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HomenewsWhy the Palestinian group Hamas launched an attack on Israel? All to...

Why the Palestinian group Hamas launched an attack on Israel? All to know

Israel and Hamas are locked in a new cycle of escalating violence, after a surprise attack on Saturday involving aerial, sea and ground operations, initiated by the Palestinian group from the Gaza Strip. Israel has responded with a deadly bombardment of the blockaded coastal enclave.

Here is what to know:

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What happened and when?

Early on Saturday morning, the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” against Israel in the most serious escalation since their 11-day war in 2021.Hamas said it had fired 5,000 rockets, while Israel confirmed that the group’s fighters had entered its territory.Daniel Hagari, an Israeli army spokesman, said that the group attacked from land, sea and air.The first round of rockets was fired at 6:30am local time (03:30 GMT).The Israeli army also said it launched “Operation Iron Swords” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.The early-morning attacks occurred on Simchat Torah, a holiday which falls towards the conclusion of the weeklong Jewish festival known as Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.

Where did the attacks take place?

The rockets were fired as far north as Tel Aviv. Hamas also sent fighters into southern Israel.Israeli media said that gunmen had opened fire on passers-by in the town of Sderot, and footage circulating on social media appeared to show clashes in city streets as well as gunmen in jeeps roaming the countryside. One report claimed Hamas fighters had taken control of multiple Israeli civilian population centres, where residents were begging for help from their government.The Israeli army says dozens of fighter jets were carrying out attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.Gun battles are ongoing in and around the towns of Kfar Aza, Sderot, Sufa, Nahal Oz, Magen, Be’eri, and the Re’im military base, the Times of Israel reported.

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How many casualties in Israel and Palestine?

Medical sources in Gaza said at least 232 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 wounded.Israel’s National Emergency Medical Service said at least 200 Israelis have been killed, and 750 wounded, according to the health ministry, in Hamas attacks.

Why did Hamas attack Israel?

Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi has told Al Jazeera that the group’s military operation is in response to all the atrocities the Palestinians have faced over the decades.“We want the international community to stop atrocities in Gaza, against Palestinian people, our holy sites like Al-Aqsa. All these things are the reason behind starting this battle,” he said.“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military commander said, adding that 5,000 rockets were launched.“Everyone who has a gun should take it out. The time has come,” Deif said, according to reports.Hamas called on “the resistance fighters in the West Bank” as well as “our Arab and Islamic nations” to join the battle, in a statement posted on Telegram.

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What is the Israeli government saying?

The Israeli army warned Israelis who live near Gaza to stay in their homes or head to shelters.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country is in a war it “will win”.Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel “will win this war.” Hamas, he said, had made a “grave mistake this morning and launched a war against the State of Israel”.

What is the latest on the ground?

Israeli media reported gunbattles between bands of Palestinian fighters and security forces in towns in southern Israel. Israel’s police chief said there were “21 active scenes” in southern Israel.Al Jazeera’s Walid al-Omari, bureau chief in Ramallah, says Israeli forces surrounded a house in the Ofakim settlement and negotiations are under way with Palestinian fighters who are allegedly holding hostages.The Israeli Ministry of Education says all kindergartens and schools will remain closed across the country on Sunday, expanding a previously announced decision.Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz says he had ordered the state-run electricity company to halt supply to the blockaded enclave.Follow all the latest updates in our page.

What are the international reactions so far?

The Czech government has condemned Hamas for launching “terrorist attacks” on Prague’s traditional ally, Israel.The European Union’s foreign chief, Josep Borrell, expressed solidarity with Israel.The French foreign ministry said France condemned the “terrorist attacks under way against Israel and its population” and that France expressed its full solidarity with Israel.

The UK “unequivocally condemns” a surprise attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Israel on Saturday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel.” and that India stands “in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”

Egypt warned of “grave consequences” from an escalation in a statement from the foreign ministry carried by the state news agency on Saturday. It called for “exercising maximum restraint and avoiding exposing civilians to further danger”.

Lebanese group Hezbollah issued a statement on Saturday saying it was closely following the situation in Gaza and was in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance”.An adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said Iran supported the Palestinians’ attack, the semi-official ISNA news site reported.

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Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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