Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic terrorist organization that operates primarily in Gaza and the West Bank, with holdings in Arab countries throughout the Middle East.
Hamas was an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood political movement, and was established in 1987 in the wake of the First Intifada. According to Hamas’s charter, the organization was established to liberate Palestine from Israel in order to establish an Islamic state. It holds aspirations on all territory between the Mediterranean seas and the Jordan river, and refuses to acknowledge Israel in any capacity.
The group has a military wing, known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Hamas has used a wide range of tactics, but it does not discriminate in its targets, and often targets civilians. It is recognized by most Western states as a terrorist organization. Hamas has engaged in a number of military confrontations with Israel. Its military wing has employed tactics such as suicide bombings, rocket attacks, kidnapping attempts, and tunnel infiltrations against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
In 2006, the Palestinians held legislative elections in Gaza, but when Hamas won, there was a civil war, and Hamas seized full control of the Strip. Under Hamas, Gaza has been in a longstanding state of conflict with Israel. From the 2005 Israeli disengagement onwards, Hamas has continued to commit terrorist attacks against Israelis from Gaza, and several operations have been fought to quell Hamas attacks, including 2008's Cast Lead, 2011's Pillar of Defense, 2014's Protective Edge, and 2021's Guardian of the Walls.