Friday, October 13, 2023

Israel / Palestine Map: Height of Hamas Control in 2023 Invasion (October 7, 2023)

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This map shows the approximate situation on the afternoon of October 7, 2023, when control by Hamas and its allies reached farthest into Israel. Now, several days later, Israeli forces are thought to have reversed almost all those gains, returning the lines of control to roughly their same positions as just before the invasion.

Map of who controlled Palestine and Israel's claimed territories on the afternoon of October 7, 2023, at the greatest extent of penetration into Israel by the Hamas invasion. Shows both Israeli and Palestinian Authority administration (Fatah and Hamas factions indicated separately). Includes bigger West Bank map (Area A, Area B, and Area C). Map also includes Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, major cities and Israeli settlements, UN peacekeeper deployments (UNIFIL in Lebanon and UNDOF in Syria), no man's land, Golan Heights buffer zone (area of separation, AOS), and Shebaa Farms. Colorblind accessible. Also file under: Map of Hamas attack on Israel.
Click to enlarge. Map by Evan Centanni, incorporating base map by Koen Adams of and data from B'Tselem's interactive mapping project. (Contact us for permission to use this map.)

Timeline by Djordje Djukic

2023 Israel-Hamas War: How much of Israel did Hamas Capture in its Invasion?

Last Saturday, just a day after the 50th anniversary of Israel's last full-scale war, the country was once again thrust into massive turmoil. In an unprecedented invasion of Israel proper, forces of hardline Palestinian party Hamas and smaller allied groups burst out of their stronghold in the Gaza Strip, briefly doubling their area of control while killing hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike. The above map shows the approximate situation at the height of Hamas and allied control, later on the same day that the invasion began.

The Israeli military steadily took back ground from Hamas and allies over the next several days (though not as fast as government statements suggested), and as of October 12 it seems to have fully driven the Palestinian fighters back into the Gaza Strip - meaning the lines of control now stand in roughly the same place as just before the invasion. As Israel retaliates with a massive bombing campaign targeting the densely-populated Gaza Strip, similar numbers of Palestinian and Israeli civilians are now thought to have been killed in the war, with deaths of Palestinian fighters already far surpassing losses for the Israeli military.

Notably, the internationally-recognized Palestinian government of the Fatah party, which governs Palestinian areas in the West Bank and represents Palestine as a country internationally, has stayed out of the fight. Fatah leader and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who led his party in a civil war against Hamas in 2007, has stuck to issuing vague statements of support for Palestinian resistance to Israel while rejecting the killing of civilians by "both sides".

For a beginner's introduction to the players and territories involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict, check out our newly-revised explainer article. For a detailed timeline of the current war since Hamas and allies invaded Israel last Saturday, continue reading below.

Israel-Palestine Conflict: Timeline of the Hamas Attack & New October War

The following is a timeline of changes to territorial control and other key events in the Israel/Palestine area since the start of the October 2023 Israel-Hamas war. Sources are provided as links within the text.

October 7, 2023

In the early morning, Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip as an unrecognized rival government of Palestine, announced the start of “Operation al-Aqsa Flood”, firing between 2,500 and 3,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper. 

Between 1,000 and 1,500 Palestinian fighters then forced their way across the border into Israeli territory, breaking through the Israeli barrier surrounding the Gaza Strip in nearly 30 places (sometimes using bulldozers) and attacking Israeli-military-controlled crossing points at Kerem Shalom and Erez, overrunning both. Fighters using paragliders also attacked a nearby music festival inside Israel proper, killing and capturing dozens of partygoers at the event, with the death toll later reported to be at least 260. 

In addition to Hamas, the smaller and more religious-hardline Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group was also thought to have participated in the invasion. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both hard-line leftist groups, also later claimed to be involved in the fighting alongside Hamas.

