On October 7, 2023, at 6:30 a.m. local time, an invasion of Israel was launched by the Muslim Resistance Movement (Hamas), which is a fundamentalist Palestinian politico–military organization. The militants infiltrated numerous cities located in the south of the country and carried out massive attacks. As reported by the Polish Press Agency, as of October 9, 2023, a total of more than 1,100 dead have been reported in the conflict. The Palestinian Authority declares 413 citizens killed (including 78 children), while Israel announced a figure of 700 casualties[1]. Several thousand were wounded on both sides. Moreover, Hamas has announced that it has kidnapped an unknown number of people – both civilian and military – as hostages[2].

Officially, Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization in many countries around the world, including European Union member states, the United States and Israel itself. The idea behind its founding centered on the need to oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestine and bring about its liberation. Since the Muslim Resistance took power in the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian crisis and armed conflict with Israel began to worsen. There have been numerous clashes between the Palestinian Authority and Israel over the years, but the current attack is characterized by a completely different specificity. The statements of two experts are relevant. The first – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken – said that the invasion may have been prompted by the need to disrupt the recent apparent attempt to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel[3]. The other, Israeli–Palestinian relations specialist Jakub Katulski, stressed in his statement that the Israeli armed forces did not anticipate the attack, despite having one of the best–trained intelligence services in the world. The lack of preparedness resulted in so many casualties and widespread kidnappings by Hamas militants. Their exceptional brutality may have been influenced by the support they provided. Lebanese Hezbollah[4], as well as the Iranian authorities and the Russian Federation, are suspected[5].

The attack on Israel began with a massive shelling by Kassam rockets, which can be considered ‘ground–to–ground’ class, with an operational range of 2–3 km. They are classified as home–made weapons, manufactured by Palestinian terrorist and paramilitary groups. The construction of the Kassam is based on the design of a metal pipe, usually a water pipe. The space of the pipe, retrofitted with makeshift vertical and horizontal ballasts, is filled with an explosive with added shot. A mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar is used to provide a rocket propulsion–like recoil effect[6]. According to official figures, more than 5,000 rocket shells were used in the attack, but the number may be much higher[7]. In overwhelming numbers, they tore through Israel’s missile shield, the Iron Dome, causing massive damage.

In retaliation to the bold Hamas attack, the Air Force, which is part of the Israel Defense Forces, conducted air operations in the Gaza Strip to destroy more than 800 ground targets. No information was officially given as to what type of aircraft took part in the missions. Due to the nature of the operations carried out, it was necessary to use air–to–ground guided missiles. The capability to carry them is provided by multi–role aircraft, such as the F–16C/D ‘Barak’, F–16I ‘Sufa’, F–15I ‘Ra’am’, F–35I ‘Adir’, which are on the equipment of the Israeli Air Force[8].

‘This war will take a long time. And it will be difficult. We have challenging days ahead of us’, proclaims an X–rated post on the official profile of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘But I can promise one thing; with the help of God, the strength we all possess and our faith in the Eternal Israel – we will prevail’[9]. Benjamin Netanyahu also thanked Joe Biden, who declared absolute solidarity with Israel. The UK government, represented by Prime Minister – Rishi Sunak, also showed its support.

On the side of the Muslim Resistance Movement are Hezbollah fighters, who officially join the conflict after receiving support from Iran[10]. In view of the rapidly developing conflict, an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was convened, during which the United Nations Secretary General condemned the Hamas attack and called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict[11].

In the wake of the attack on Israel, a number of international air carriers including Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Wizz Air, PLL LOT, Swiss Airlines, among others, have suspended flights to Tel Aviv for air traffic security reasons, and driven by the need to guarantee it for their crews and passengers[12]. Some passenger planes have also been grounded in Israel due to increased rocket attacks carried out by Hamas[13].

Operation ‘Neon’ is underway to evacuate Poles residing in Israel[14].


