In the early morning of Oct. 7, Hamas, a militant organization that effectively controls the Gaza Strip, launched a full-fledged surprise attack on southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people, including civilians, and taking some 250 people hostage.

The attacks, which Hamas called Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, had been meticulously planned for over a year, and some of the militants committed atrocities including sexual violence, pillaging, arson and beheading.

Israel was caught off guard, suffering severe damage and a historic high number of casualties. The Israeli government immediately declared war on Hamas.