After capturing several positions around the border, including other military bases, the Hamas-led fighters then stormed nearby Israeli towns, entering 22 communities and reaching up to 24 kilometers (15 miles) into Israeli territory. Entering by both land and sea, they used motorbikes, pickup trucks, paragliders, and speed boats. Among the major Israeli towns that were attacked by Palestinian forces advancing overland from Gaza were Sderot, Ofakim, and Netivot. In addition, Palestinian forces entered Ashkelon from the sea, but most of them subsequently retreated back to Gaza. In Sderot, Hamas forces seized the town’s police station. Towards the evening, they seized more territory around Gaza as Israel’s military withdrew. During the first hours of their advance, the Palestinian fighters captured a large amount of military equipment, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and armored vehicles. Overall, the fighters had taken control of between seven and eleven Israeli communities during the day. As reinforcements arrived, the Israeli military recaptured one military base and part of a village in the evening.

Also in the evening, heavy Israeli strikes hit the Gaza Strip, and were followed by a Hamas rocket barrage hitting Tel Aviv and three other cities.

On the first day of fighting, more than 300 Israelis were confirmed killed, while 232 Palestinians were reported to have died in Israeli retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip. Among those killed was the commander of the Israeli military’s 933rd Nahal Brigade, Col. Jonathan Steinberg, as well as the commander of the elite Multidimensional unit (known as the “Ghost” unit), Col. Roi Levy. The Palestinian assault was considered a major Israeli intelligence failure, with many expressing surprise that the Israeli government didn’t foresee the complex attack, and some called it "Israel’s 9/11 moment".

Flag of Israel Country Name:  
• Israel (English)
Yisra'el (Hebrew)
ʼIsrāʼīl (Arabic)
Full Declared Name:  
• State of Israel (English) 
• Medinat Yisra'el (Hebrew)
Dawlat ʼIsrāʼīl (Arabic)
• Jerusalem (functioning but disputed)

October 8, 2023

By the early morning of the day after the invasion began, Israeli forces had reportedly struck 426 targets in the Gaza Strip. Israeli security forces managed to regain control of 10 Israeli towns and villages, clearing Palestinian fighters from Ofakim, Netivot, and Sderot, where they retook the town’s police station. However, in a subsequent counterattack, the fighters once again entered three of the smaller villages and reached a fourth. Clashes also took place in the eastern outskirts of Ashkelon.

During the day, Israel formally declared war for the first time since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War (also known as the Yom Kippur War or October War), which began almost exactly 50 years earlier. By the end of the second day of fighting, the confirmed death toll on the Israeli side had reached more than 700, while 413 Palestinians had been killed in the Gaza Strip and 11 died in the West Bank amid smaller-scale clashes there.

In Alexandria, Egypt (not shown on map), an Egyptian police officer shot and killed two Israeli tourists and their guide, and wounded one more Israeli, before being arrested.

October 9, 2023

Israel reported that its forces had struck 500 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight. By this point, the Israeli military said it had regained control of all towns near the Strip. During the day, it announced a “total” blockade of the Strip, including a ban on food, water, and fuel. Israel stated that it would also cut electricity to the territory.

Near Arab al-Aramshe town in the north of Israel, a gun battle broke out in which two members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed trying to enter Israel from Lebanon, while three Israeli soldiers were also killed and three wounded. Among the Israeli dead was the deputy commander of the the country’s 300th Infantry Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Elim Abdullah. In retaliation, Israel shelled southern Lebanon, killing either three or five members of Hezbollah, a powerful military and political group that dominates much of Lebanon and supports Hamas. Hezbollah itself then retaliated by firing rockets into Israel.

At the end of the third day of the conflict, the death toll from the fighting had reached more than 900 on the Israeli side, while 687 Palestinians had been killed in the Gaza Strip and 17 in the West Bank.

October 10, 2023

The Israeli military was confirmed to have retaken control of five more villages and two military bases, while securing three other villages that had previously been under attack. Still, clashes continued at Sderot, Ashkelon, and two more villages inside Israel proper as Palestinian fighters were reported to still control some territory outside of the Gaza Strip. Though Israel had already claimed to have restored full control outside the Strip, it admitted that a "small number" of Palestinian fighters were "hiding in Israeli territory". In one of the villages that were retaken by Israeli forces, west of Netivot, the bodies of 107 people were found, while in another to the north of there, 70 residents had been killed.

