Hamas has been within the highlight since October 7, when its navy wing, the Qassam Brigades, launched an assault on Israeli territory, killing about 1,400 folks and taking greater than 200 folks captives.
Israel has pledged to complete all wings of the Palestinian resistance group, which has been governing the Gaza Strip since 2007, within the wake of the assault. It has killed greater than 6,500 Palestinians in indiscriminate bombings that the United Nations chief mentioned had been “clear violations of international humanitarian laws“.
Israel has launched six main assaults on Gaza since its troops withdrew from there in 2005. In 2012, it killed Ahmad Jabari, the chief of the Qassam Brigades, in air raids.
Right here’s what to know concerning the origins and evolution of the Brigades:
What’s Hamas and when was it based?
Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and his aide Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in 1987. The affiliation lasted till 2017 when Hamas indicated ending its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas – an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Motion) – means zeal.
It emerged in the course of the first Intifada towards Israeli occupation throughout which 1000’s of Palestinians got here out to protest peacefully towards Israeli land expropriation and unlawful settlements. After a harsh response to their protest, Palestinians began to make use of rocks, and a few teams resorted to small arms.
Hamas favoured armed resistance to liberate Palestine and opposed the 1993 Oslo Accords, saying Israel used the deal to increase unlawful settlements on territories occupied in 1967.
In 2006, the group determined to take part in elections in Gaza. It received, however the switch of energy was not peaceable, as Fatah – the social gathering that dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA) – tried to oust them from the Gaza Strip.
Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the enclave after Hamas took energy, and it nonetheless decides what and who goes in and comes out of the Strip – making it successfully an “open-air jail”.
Ismail Haniyeh, who had shut ties with Hamas founder Yasin, leads the political wing of Hamas as we speak.
In keeping with a survey by the Palestinian Middle for Coverage and Survey Analysis in March, most Palestinians would vote for Haniyeh over present PA President Mahmoud Abbas or his Fatah social gathering.
Hamas’s continued social welfare actions, together with meals distribution throughout Ramadan and constructing faculties, have solidified its help.
What are the Qassam Brigades?
Hamas established its navy unit in 1992 to centralise and construction the navy actions its fighters had been taking towards Israel within the Eighties and Nineties.
The identify is impressed by a Syrian fighter, Ezzedine al-Qassam, who struggled towards British occupation after he was expelled to Palestine, in accordance with the group’s official web site.
Mohammed Deif is the navy commander, assisted by his deputy, Marwan Issa.
The Qassam Brigades’ actions towards Israel have helped Hamas achieve recognition amongst giant segments of Palestinians, according to experts.
The PA has turn into unpopular because it has did not cease unlawful settlements and continues security coordination with Israel. It grew to become additional marginalised by the rise of utmost far-right Israeli politics.
How sturdy are the Qassam Brigades?
In keeping with the CIA World Factbook, the Qassam Brigades have 20,000 to 25,000 members, though this quantity is disputed.
The Brigades have misplaced thousands of fighters in Israeli assaults and its sources have been depleted in Israeli air raids.
Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza supplied Hamas with the chance to rebuild its navy wing. Monetary help, allegedly from Iran, is claimed to have enabled the armed group to develop subtle navy capabilities. Hamas sees its arsenal as a crucial deterrent.
What are the Qassam Brigades’s navy actions?
The Brigades are mentioned to amass their weapons by means of smuggling, allegedly getting some navy help from Iran, and making some weapons domestically, in accordance with the CIA Factbook. Al Jazeera, nonetheless, couldn’t independently confirm the claims.
They have a tendency to depend on rocket assaults and have added drones to their arsenal not too long ago.
In keeping with a 2021 report by the US Division of State, the al-Qassam and different Palestinian armed teams launched greater than 4,400 rockets in confrontations with Israel in 2021. In 11 days of combating, at the least 260 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli strikes whereas Israeli fatalities stood at 13.
Experiences say the al-Qassam has experience in improvised explosive units (IEDs) and rocket launchers, antitank missiles and mortars, however they rely an incredible deal on technique and stealth, with an intensive tunnel infrastructure that enables them to maneuver round undetected.
Why did Hamas assault on October 7?
Hamas mentioned its assault was in response to Israeli violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and rising settler violence towards Palestinians within the occupied West Financial institution and East Jerusalem.
It additionally mentioned that it had managed to take sufficient captives to discount for the discharge of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, and a few analysts have mentioned the acceleration of Arab-Israeli normalisation could have been one other issue.
“That is the day of the best battle to finish the final occupation on Earth,” mentioned Deif, the Qassam Brigades navy commander. He brazenly known as on supporters and Muslim nations to hitch the armed battle.
What are Gaza’s different armed resistance teams?
Different armed teams in Gaza have indicated that they’re becoming a member of the present resistance towards Israeli forces.
Chief amongst them are the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Saraya al-Quds Brigades. Fashioned in 1992, al-Quds has claimed accountability for at the least 23 rocket assaults, in accordance with data gathered by the Important Threats Venture.
The Well-liked Entrance for the Liberation of Palestine additionally has an energetic navy presence in Gaza by means of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades and has been becoming a member of requires armed resistance by means of official Telegram messages.