“Palestinians search for survivors after an Israeli airstrike on the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.“
Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
On Saturday, October 7th, the terrorist group Hamas attacked the country of Israel. According to Israel’s Defense Forces, nearly 2,200 rockets were sent towards southern and central Israel including the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. A short time after, Hamas militants infiltrated the border and attacked nearly 22 Israeli towns, where gunmen killed more than 1,400 people, including civilians and soldiers, and took 199 hostages, according to Israeli authorities. The attack was completely unprecedented to authorities.
So what is Hamas? Hamas is an Islamist organization that considers Israel an illegitimate state and has claimed they are trying to liberate the Palestinian territory. Over the years it has claimed many attacks on Israel and has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, and Israel. Currently, Hamas dominates the Gaza Strip. Tensions in the region have existed even before the creation of Israel in 1948. After Hamas gained control over Gaza in 2007, Israel imposed a siege which is still ongoing. Since then, violence has existed in the area, and a war even occurred in 2021 that lasted 11 days.
Thousands have died on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. Muhammad Deif, the leader of the military wing of Hamas, said in a recorded message that the group decided to launch an “operation” so that “the enemy will understand that the time of their rampaging without accountability has ended.” The Israeli government has declared war on Hamas.
A complete siege is now occurring in the Gaza area. Israel has now announced a blockade which also restricts people from leaving the area. The Israeli defense minister, Yoav Gallant, has stated that “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” would be allowed into Gaza. The Israeli military has also sent announcements to the residents of Gaza to move south for their protection at the risk of ground infiltration from Israel. Israel’s military forces have also sent airstrikes into the Gaza area. Hundreds of Palestinians have died and more are currently injured. President Biden has condemned Hamas’s attack on Israel and military support has been sent to Israel from the U.S.