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Timeline of Israel-Hamas Conflict

Getty Images News/Chris McGrath
Getty Images News/Chris McGrath

As the terrorist organization Hamas continues its war against Israel, many are looking to understand the conflict. The following is a timeline of Israel-Hamas conflicts up to today.

-In 1987, Hamas, a Sunni Islamic terrorist organization, formed following the Palestinian Intifada against Israeli forces in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the Gaza Strip. The group vowed to create an Islamic Palestinian state and use every type of terrorist means to achieve its goal. The spawn of Palestinian Islamic jihadism was in response to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, where then-Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for the eradication of the "Zionist regime."

-In 1989, Hamas carried out its first terrorist attack against Israeli military targets, including the kidnapping and murder of several Israeli soldiers. As various right and left-wing Israeli governments tried to counter Hamas and its growing popularity as a terrorist organization, the Sunni terrorist group eventually allied with the Shiite Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah, in Southern Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1992. The three groups agreed to support each other and forgo any religious divisions to focus on the destruction of the Jewish state and Jews throughout the world.

-In 1993, following the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the US-backed Oslo Accord with Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist leader Yasser Arafat, Hamas, with support from the Islamic Republic, sought to derail the peace process with bus bombings and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. The PLO, which became the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip, refused to help Israel in stopping Hamas attacks, releasing many from their prison cells. As a result, the people of Israel lost faith in the peace process, realizing that the Palestinians were not acting in good faith, and elected Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) to stop the terrorist attacks.

-From 2001 to 2002, Hamas carried out a series of suicide bombings in Israel, including killing 21 Israelis outside a Tel Aviv disco and 30 Jewish celebrants at a Passover seder dinner in Netanya. Several months later, Hamas' military commander, Salah Shehadeh, was neutralized by an Israeli air strike.

-In 2005, Israel successfully neutralized Hamas’s co-founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and co-founder and political leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, in Gaza within a month of each other, leading the leadership to go into hiding.

Following the targeted death of Hamas’s leadership, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah strengthened their support for the terrorist organization, smuggling arms from Tehran through Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Southern Lebanon and providing training for Hamas terrorist fighters.

-In August of 2005, Israeli-right-wing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, ordering the Israeli government to remove Israeli civilians from their homes and hand the populated area to the PA in pursuit of peace. Following the decision, which many viewed as a grave mistake, the PA held an election where Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative election. Israel and the US responded by cutting off aid to the Palestinians, given that Hamas refused to renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state of Israel.

-In June 2006, Hamas terrorist fighters captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid, prompting Israeli air strikes and incursions. Shalit was freed five years later in a prisoner exchange.

-In June 2007, Hamas took over Hamas over Gaza in a brief civil war, ousting the PA, which is now based in the West Bank. Following Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip, the terrorist organization has oppressed Palestinian individuals who speak out against their rule and indoctrinated young children into believing that Israel and the Jewish people are their enemies. Hamas has left the Strip in complete economic disarray, using humanitarian aid from NGOs to create rockets, missiles, and dig tunnels to reach Israel.

-In late December 2008, Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Several Israelis were wounded and 13 killed before the ceasefire was reached.

-From 2012 to 2014, Hamas engaged in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers, going insofar as to kidnap and kill several Israeli teenagers, resulting in the 2014 seven-week war in which Israel responds by crippling the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. According to reports, 73 Israelis were killed, with 67 of them being members of the military.

-From 2015 to 2018, Hamas continued to grow in strength thanks to support from Iran, leading to protests at Gaza's border with Israel and attempts by Hamas terrorist fighters to enter the country.

-In May 2021, following weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters near the Al-Aqsa Mosque over a legal case in which eight Palestinian families faced eviction from East Jerusalem homes for being unable to pay their rent. After a weekend of sporadic violence, hundreds of Palestinian terrorists clashed with Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam's third holiest site. After demanding Israel withdraw its security forces, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel hit back with air strikes on Gaza. Palestinian terrorists then launched rockets deep into Israel. The US sent an envoy to the region, and Israel's military neutralized a senior Hamas commander in Gaza. Using its military resources, Israel used warplanes, tanks, and artillery against a network of Palestinian terrorist tunnels under Gaza in an operation followed by more terrorist rockets.

-In 2022, sporadic attacks by Hamas against Israelis occurred, with Hezbollah and Iran coordinating with one another.

-In 2023, such actions continued to occur, with Hamas officials meeting with top officials in Beirut and Tehran over how to attack Israel.

-In Oct. 2023, on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Hamas launched a massacre against Israel, paralyzing the country and the international community and leading to over 1,000 Israeli dead. Since the war began on Sunday, October 8th, the Israeli government has been trying to push Hamas out of Israel and defend its border on the northern side to prevent Hezbollah from joining the fight. The Islamic Republic of Iran has lauded Hamas’s actions, promising to support the terrorist group in wiping out Israel.

Related Story: ‘Bodies Cut in Half’: Witnesses Describe ‘Nightmare’ Scenes in Wake of Hamas Terrorist Attack

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