Europe 1 with AFP 15:51 p.m., October 07, 2023

On Saturday morning, at least 40 people were killed in a Hamas attack that also wounded 779 people in Israel, according to the Health Ministry. Tens of thousands of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip. But why has this area been the scene of many conflicts for nearly 15 years?

Israel on one side, and the Palestinian movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the other, have fought a succession of wars in the Gaza Strip since 2008. On Saturday, Israel was once again "at war", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, as thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza and fighting raged around the enclave between the Israeli army and infiltrated Palestinian fighters.

"Cast Lead"

On 27 December 2008, Israel launched a major air offensive against the Gaza Strip to put an end to rocket fire from this Palestinian territory, which has been controlled since 2007 by the Islamist movement Hamas (Operation Cast Lead). On 3 January 2009, Israeli troops entered the Palestinian territory. On 18 January, a ceasefire put an end to the operation. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. In July, Amnesty International published a damning report on the offensive, accusing both Israel and Hamas of "war crimes."

"Pillar of Defense"

On November 14, 2012, the Israeli army launched Operation Pillar of Defense against armed groups in Gaza, which began with the targeted assassination of Hamas' head of military operations, Ahmad Jaabari. In eight days of intensive airstrikes, more than 170 Palestinians died, including about 1 civilians. Six Israelis, including four civilians, were killed. The Israeli military says it struck 500,19 targets, including 900 command centers. More than 400 rockets launched from Gaza reached Israel, more than 1 others were intercepted. The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, alone claim to have fired more than 500,<> rockets.

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"Protective Edge"

On July 8, 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop rocket fire and destroy tunnels dug from Gaza. On August 26, after 50 days of war, Hamas and Israel reached a ceasefire agreement, brokered through Egypt. The war, which has ravaged the enclave, has killed at least 2,251 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 74 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers. Nearly 55,000 homes have been hit by Israeli strikes, with at least 17,200 totally or almost totally destroyed, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"Guardian of the Walls"

In 2021, Hamas launched hostilities on May 10 by firing salvos of rockets in "solidarity" with the hundreds of Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli police on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest site. In the aftermath, Israel launched Operation Guardian of the Walls aimed at "reducing" Hamas' military capabilities by increasing air strikes. After intense diplomatic negotiations, a ceasefire came into effect on 21 May.

In 11 days, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian movements labeled "terrorist" by Israel, the European Union and the United States, launched more than 4,300 rockets, firing at Israel with unprecedented intensity. 90% of the projectiles were intercepted by its anti-missile shield. The clashes left at least 232 Palestinians dead, including 65 children, and 12 dead in Israel, including a six-year-old child and a 16-year-old girl.

"Shield and Arrow"

A few days after exchanges of fire with Islamic Jihad, Israel launched air raids on the Gaza Strip on May 9, 2023 (Operation Shield and Arrow) that killed 15 Palestinians, including three military commanders of the movement. Islamic Jihad retaliated with several hundred rockets, which caused no injuries in Israel. On 11 and 12 May, Israel eliminated two military leaders of the Palestinian movement in quick succession. An Egyptian-brokered truce came into effect on May 13 after five days of a war that left 35 people dead.