The longstanding and deeply rooted struggle of the Israel-Hamas conflict witnessed its most recent major eruption of hostilities with Hamas’s October 7 terror attacks on Israel. This volatile confrontation, embedded in the broader Israeli-Palestinian dispute, is currently reshaping the socio-political landscape of the Middle East. Each new outburst of violence carries with it a toll of civilian casualties, deepening grievances, and a further entrenchment of opposing narratives. The recurrent flare-ups thwart efforts toward a lasting peace and challenge the stability of an already tumultuous region. This report delves into the recent developments in the Israel-Hamas war, shedding light on the unfolding dynamics and its broader implications for regional and global geopolitics.

Israel Hamas war map
Graphics used with permission of The Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Gaza

On October 24, the volatile atmosphere in the Gaza Strip saw no rest as Palestinian militant factions launched a series of attacks on Israeli territories. The militant wing of Hamas, known as the al Qassem Brigades, acknowledged orchestrating 11 indirect fire assaults. Similarly, Saraya al Quds, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), carried out six attacks employing mortars and rockets. Furthermore, the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, associated with Fatah, and the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, recognized as a militant faction, have taken responsibility for two and three mortar attacks, respectively. In addition to these claimed attacks, two more rocket assaults were reported by Axis of Resistance-aligned media and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) outlets. However, no group has claimed responsibility for these actions. The frequency of these attacks aligns with the recent observations made by the Critical Threats Project-Institute for the Study of War (CTP-ISW).

On the same day, a bold infiltration attempt from the Gaza Strip into Israel was recorded by CTP-ISW. A cadre of Hamas divers aiming to infiltrate Israel near the Zikim area was intercepted by IDF naval forces. The ensuing confrontation, as claimed by the al Qassem Brigades, took place near Zikim following the foiled infiltration attempt. Additional Palestinian sources illustrated a more intense scenario where fifteen Hamas fighters purportedly infiltrated the Zikim naval base, clashing with IDF forces. Palestinian media outlets reported six Hamas fighters were wounded in the skirmish with the IDF.

Attacks from Gaza
Graphics used with permission of The Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Hamas and its associates are working to shape the narrative to place the blame on Israel for any potential hostage casualties in Gaza, particularly if they proceed to execute hostages. On October 9, Hamas’ military spokesperson, Abu Ubaida, signaled a readiness to kill hostages to react to Israeli air attacks, aiming for strategic military or political advantages. Iranian media outlet Tasnim News Agency, a known affiliate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, claimed on October 22 that Israel has a hidden agenda of getting Israeli captives killed, based on unnamed sources. On October 24, Palestinian Islamic Jihad representative Abu Hamza accused Israel of showing indifference towards the safety of hostages.