The beginnings and development of Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, named after a fighter from Syria, Ezzedine al-Qassam, who fought against British occupation after being banished to Palestine, are explained in the article.
Since its armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, launched an attack on Israeli territory on October 7, murdering about 1,400 people and seizing over 200 hostages, Hamas has been in the news.
In response to the incident, Israel has vowed to destroy all branches of the Palestinian resistance movement, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007. In indiscriminate bombardment that the UN chief described as “clear violations of international humanitarian laws,” it has killed over 6,500 Palestinians.
Israel has carried out six significant attacks on Gaza since its forces left the region in 2005. The head of the Qassam Brigades, Ahmad Jabari, was killed by it in air raids in 2012.
The following information explains the beginnings and development of the Brigades:
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What is Hamas and when was it founded?
In 1987, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin and his assistant Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi established Hamas as a breakaway faction of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Up until 2017, when Hamas hinted at severing its connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, the affiliation persisted.
Zeal is what the abbreviation for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, stands for.
It first appeared during the first Intifada against Israeli occupation, when thousands of Palestinians demonstrated peacefully against illegal settlements and land confiscation by the Israelis. Palestinians began using rocks as a form of protest after receiving a severe response, and some groups turned to small guns.
Hamas opposed the 1993 Oslo Accords, claiming Israel had used them to expand illegal settlements on land it had captured in 1967, and supported armed resistance as a means of liberating Palestine.
The group made the decision to take part in Gaza’s elections in 2006. It prevailed, but there was no peaceful handover of power since Fatah, the PA’s ruling party, attempted to drive them out of the Gaza Strip.
With the newly formed ‘axis of evil’ consisting of Russia, China, and Iran, the Israel-Palestine War might be a graveyard for the American Empire.
Following Hamas’ takeover, Israel established a land, sea, and air embargo on the enclave. To this day, it controls who and what enters and exits the Strip, thereby turning it into an “open-air prison.”
Today, Ismail Haniyeh, who was close to Hamas founder Yasin, is in charge of the organization’s political branch.
A March survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that Haniyeh is more likely to be elected by Palestinians than Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the PA, or his Fatah party.
Hamas’s support has been cemented by its ongoing social welfare initiatives, including building schools and distributing food during Ramadan.
What is the Qassam Brigades?
In order to organize and centralize the military operations that its members had been conducting against Israel during the 1980s and 1990s, Hamas formed its military unit in 1992.
According to the group’s official website, the name is derived from a fighter from Syria named Ezzedine al-Qassam who fought against British occupation after being banished to Palestine.
The military commander is Mohammed Deif, who is supported by Marwan Issa, his deputy.
Experts claim that Hamas has gained support from significant sections of the Palestinian population as a result of the Qassam Brigades’ acts against Israel.
Because it failed to stop illegal settlements and has continued to coordinate security with Israel, the PA has lost support. The emergence of radical far-right Israeli politics further marginalized it.
How strong are the Qassam Brigades?
The Qassam Brigades are thought to number between 20,000 and 25,000 members, though this is up for debate, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Israeli air raids have decimated the Brigades’ supplies and resulted in the loss of thousands of fighters.
With Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza, Hamas was able to reassemble its armed wing. The armed group is reported to have been able to develop formidable military capabilities thanks to financial support, purportedly from Iran. For Hamas, having an arsenal is essential to deterrence.
What is the Qassam Brigades’s military activities?
The CIA Factbook claims that the Brigades get their weapons through smuggling, that they manufacture some weapons locally, and that they receive some military backing from Iran. However, Al Jazeera was unable to independently corroborate the allegations.
They have lately added drones to their arsenal and typically rely on rocket strikes.
In 2021, the Qassam and other Palestinian armed groups fired over 4,400 rockets in Israeli airspace, according to a report released by the US Department of State in 2021. During the course of the 11-day conflict, Israeli attacks claimed the lives of at least 260 Palestinians and left 13 Israelis dead.
According to reports, the Qassam are skilled with rocket launchers, antitank missiles, mortars, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). However, they also rely heavily on strategy and stealth, and they have a sophisticated tunnel network that allows them to move around unobserved.
Why did Hamas attack on October 7?
According to Hamas, the incident was a reaction to Israeli breaches of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and an increase in settler violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
Additionally, it claimed to have captured enough prisoners to negotiate the release of Palestinian inmates held in Israeli prisons. Some observers speculate that the acceleration of Arab-Israeli normalization played a role in this as well.
“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” said Deif, the Qassam Brigades military commander. He publicly urged allies and Muslim countries to take up arms.
What are Gaza’s other armed resistance groups?
It has been announced that more armed organizations in Gaza would be joining the ongoing resistance movement against Israeli soldiers.
The Saraya al-Quds Brigades of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are the most prominent among them. According to information compiled by the Critical Threats Project, al-Quds, which was founded in 1992, has taken credit for at least 23 rocket assaults.
Through the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has a combat presence in Gaza and has been actively supporting calls for armed resistance via official Telegram messages.