How strong is Hamas?

The attack launched by Hamas on October 7 not only took the Israeli defense system by surprise, but amazed experts at the technological leap made by the Palestinian organization.
Hamas not only fired as many as 2,000 rockets at Israel, but launched a ground attack, with over a thousand fighters crossing the border between Israel and Gaza.
And now there is still fighting in the Gaza Strip, while Israel has declared total war on Hamas.
A total war that risks being the fuse to ignite the entire Middle East, with the risk of a real escalation on a global scale.
In fact, the United States is ready to send weapons to Tel Aviv, while the first interventionist demonstrations were held in Jordan.
And while analysts are wondering why Hezbollah has not yet intervened, attacking Northern Israel, Tel Aviv is gathering its troops to face Hamas, whose strength is now markedly different compared to the past.
But how strong is Hamas militarily today? Let's try to resolve this doubt.
read also Who rules Hamas? Hamas: what has been its military strength to date? Hamas's power has grown over time.
Since its foundation in 1987 during the first intifada, by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric who had joined the Muslim Brotherhood – the oldest Islamist movement in the world – Hamas immediately clarified what its aim was: to liberate Palestine from Israel.
At first the group was weak both politically and militarily, but its political strength has grown over the years, taking advantage of the years of abuse that Palestinian civilians have suffered.
The first attacks against some Israeli military targets date back to 1989 and shortly thereafter in 1990 it established its military wing in the early 1990s.
And after opposing the 1993 Oslo Accords, it carried out suicide bombings inside Israel.
But it is only in 2006 that Hamas also reveals its political and military influence.
After Israel withdrew from Gaza, Hamas won the elections, forming a new unity government with its nationalist rival Fatah party, and after a brief civil war in 2007 took sole control of Gaza, while Fatah collapsed the Authority Palestinian in the West Bank.
Hamas's victory pushed Israel and Egypt to implement an embargo that continues today, leaving civilians to live in disastrous conditions, limiting access to electricity, water, exports and imports and more.
Despite the blockade, Hamas has been able to build its military militias.
In 2008, during the first war against Israel, it had developed a military structure and trained thousands of fighters, with the support of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.
A war that has led to nothing other than the killing by Israel of approximately 1,200-1,400 Palestinians.
After the second war in 2012, in 2014 Hamas already had a greater variety of weapons and rockets at its disposal, and was able to hide its military infrastructure.
Every war against Israel was in fact a training ground for improving its militias, receiving more and more foreign aid.
According to data reported by the Economist, in 2021 Hamas was able to launch 4,300 rockets against Israel in just 11 days – compared to 4,500 fired in 50 days in 2014.
Yet, Hamas' strength was still significantly inferior, so much so that the Israel's reprisals immediately stopped the war: what has changed today? read also Israel, Europe is the big absentee on de-escalation How strong is Hamas today? After 2021, Hamas avoided escalating tensions and sparking a new conflict.
This led analysts to incorrectly assume that Hamas leaders were focusing on strengthening their rule over the Gaza Strip.
But this was not the case and the attack on 7 October demonstrates how the military organization within the Palestinian militia has changed in these two years.
The attack launched on October 7, in fact, was much more "sophisticated" than those previously planned, managing to damage and disable Israeli sensors and deactivate security cameras.
Furthermore, the Palestinian organization then managed to implement a true “electronic warfare” by blocking Israeli communication systems, according to a Reuters report.
All this would suggest that Hamas has strengthened its military technologies and in this, probably, we could read the intervention and economic support from a third country (or organization) such as Iran.
Although the Israeli army is among the 20 strongest in the world, far surpassing Hamas forces, the organization was able to launch its attack.
As the Economist writes, Israel estimates that Hamas' military forces are made up of around 30,000 fighters.
And on October 9, as a full siege was declared on Gaza, Israel called in 300,000 reservists, to add to its approximately 170,000 active troops.
Obviously, despite being more technologically refined, Israel continues to have a more powerful and even more dangerous arsenal.
What is certain is that this war will be carnage, especially for Palestinian civilians, about half of whom are children.
Proof of this is the decision to bomb Gaza and the complaint by Unicef: "the children and families of Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicines and safe access to hospitals, following days of air attacks and cuts to all supply routes." read also Who is right between Israel and Palestine?

Author: Hermes A.I.

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