(CTN News) – On October 7, militants from the Hamas group stormed the Israeli border from the Gaza Strip, killing 1,200 and kidnapping another 240.
In retaliation, Israel began a ground offensive and bombed Gaza. The government of Hamas claims that approximately 14,800 have been killed in Gaza.
Friday marks the beginning of a four-day truce in hostilities, during which Hamas plans to free fifty hostages. In return, Israel has promised to release 150 Palestinian inmates and increase the flow of humanitarian supplies into Gaza by a large margin.
What is the goal of Israel’s military operation in Gaza?
The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stated that the country’s objective is to liberate the captives and destroy Hamas’s military and governmental capabilities.
Despite his denials, he has stated that Israel will maintain “overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip “for an indefinite period” following the fight.
To augment its 160,000-strong standing military, Israel has mobilized 300,000 reservists.
Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other Western powers consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization; the IDF claims to have destroyed thousands of Hamas targets.
The IDF has allegedly demolished hundreds of tunnel shafts constructed beneath Gaza. The Hamas-run tunnel system supposedly extends for 500 kilometers (310 miles).
Israel asserts that it eliminated hundreds of Hamas militants, including numerous leaders, throughout the conflict. The majority of the 390 Israeli troops killed were in the attack on October 7th.
What is happening on the ground in Gaza, and what is the humanitarian situation?
As a result of assault damage, power outages, and fuel shortages, just two northern and seven southern hospitals are still functioning.
Israel has been “not successful” in minimizing civilian losses, according to Mr. Netanyahu. He has claimed that this is because Hamas utilizes the Gaza population as human shields.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) estimates that the violence has forced 1.7 million Gaza people to flee their homes, with nearly one million taking sanctuary at its shelters.
Following the strike on October 7th, Israel sealed down its borders with Gaza, preventing the entry of food, water, fuel, and medical. Facilities such as bakeries, water pumps, desalination plants, waste management, and hospitals would be unable to operate without power or fuel for generators.
On humanitarian grounds, the leaders of key UN agencies have repeatedly demanded a ceasefire and deemed the shutting off of vital supplies to 2.2 million Palestinians as an immoral act.
From October 21st to November 21st, Israel permitted 1,399 truckloads of humanitarian supplies to enter via Egypt’s Rafah border crossing. Prior to the war, the UN said that an average of 10,000 truckloads were admitted per month.
It said that Hamas could steal the fuel and use it for military purposes, so it banned all delivery until last week.
Although many Palestinians are still stuck, the crossing has allowed hundreds of foreign passport holders to depart, including several Americans and Britons, as well as severely injured and ill Palestinians. Egypt diligently monitors the passage.
What happened during the Hamas 7 October attack on Israel?
It had been over a generation since Israel had been the target of a major cross-border strike.
In a string of attacks against military stations, kibbutzim, and a music festival, the gunmen kidnapped captives and returned them to Gaza, killing around 1,200 people—the majority of them were civilians.
More than 1,400 were among the casualties previously estimated.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians were already at an all-time high when the attack occurred; the year 2023 was the deadliest for Palestinians residing in the West Bank, which Israel occupies.
Who are the hostages and how will the ceasefire work?
They were presumably taken in an effort to put pressure on Israel to release some of the 5,100 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons at the beginning of October.
According to Israel, approximately 30 of the detainees are minors, and 10 of them are sixty years old or older.
Prior to Wednesday’s peace accord, Hamas had released four hostages.
While conducting operations in northern Gaza, the Israeli forces freed one hostage and found the remains of two more.
Hamas has agreed to free 50 hostages in return for 150 Palestinian inmates as part of a four-day ceasefire mediated by Qatar.
Israeli officials have announced that the truce will be extended by one day for every additional ten hostages freed, up to a total of fifty.
What is Hamas and what does it want?
Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, an acronym meaning Islamic Resistance Movement, is the name of the group.
The group’s stated goal is the establishment of an Islamic state in Israel’s place.
Approximately thirty thousand people are said to be a part of its military branch, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
Since assuming control, Hamas has engaged Israel in multiple battles, launching thousands of missiles into Israeli territory and committing other brutal acts of violence.
Israel has responded by launching airstrikes against Hamas on multiple occasions and by deploying troops in 2008 and 2014.
Israel, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other governments have all branded Hamas, or the al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization.
They have Iran’s support in the form of money, weapons, and training.
Where is the Gaza Strip and how big is it?
Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea form the borders of the 41-kilometer-long (25-mile) and 10-kilometer-wide Gaza Strip.
During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel seized Gaza, which Egypt had previously held.
It wasn’t until 2005 that Israel pulled its forces and about 7,000 settlers out of the area.
The tiny strip is one of the world’s most densely populated places, with 2.2 million people calling it home.
Approximately 1.7 million individuals, or slightly more than three-quarters of Gaza’s population, are either refugees themselves or descendants of refugees, as reported by the UN.
Eight refugee camps spread out around the Strip were home to over half a million people prior to the most recent violence.
Israel imposes stringent restrictions on the movement of persons and goods and controls the airspace over Gaza and its coastline.