Hamas was founded in Gaza in December 1987 and it has been substantially controlling the area since June 2007. In addition to Gaza, Hamas is present in refugee camps in the West Bank and has a strong base in East Jerusalem, considered part of the West Bank and, therefore, of the Palestinian territories, under international law.

The group supplies funding to and therefore buys the loyalty of young men who believe in violent resistance to the Israeli occupation.

At dawn on Oct. 7, Hamas, whose full name means “Islamic Resistance Movement,” started its latest operation against Israel. The scope and scale of it was broad, and it was a big surprise that Hamas managed to break through the border fence surrounding the Gaza Strip and enter Israel, breaching its security. In addition, the number of hostages taken by Hamas — 199 according to the Israeli Defense Forces — was the highest ever.