Hamas is an Islamist organization with a military wing, established in 1987 as an alternative to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has previously rejected peace talks with Israel. Hamas, based in the West Bank, controls the Gaza Strip, home to 2 million Palestinians. The group has claimed numerous attacks on Israel and has been designated a terrorist organization by the US, EU, and Israel. Israel accuses Iran of supporting Hamas.
An Israeli woman who survived a deadly Hamas attack recounted how the Islamist militants stormed her home, taking her and others captive and killing her friend. She was dragged by militants alongside her friend’s two young children, Negev and Eshel, and forced to walk toward Gaza as her neighbourhood was torched. The two children were safely returned to their father, but their mother, Adi Kaaplon, is still missing. Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel has led to its rejection of peace talks and its involvement in failed peace initiatives with Israel.
The Hamas attack on Israel has caused profound political shocks and strategic transformations that were unpredictable at the time. The rocket attacks, hostage takings, and mass killings inside Israel came as the global order was already at a pivot point, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s superpower ascent. The raw shock over the events, such as gunned down civilians at an Israeli music festival, the wrenching accounts of families torn apart, and the fierce first burst of Israeli reprisal attacks on Gaza, are transfixing the world.
The recent Hamas attack in the Middle East has disrupted a rare period of calm and hope for diplomatic breakthroughs, causing global calculations to shift. The attack is compared to the 2001 September 11 attacks, as it was a low-tech assault on civilians, breaching the homeland of a more powerful adversary.
The historic trauma of American and other leaders’ actions during the resurgence of normal politics has not only changed the world through military action but also unleashed extraordinary political forces within nations like the United States and Britain, influencing society and elections. This emotional violation will shape Israel’s response and the rest of the world’s reaction to its fightback.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to attack Hamas with a force “like never before” as the conflict continues after a surprise attack by Islamist militants in Israeli territory. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza and halted the supply of electricity, food, water, and fuel to the Palestinian enclave. Hamas’ armed wing warned it would begin killing civilian hostages and broadcasting the act if Israel targets Gaza without warning.
The attack resulted in at least 900 deaths, including over 260 at a music festival near the Gaza border. At least 11 US citizens have been confirmed killed in the Hamas attack, with White House officials expecting the number to grow.
Israel declared war on Hamas after an attack on Gaza, resulting in 687 deaths, 140 children, and up to 150 hostages. Israeli authorities believe up to 150 are being held in Gaza to destroy Hamas terrorist capabilities. Hamas warned civilians that they would be executed if Israel targeted them without warning.
Over 137,000 people are taking cover from Israeli strikes at UN emergency shelters in Gaza, which are at 90% capacity. The Israeli military and intelligence apparatus have been accused of a security lapse, leading to a surge in fighting between the two sides in the past two years. The violence is driven by frequent Israeli military raids in Palestinian towns and cities, which Israel claims are necessary to counter increasing attacks by Palestinian militants on Israelis.
A 40-year-old Israel Defense Force officer died after being injured in an encounter with militants near Lebanon’s northern border. The officer died after militants infiltrated Israeli territory. The incident follows three deaths from Hezbollah during an Israeli air raid in southern Lebanon. The IDF reported multiple launches from Lebanese territory into Israeli territory.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported that its emergency shelters in Gaza are at 90% capacity, with over 137,000 people taking cover from Israeli strikes. 83 UNRWA schools have been turned into shelters, and a UN school housing displaced families was directly hit.
The agency also reported that all 14 food distribution centres have been closed, resulting in half a million people stopping receiving vital food aid. Israel has launched retaliatory strikes in Gaza following Hamas’ surprise attack, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordering a “complete siege” of the region.
Over 680 Palestinians have died and 3,700 have been injured. The Gaza Strip, governed by Hamas since 2007, has been under strict siege by Egypt and Israel, maintaining an air and naval blockade. The enclave has been described by Human Rights Watch as the “world’s largest open-air prison.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged the United Nations to intervene against ongoing Israeli aggression against Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Abbas emphasized the urgent need for medical and relief aid in Gaza and urged the UN to uphold its responsibilities and ensure protection for the Palestinian people.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the UN’s humanitarian efforts in Gaza and stated it is working with international stakeholders to reduce the escalation. The Palestinian Authority was established in 1993 through the Oslo Accords, a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which required the PLO to cease armed resistance.