blinken said Sunday.
“We have reports that several Americans were killed, we’re working overtime to verify that. At the same time, there are reports of missing Americans and, there again, we’re working to verify those reports,” Blinken told CNN’s Dana Bash.
David Cohen contributed to this report.