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The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.

Israel Okays War as Hamas’ Attacks Kill Over 900. Who Are the Hamas?

In its largest assaults on Israel’s decades, the Hamas, in addition of killing hundreds of people, kidnapped soldiers and civilians.

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The Hamas, a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist keyed into the long-running battle between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs on Saturday with barrage of airstrikes on Israeli’s Gaza territory. The fierce attack led to the collapse of buildings, raised death tolls to over 900 and left many feared dead as of the press time.

Israel Okays War as Hamas Saturday Attacks Kill Over 900. Who Are the Hamas?
An injured Palestinian mother with her son, after the attack. Credit: Reuters/AFP/AP

The early morning attacks saw Israeli government and citizens only to wake up to a piece of bizarrely gross news that have the injured panting and the living counting their dead. The attack has been described the “first ever” to leave the Jewish country with enormous casualties.

 

  • Who are the Hamas?

Priding over three pillars: religion, charity and the fight against Israel, the Hamas was founded in 1987 as a rival political party in Palestine. 18 years later, it purchased itself saber teeth, Icarus wings, an eagle beak and phoenix nails to probably attack its perceived opponents. It was its neighbour, Fatah, a Palestinian political party too which, served as the test zone of its newly acquired armory.

 

Fatah, which is generally considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant groups, saw its worst enemy in the 2006 election for the PLC. Fatah lost its majority to Hamas. But Hamas still gained legislative victory, leading to a conflict between Fatah and Hamas. Fatah retained the control of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank through its president but this was not what was wanted by the Hamas.

Israel Okays War as Hamas Saturday Attacks Kill Over 900. Who Are the Hamas?
People trying to search the rubble after the fierce Saturday attack. Credit: Reuters/AFP/AP

In the Battle of Gaza, the Hamas finally made its desire known through what was dubbed “a forceful takeover of Gaza,” after a military conflict between Fatah and Hamas that took place in the Gaza Strip between June 10 and 15, 2007. It was a prominent event in the Fatah–Hamas conflict, centered on the fiercely jousting for power after Fatah lost the parliamentary elections of 2006. Hamas fighters took control of the Gaza Strip and removed Fatah officials. The battle resulted in the dissolution of the unity government and the de facto division of the Palestinian territories into two entities, the West Bank governed by the Palestinian National Authority, and Gaza governed by Hamas.

 

In its largest assaults on Israel’s decades, the Hamas, in addition of killing hundreds of people, kidnapped soldiers and civilians. This purportedly forced Israel to declare war. But the people of the Gaza Strip which is home to two million people, will be the most to suffer.

 

Hamas has since been responsible for suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, and the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldiers. The United States is among the countries that have deemed it a terrorist group. But Hamas is also the governing power in the Gaza Strip.

 

  • What is its role in the Palestinian territories?

An Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas was founded on three pillars: religion, charity and the fight against Israel.

 

For years it has had a contentious relationship with its rival Palestinian party, Fatah, led by Mahmoud Abbas. A year after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas won Palestinian legislative elections, beating Fatah. In 2007, after factional fighting in Gaza, it ousted the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and seized control of the Gaza Strip.

In the early years, Hamas was widely embraced by Palestinians as the group most willing to resist Israel, and it was seen by some as less corrupt and better organized than the Palestinian Authority. But dissatisfaction has risen as Palestinians’ lives have worsened amid conflict and years of Israeli and Egyptian blockade, and some feel the group’s attacks have damaged Palestinians as well.

 

  • Who are its allies and supporters?

 

Within the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in the region, are frequently united against Israel.

 

Islamic Jihad often acts independently of Hamas and is focused primarily on military confrontation. On some occasions, Hamas has exerted pressure on Islamic Jihad to stop attacks or retaliation against Israel or stayed on the sidelines as the group clashed with Israel. At others, Hamas has been drawn into battle.

 

Hamas is allied with Middle Eastern countries like Syria and entities like the Shiite Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon that oppose U.S. and Israeli policies. One of its most vocal supporters is Iran, which has its own interests in battling Israel. For decades, Iran has given Hamas weapons, technology and training to build its own arsenal of advanced rockets that can reach deep into Israeli territory.

 

Read Also: Kuwait Wants to Give Nigeria, 2 Other African countries Work Permit

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