As of October 9, 2023, the conflict has escalated with Israel launching a series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, targeting more than 200 locations. The Israeli military reported attacks on areas including the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City and Khan Younis city.
These attacks have caused huge destruction, including the destruction of a mosque housing a weapons storage site and an apartment used by Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile forces.
The most recent escalation began when Hamas, an Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, launched a surprise offensive against Israel.
The offensive involved hundreds of gunmen infiltrating Israeli communities near the Gaza border. In response, Israel initiated a military campaign to halt Hamas’s attacks.
The conflict has entered its fourth day, with the two sides sustaining huge casualties. Israel has reported more than 900 deaths, including civilians, soldiers, and foreign nationals.
Hamas has also suffered casualties, but the toll on Palestinian civilians is particularly devastating, with over 700 Palestinians dead, including 143 children and 105 women.
Thousands of Palestinians have been injured, overwhelming Gaza’s healthcare system. In addition the death toll, the conflict has triggered a significant displacement emergency.
The United Nations reports that more than 187,518 Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza, seeking shelter in schools and makeshift refugee camps.
The situation in Gaza, one of the world’s most densely populated territories, is dire, with limited access to food, water, and electricity due to an Israeli-imposed blockade.
Hamas’s offensive likewise resulted in the capture of more than 100 Israeli civilians, soldiers, and foreign nationals, leading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that his country is at war.
Israel is actively working to secure the release of these hostages and has regained control of areas outside Gaza after intense fighting.
Many Countries has expressed deep concern over the situation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reaffirmed Washington’s support for securing the release of all hostages held by Hamas. The White House has expressed sorrow over the images of Israeli victims and called for a ceasefire.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned demonstrations in support of Hamas in his nation, accentuating that the glorification of violence is unacceptable.
Demonstrations in support of both Israel and Palestine have taken place worldwide, reflecting the global attention and polarization surrounding the conflict.
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has given urgent appeals for a “safe corridor” to ensure the entry of critical medical aid into the territory.
Israeli forces have targeted ambulances, and the bombing of Beit Hanoun has rendered its only hospital inoperative. The lack of electricity is threatening the lives of sick and injured people, adding to the urgency of the situation.
Iran’s role in the conflict has been a subject of discussion and clashing cases. While Iran has a history of supporting Hamas, the Iranian Mission to the United Nations has denied direct involvement, stating that actions are determined solely by the Palestinians themselves.
This goes against claims by Hamas representative Ghazi Hamad, who reportedly cited Iranian backing for the attack. The extent of Iran’s involvement remains unclear.
Understanding the Israel-Hamas conflict requires a historical perspective. The dispute over the land of Palestine dates back to the early 20th century when Britain took control of the region after World War I. Tensions between Jewish immigrants and Palestinian Arabs escalated, leading to violence and resistance.
In 1948, Israel declared its independence, resulting in a war with neighboring Arab states and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs. This conflict laid the foundation for decades of hostilities and unresolved issues.