The War Between Israel And Palestinian Militant Group Hamas, Explained

Here's what you need to know about the war between Israel and Hamas.

War has erupted between Israel and the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

Here is what’s happening.

Palestinians evacuate the area following an Israeli airstrike

The fighting erupted on Saturday Oct. 7 when Hamas fired thousands of rockets and invaded southern Israel in a surprise attack.

Palestinian Hamas militants during a military show

Founded in 1987, Hamas is a Islamist militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, separate from the Palestinian government.

supporters of the ruling Hamas party attend a rally in Gaza City

Hamas seeks to establish a Palestinian state and does not recognize Israel as a state, whereas the Palestinian Liberation Organization – the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people – does.

Masked Palestinian Hamas militants attend the funeral

Hamas has been been attacking Israel through suicide bombings and rocket attacks for years to reach its goal

Palestinian Hamas members ride an armored vehicle

Israel, meanwhile, has continuously launched assaults on Palestinians.

Israel Iron Dome air defence system
Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system intercepts rockets launched from Gaza City, in Sderot on May 10, 2023. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli forces attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, in 2023, as well as in 2022.

Members of Israeli security forces guard the Al Aqsa Mosque
Israeli security forces remove Palestinian Muslim worshippers
Israeli policemen detain a Palestinian man

Israeli forces also killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in 2022.

Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

Experts say Hamas carried out the unprecedented attack in order to liberate Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, Vox reported.

Izz ad Din al Qassam Brigades hamas

Hamas military leaders said other reasons included Israel’s 16-year occupation of the West Bank, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, and recent Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

man sits near Israel controversial separation barrier

The attack from Hamas is one of the largest assaults in Israel in decades and caught Israel off guard.

Hamas Izz ad Din al Qassam Brigades
Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades hold a Palestinian flag as they destroy a tank of Israeli forces in Gaza City, Gaza. (Photo by Hani Alshaer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Hamas fighters have killed about 700 Israelis and are holding another 150 people hostage as of Sunday, according to the New York Times.

Hamas armed wing the Izz ad Din al Qassam Brigades
Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades enter the Israeli side of the fence in Gaza City. (Photo by Hani Alshaer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In response, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas and mobilized Israeli military forces

A Palestinian youth sits in front of a charred building
A Palestinian youth sits in front of a charred building as a fire rages through its interior, following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City’s al-Rimal district on October 10, 2023. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel launched massive airstrikes into Gaza, destroying residential buildings.

Palestinians inspect the destruction
Palestinians inspect the destruction in a neighbourhood heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Gaza officials said that at least 413 people, including 78 children and 41 women, have been killed, according to AP.

Israeli fighter jets hamas
A woman reacts after Israeli fighter jets destroyed a building following the Operation Al-Aqsa Flood launched by Hamas in Rafah, Gaza (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Monday Oct. 9, Israel ordered “a complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, saying authorities would cut electricity and block food, water and fuel from entering.

Palestinians evacuate the area following an Israeli airstrike on the Sousi mosque in Gaza City

Gaza is home to more than two million Palestinians, and 123,000 Palestinians have already been displaced by Israel’s air strikes, according to the UN.

Palestinian men look at the destruction outside a damaged apartment building

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