The Israeli military said that its drone strikes on the Gaza Strip during the day had killed Hamas’s economics minister, Jawad Abu Shamala, and Hamas’s head of internal relations, Zakariya Abu Moammar. Meanwhile, during the day, Hamas rocket strikes hit Ashkelon town near Gaza, as well as the further-off city of Tel Aviv and its nearby Ben-Gurion International Airport. In the far north, mortar fire from within Syria crossed into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. In retaliation, Israel said it launched artillery strikes into Syria, without specifying who it believed the enemy was.

At the end of the fourth day of the conflict, the death toll from the fighting had reached more than 1,200 on the Israeli side, while 900 Palestinians had been killed in the Gaza Strip and 19 in the West Bank.

Flag of Palestine Claimed Country Name:  
• Palestine (English)
Filasṭīn (Arabic)
Full Declared Name:  
• State of Palestine (English)
• Dawlat Filasṭin (Arabic)
• Jerusalem (claimed; not controlled)
Ramallah (administrative; Fatah faction)
• Gaza City (administrative; Hamas faction)

October 11, 2023

Heavy Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip continued, demolishing entire neighborhoods, while clashes continued in two communities within Israel proper. During the day, electricity in Gaza went out after the only power station in the Gaza Strip stopped working. Meanwhile, more exchanges of fire took place between the Israeli military and Hezbollah on the Israel-Lebanon border, leaving one Israeli soldier dead and one wounded.

In the evening, a “probable Israeli air strike” in Syria’s eastern province of Deir ez-Zor (not shown on map) killed six Syrian fighters. The strikes targeted three sites near Abu Kamal belonging to Iran-backed groups, which are allied with the Syrian government. Another Israeli strike elsewhere in the province, targeting the Syrian military, reportedly left two soldiers wounded. As chronicled in PolGeoNow's coverage of the Syrian Civil War, Israel was already thought to be regularly striking Iran-linked targets in Syria long before the current Israel-Hamas war began.

At the end of the fifth day of the war, the death toll from the fighting, including civilians, had reached more than 1,300 on the Israeli side, while at least 1,100 Palestinians had been killed in the Gaza Strip and 29 in the West Bank.

October 12, 2023

Israel formed an emergency unity administration combining members of normally-opposed political parties, and established a closed military zone surrounding the Gaza Strip, which would reportedly be used as a staging ground for an upcoming ground assault on the territory. Israel reported that, since the start of the war, it had dropped 6,000 bombs, or 4,000 tons of explosives, on the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, two Israeli police were wounded and a Palestinian gunman was killed in a clash in East Jerusalem.

Elsewhere, Syrian state media said Israel conducted airstrikes against airports in Syria’s cities of Damascus and Aleppo (not shown on map), damaging landing strips and knocking both facilities out of service. Israel did not comment, but both airports are also known host Syrian military bases, and reportedly serve as links in Iran’s supply of weapons to the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

On the sixth day of the war, the confirmed death toll from the violence remained at more than 1,300 on the Israeli side, including at least 854 civilians, while 1,537 Palestinians had been killed in the Gaza Strip, more than half of them civilians, and 31 in the West Bank. Israeli security forces were confirmed, by this point, to have suffered 301 dead, including the four killed on the border with Lebanon. The Israeli military also said that its forces had killed around 1,500 Palestinian fighters on Israeli territory. In addition, around 200 people had been confirmed taken captive by Palestinian fighters and taken into the Gaza Strip. A large number of foreigners or dual-nationals were among those killed or taken captive. Among the dead were 27 Americans, 21 Thais, 13 French, 10 Nepalis, 7 Argentines, 7 Ethiopians, 7 Ukrainians, and at least 33 nationals of other countries.

To check for future updates to this map, view all Israel or Palestine articles on PolGeoNow.