What is Hamas, the Palestinian militant group?

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Source: The post is based on the article What is Hamas, the Palestinian militant group?published in “The Hindu” on 11th October 2023

What is the News?

Israel and the armed Palestinian group Hamas are locked in an escalating conflict that has left thousands of people dead

What is Hamas?

Hamas stands for the Islamic Resistance Movement and in Arabic means “zeal”.

The group politically controls the Gaza Strip, a territory of about 365 sq km.

Hamas has been in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007 after a brief war against Fatah forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

When was Hamas formed and what is its aim?

The Hamas movement was founded in Gaza in 1987 after the start of the first Intifada, an uprising against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The movement started as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and created a military wing to pursue an armed struggle against Israel with the aim of liberating historic Palestine.

Unlike the PLO, Hamas does not recognise Israel’s statehood but accepts a Palestinian state on 1967 borders.

The group as whole or in some instances its military wing is designated as a “terrorist” organization by Israel, the United States, European Union, Canada, Egypt and Japan.

What is the Gaza Strip?

Source: BBC

The Gaza Strip is a 41km (25-mile) long and 10km-wide territory between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel controls the airspace over Gaza and its shoreline and restricts who and what goods are allowed in and out through its border crossings.Similarly, Egypt controls who passes in and out through its border with Gaza.

According to the UN, about 80% of the population of Gaza depends on international aid, and about one million people rely on daily food aid.

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