Hamas says October 7 attacks 'necessary step', admits 'faults'

In a public report released to justify the attacks, the group says many Israelis were killed by the Israeli army and police due to their confusion

By AFP

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An Israeli soldier adjusts a weapon on top of a vehicle near Israel's border with Gaza. — Reuters
An Israeli soldier adjusts a weapon on top of a vehicle near Israel's border with Gaza. — Reuters

Published: Sun 21 Jan 2024, 9:20 PM

Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Sunday its October 7 attacks in southern Israel were a "necessary step" against Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

But the group admitted in a 16-page report justifying the attack that "some faults happened... due to the rapid collapse of the Israeli security and military system, and the chaos caused along the border areas with Gaza".

The document was the group's first public report released in English and Arabic explaining the background to the attack, when the militants broke through Gaza's militarised border.

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At the end of a Jewish holiday on October 7, hundreds of Hamas fighters crossed into Israel by land, air and sea and killed civilians in the streets, in their homes and at an outdoor rave party.

The attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Around 700 Israeli civilians and 76 foreigners were among the dead, with one Israeli still missing, according to Israeli social security data.

During the attack, the gunmen seized around 250 hostages, according to the latest Israeli figures.

Israeli officials say around 132 captives remain in Gaza, of whom at least 27 are believed to have been killed.

"If there was any case of targeting civilians it happened accidentally and in the course of the confrontation with the occupation forces," Hamas said in the report.

"Many Israelis were killed by the Israeli army and police due to their confusion."

Israel retaliated by declaring a war to destroy Hamas, pounding the Gaza Strip in the deadliest bombing campaign the area has ever faced.

Israel deployed tens of thousands of troops along the Gaza frontier and on the northern border with Lebanon.

It declared a complete siege of Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, electricity and food, decisions denounced by the United Nations.

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Israel's retaliation has killed at least 25,105 people in Gaza, mostly women, children and adolescents, according to the health ministry in the territory.

Israeli officials have repeatedly alleged that the militants committed gang rape, genital mutilation and engaged in sexual acts with children and corpses during the attack.

Hamas has rejected the accusations, saying they were intended to "demonise" it.

The militant group said the attack was "a necessary step and a normal response to confront all Israeli conspiracies against the Palestinian people".

On Sunday, Hamas urged "the immediate halt of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the crimes and ethnic cleansing committed against the entire Gaza population".

And the group said it rejected any international and Israeli efforts to decide Gaza's post-war future.

"We stress that the Palestinian people have the capacity to decide their future and to arrange their internal affairs," the report said, adding that "no party in the world" had the right to decide on their behalf.

Hamas pointed to the historical origins of the conflict, saying "the battle of the Palestinian people against occupation and colonialism did not start on October 7, but started 105 years ago, including 30 years of British colonialism and 75 years of Zionist occupation".

The group said it wanted to "hold the Israeli occupation legally accountable" for the suffering it had inflicted on the Palestinian people.


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