Conflict erupts between Israel and Gaza

On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2,500 elite troops from the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas and militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, stormed across the border between Gaza and Israel. Using bulldozers and paragliders, they were able to break through Israel’s formidable border defenses, and immediately begin attacking Israel’s Southern settlements. Hamas soldiers on paragliders massacred 260 Israeli civilians at the Nova Music Festival in Southern Israel, and over 100 in the Southern Israeli town of Sderot. Overall, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed and 200 were taken hostage in the attacks that Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, dubbed, “Israel’s 9/11.”

Almost immediately after the attacks started, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a statement that said, “Although Israel did not start this war, Israel will finish it.” Israel has imposed a total blockade on the Gaza strip, cutting off all food, water and power until all hostages have been returned. They have also, according to Human Rights Watch, used white phosphorus, a weapon which can cause severe burns and birth defects, against the people inhabiting the Gaza strip. While Israel is yet to launch a full-scale invasion of the Gaza strip, the air campaign has already claimed the lives of roughly 7,000 Gazans, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

A humanitarian corridor has been opened from Egypt and Hamas has released four of the hostages it took. Israel has recently begun launching cross–border raids into the Gaza strip. The largest Israeli raid occurred on Oct. 26, with Israeli troops using tanks against Hamas forces. So far, an overall total of 8,400 people have been killed and 1.4 million have been displaced. Due to the siege, the Gaza strip is running out of vital supplies, and its healthcare system is on the verge of collapse. As of Oct. 26, Israel has allowed 74 trucks carrying aid into Gaza from Egypt, but aid workers say that they are only getting a fraction of what is needed.