[1] Polish Press Agency, Hamas attack on Israel. Number of Israelis and Palestinians killed exceeds 1,100, online – https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/atak-hamasu-na-izrael-liczba-zabitych-izraelczykow-i-palestynczykow-przekroczyla-1100 [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[2] Al. Jazeera, World reaction to surprise attack by Palestinian Hamas on Israel, online – https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/7/we-are-at-war-reactions-to-palestinian-hamas-surprise-attack-in-israel [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[3] K. Singh, US to send military ships, aircraft closer to Israel, online – https://www.reuters.com/world/us-announce-new-assistance-israel-after-hamas-attack-2023-10-08/ [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[4] Hezbollah (Arabic: حزب ﷲ, ‘party of god’) – a political party formed in 1982 on the initiative of radical Lebanese Shiites. Since its inception, its funding has been supported by Iran, Syria and donations from supporters. The organization describes itself as anti-imperialist, but is considered a terrorist organization in many countries.

[5] TVN24 Official Service, Expert: Israel let itself be surprised, military was not prepared for attack, online – https://tvn24.pl/swiat/atak-hamasu-na-izrael-ekspert-izrael-dal-sie-zaskoczyc-wojskowi-nie-byli-przygotowani-na-atak-7380578 [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[6] Ł. Michalik, Kassam – a Hamas weapon. Sewer pipe rocket, online – https://tech.wp.pl/kassam-bron-hamasu-rakieta-z-rury-kanalizacyjnej,6640318049843808a [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[7] P. Juraszek, Hamas’ massive attack on Israel. Sewer pipe rockets vs Iron Dome, online – https://tech.wp.pl/ogromny-atak-hamasu-na-izrael-rakiety-z-rur-kanalizacyjnych-vs-zelazna-kopula,6949584969599616a [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[8] K. Modzelewska, More than 50 fighters and 800 targets. Israel Defense Forces continue airstrikes in Gaza, online – https://tech.wp.pl/ponad-50-mysliwcow-i-800-celow-sily-obronne-izraela-kontynuuja-naloty-w-strefie-gazy,6950256252119648a [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[9] Benjamin Netanyahu’s official X (formerly Twitter) profile, online – https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/1710828720041119818 [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[10] M. Urzędkowska, Hamas’ war against Israel. What is known so far, online – https://wyborcza.pl/7,75399,30275938,wojna-hamasu-z-izraelem-co-wiadomo-do-tej-pory.html?do_w=167&do_v=973&do_st=RS&do_sid=995&do_a=995#S.related-K.C-B.1-L.2.zw [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[11] Defense Portal, The UN Security Council meets on Sunday. Can it resolve this crisis?, online – https://portalobronny.se.pl/aktualnosci/w-niedziele-zbiera-sie-rada-bezpieczenstwa-onz-czy-jest-w-stanie-zazegnac-ten-kryzys-aa-oxAc-edyV-j3kA.html [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[12] TVN24 official service, Flights to Israel suspended. Decisions of more lines, online – https://tvn24.pl/biznes/ze-swiata/izrael-loty-do-tel-awiwu-zawieszone-decyzje-kolejnych-linii-7381709 [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[13] Business Insider, Disrupted air links. War in Israel forces carriers to cancel flights, online – https://businessinsider.com.pl/wiadomosci/przerwane-polaczenia-powietrzne-wojna-w-izraelu-zmusza-do-odwolania-lotow/vc52h1b [accessed: 9.10.2023].

[14] Polish Press Agency, Operation ‘Neon’. Behind the scenes of the evacuation of Poles from Israel. ‘We are conducting the largest-scale operation among EU countries’, online – https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/operacja-neon-kulisy-ewakuacji-polakow-z-izraela-prowadzimy-operacje-na-najwieksza [accessed: 9.10.2023].

Photo: Flickr, Israel Defense Forces, online – https://www.flickr.com/photos/idfonline/51140795930/in/photostream/ [accessed: 10.10.2023].


Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.