Why Hamas Chose October 6 To Attack Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a a 'state of war'.
It was October 6, 1973. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, a coalition of Arab nations launched surprise attacks on Israeli-occupied territories, sparking the Yom Kippur War.
Battle lines were drawn and Israel went on an offensive against the Arab coalition. The fighting mostly took place in the Golan Heights, Sinai and the other areas under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Geopolitical tensions hit a tipping point when then-US President Richard Nixon issued a global nuclear alert.
As the war intensified, the Arab members of The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) suspended oil deliveries to all western countries that supported Israel, triggering a global energy crisis.
Two weeks and nearly 20,000 deaths later, Israel emerged victorious with more land under its occupation than it had before the start of the war.
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Fast forward to exactly 50 years, on October 6, 2023, over 5,000 rockets rained down on Israel as the Gaza-based Hamas group announced the initiation of 'Operation Al-Aqsa Flood', calling on "resistance fighters in the West Bank" as well as in "Arab and Islamic nations" to join the battle against Israel, which it accuses of "illegally occupying" Palestinian land.
Hamas officials attributed the recent violence to long-standing tensions between Israel and Palestinians, particularly the dispute over the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The site is revered by both Muslims and Jews, and has a long history of violence, including the bloody 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2021.
The Israeli shock on Simchat Torah, one of Judaism's holiest days, was reminiscent of the surprise attack that began the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
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The fact that Hamas chose this day, which is not just holy in Judaism but also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1973 conflict, carries some significance. Israeli media have been commemorating the Yom Kippur War in recent days, and many Israelis on Saturday saw parallels between the current conflict and the events of decades ago.
While many Israelis were planning to celebrate Simchat Torah, Hamas put a dampener on the party by raining down thousands of missiles in tandem with a sensational land-sea-air infiltration of Israeli land, killing hundreds.
Following the attacks by Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 'state of war' and launched an offensive against the Palestinian group, particularly in the sensitive Gaza Strip.
Hamas has called on its fighters in the West Bank and the Arab and Islamic worlds to join the battle against Israel. In light of the latest conflict, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank remain high.
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