When Hamas fighters launched a coordinated and large-scale series of attacks against Israel on October 7, it became the deadliest day Israel had suffered since its founding. The brutal attacks have been widely discussed ever since, with extensive analysis of the apparent failure of Israeli intelligence to identify signals that they were imminent and of the apparent ground offensive into Gaza that Israel looks set to launch. But when the attacks began, what did Hamas leaders actually think they would accomplish?

In other words, what were the group’s strategic objectives? And equally importantly, what are its objectives now, in the face of what appears to be an exceptionally forceful response from Israel? To examine those questions, this episode features a conversation with Dr. Michele Groppi, a lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London. As he argues, the attacks might have been tactically successful—insofar as Hamas fighters managed to enter and move deep into Israel and, combined with a massive rocket bombardment, kill and kidnap a large number of Israeli civilians. But at the same time, they might represent a major and unprecedented strategic error.

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Image credit: rainwiz (adapted by MWI)