The ongoing tension in the Middle East region has flared up again in a war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.
This new round of clashes has caused international concern and has left many wondering about the causes, consequences, and background of this conflict. Here’s what you need to know about the war between Israel and Hamas.
Origins of the conflict
The history of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups, including Hamas, dates back decades, mainly to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. One of the main issues in dispute is the status of Jerusalem, a holy city for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza since the Six-Day War in 1967 has also been a constant point of friction.
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization, emerged in 1987 as a resistance group in the West Bank and Gaza. Over the years, it has been in conflict with Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization. The lack of a sustainable peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians has contributed to the perpetuation of violence in the region.
Immediate causes of war in 2023
On Oct. 7, Hamas began an invasion of Israel and killed more than 1,000 Israelis, the vast majority of them civilians. Following the initial raid, reports emerged that the Islamic extremist group had kidnapped civilians, including the elderly, women, and minors.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said nearly 300 people were killed at an open-air music festival at the start of the raid.
Hamas said its attack was retaliation for the eviction at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem in April and for increasing Israeli violence against Palestinians.
In response to the attack, Israel declared a state of war and counterattacked the terrorist group in the Gaza Strip with a large-scale military mobilization, deploying troops and launching missile strikes against Hamas targets.