Palestinian Fighters Launch Major Attack on Israel, Escalating Conflict

Palestinian Fighters Launch Major Attack on Israel, Escalating Conflict
Palestinian Fighters Launch Major Attack on Israel, Escalating Conflict

In a development that has sent shockwaves through the region, Palestinian fighters carried out a major attack on Israel on October 7, infiltrating southern Israeli territory and unleashing a relentless barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip. This operation, named “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm,” marks one of the most significant and unexpected confrontations between the two sides in recent memory, marked by rocket assaults originating from various locations in Gaza and employing unconventional tactics such as paragliders and fighters operating inside Israel.

The Israeli military has stated that Hamas orchestrated a well-coordinated operation, combining rocket attacks with a terrorist infiltration into Israeli territory.

Hamas, founded in 1987, is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organization with militant and nationalist objectives. Following its victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas assumed de facto control of the Gaza Strip after the 2007 Battle of Gaza. Additionally, it holds a majority in the Palestinian National Authority’s parliament.

Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by numerous countries and entities, including Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Prominent Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal, are currently based in Qatar.

In response to this attack, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) pledged retaliation and officially declared the situation as more than a mere escalation; the nation was now classified as ‘in a state of war.’ Highlighting the unexpected and severe nature of the assault, which did not spare civilians, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a former spokesperson for the IDF, emphasized that this offensive by Hamas, backed by Iran with weapons, personnel, equipment, and financial resources, represented a significant and unacceptable escalation.

This recent attack follows weeks of escalating tensions along Israel’s volatile border with Gaza and clashes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have reportedly killed at least 247 Palestinians this year, while 32 Israelis and two foreign nationals have lost their lives in Palestinian attacks.

Hamas, in an official statement, called on “resistance fighters in the West Bank” and “Arab and Islamic nations” to join the battle. Saleh al-Arouri, an exiled Hamas leader, framed the operation as a response “to the crimes of the occupation,” with a focus on defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and advocating for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

In response to the Hamas operation, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the mobilization of army reservists, as confirmed by a spokesperson from the Israeli Defense Ministry. Israel’s military had earlier declared “a state of war alert” on that fateful day, underscoring the gravity of the situation.