The details of a massive attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023, have been revealed by The Washington Post, citing evidence from the bodies and equipment of the slain militants, as well as intelligence and security officials from four countries.
The attack, which involved hundreds of Hamas fighters armed with rockets, mortars, anti-tank missiles, drones, and suicide vests, aimed to kill and take hostages as many civilians as possible, and provoke a full-scale Israeli invasion of Gaza.
“They wanted to create a new reality, to change the equation with Israel, to force Israel to launch a ground operation and to drag it into a war of attrition” – a senior Israeli security official told The Washington Post.
The attack was foiled by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), who detected the infiltration attempt and responded with airstrikes and artillery fire. However, the clash triggered a war that is still ongoing, with both sides exchanging fire and causing thousands of deaths and injuries .
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, was no longer functioning due to Israeli airstrikes and lack of supplies. “We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes” – Dr. Ahmed al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said.
Women’s groups in Israel warned of the failure to keep evidence of sexual violence in the Hamas attacks, and urged the authorities to provide support and protection for the survivors. “We are hearing horrific testimonies of women and girls who were raped, sexually assaulted and tortured by Hamas militants” – Anat Nir, director of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said.
A media freedom group accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes and reported the deaths of 34 journalists in the conflict, calling for an independent investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). “Israel and Hamas have systematically violated international humanitarian law and committed war crimes against journalists and media workers” – Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, said.
The ICC has opened a probe into the situation in Palestine, and said it would examine all allegations of crimes committed by both parties. Israel has rejected the ICC’s jurisdiction, while Hamas has welcomed it.
The war has also drawn international condemnation and calls for a ceasefire, but no diplomatic breakthrough has been achieved so far. “We will not stop fighting until we restore security and peace for all our citizens” – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.
– Hamas envisioned deeper attacks, aiming to provoke an Israeli war, The Washington Post, November 12, 2023
– Israel-Hamas war live: al-Shifa hospital ‘no longer functioning’, says WHO; US strikes two locations in Syria, MSN, November 13, 2023
– Israel women’s groups warn of failure to keep evidence of sexual violence in Hamas attacks, The Guardian, November 10, 2023
– A media freedom group accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes and reports deaths of 34 journalists, ABC News, November 1, 2023