Israel Officially Declares War After Hamas Surprise Attack

( – Israel and Palestine have been fighting over the Gaza Strip for decades. This long and complicated history has now escalated between the Jewish and Muslim groups. The current battle has led to over 1,000 deaths so far, but even more bloodshed could be on its way now that Israel has officially declared war against its enemy.

The New York Times reports that hundreds of militants from Gaza rushed into Israeli territory on Saturday, October 7, and slaughtered most of the civilians in their wake. The soldiers went into homes and city venues alike, and they took hostage those they didn’t kill, forcing the citizens into Gaza territory as their prisoners.

Israel, in response, rounded up 300,000 of its reserve soldiers, who joined the many already occupying the Gaza Strip — a stretch of land bordering Egypt that runs along the Mediterranean Sea. Gaza is one of two regions, the other being the West Bank, where large groups of Palestinians continue to claim residency despite Israel’s insistence that both areas belong to its people.

The Palestinians responsible for the recent attack have remained in hiding since their retreat, according to Reuters, which adds that the conflict has led to the deaths of an estimated 800 Israeli citizens. It notes that only about 85 of those casualties have been soldiers, which means Palestinians have murdered several hundred innocent people. Estimates place the Palestinian death toll at 500.

The Times suggests the escalation may be part of other, related shifts in the world order. It lists Russia’s war with Ukraine, China’s growing aggression toward Taiwan, India’s increased prosecution of Sikhs, and developments in Israel as evidence that political groups are growing bolder, while seeming less wary of potential consequences, in their efforts to grow their own power and reduce US influence over their regions.

Israel, which became home to large groups of Jewish people after the Holocaust, drafts most 18-year-old citizens to serve at least 32 months in the military for men and 24 months for women. Many of those soldiers remain on reserve as long as they’re young and fit enough to fight.

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