All About Hamas: The Militant Islamist Group At War With Israel

Israel has formally declared war on Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, following the group’s surprise attack on soldiers and civilians in Israel on Saturday.

The initial attack saw Hamas fire thousands of rockets from Gaza into Southern Israel, reaching as far as Tel Aviv and the outskirts of Jerusalem where hundreds of lives were lost.

The militants then infiltrated Jewish communities and towns along the Gaza border, as well as a music festival where at least 260 bodies have since been recovered.   

But how did Hamas come to be in the position it is currently in and why have tensions in the region reached boiling point?

Antoinette Lattouf was joined by Lecturer in Terrorism Studies at Macquarie University, Dr Mariam Farida in today’s episode of The Briefing to discuss.

Hamas is a militant group. It’s not Palestinians, it’s not Palestine, but it’s a product of the continuous colonisation and oppression that Israel has continued for the past seventy-five years.

Dr Farida said.

Hamas is a fundamentalist Sunni Islamist group that, along with Fatah, forms one of the two major factions within Palestinian politics.

It was founded in the late 1980s as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and backed by Iran. The group advocates for an end to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the establishment of an Islamic state. It has had sole control of the Gaza Strip since 2007.

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Hamas is officially considered to be a terrorist group by the Australian government.

Dr Farida said the situation is “alarming” and expects the conflict to further escalate.

It will only escalate further from both sides and it will only ignite the conflict to probably spill into the region to neighbouring countries like northern Israel, Lebanon, south Lebanon. It might also drag in other countries in the region because of their peace relationships with Israel.

You can catch the full chat on The Briefing.

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