Who?

Khaled Mashal, former leader of Hamas, and current member of the Hamas Political Bureau.

The Political Bureau is Hamas’s main decision-making body. It determines social, political, and military policies in consultation with the Shura Council.

What?

Hamas/Khaled Mashal has addressed Palestinians residing within Israel and called for a general mobilisation day for the 'Al-Aqsa Flood Operation.’ They have urged Palestinians in the West Bank and within Israel to join rallies and confront Israeli soldiers.

Additionally, they have called upon “free people of the world to mobilise in solidarity with our Palestinian people and in support of their just cause and legitimate rights to freedom, independence, return, and self-determination.”

“Here is Palestine calling out to you, and Al-Aqsa Mosque calling out to you. It awaits your response to fulfil the duty of brotherhood and dignity, to stand with our people and their resistance, and to honourably defend the blessed land of Palestine and protect the dignity of our nation in its Jerusalem and ascension.”

Please follow this link to a translation of Mashal’s speech.

When?

Statement released on 11 October 2023, with a call to action for Friday 13 October 2023.

Where?

Global threat toward the Jewish communities around the world. This call to arms will rouse support for the Palestinian cause for other Arabic nations and peoples. The potential for attacks on Jewish communities should be regarded as high. This declaration will be interpreted in several ways. The best-case scenario is that it is interpreted to mean only demonstrations and rallies in support of the Palestinian cause. However, it is likely that globally Israelis will come under an increased threat from those looking to attach themselves to this cause in a more violent and extreme manner.

Why?

The statement released by Hamas is likely an attempt to draw more funding and support for its cause globally, as its military incursion into Israel appears to have ended. It is also likely that they are attempting to draw a stronger reaction or greater support from regional allies. Namely Hezbollah and its Iranian backers. Encouraging the opening of a second front in the conflict would likely assist in setting conditions for Hamas to retake ground on the Gaza/Israel border. This is also likely to be an attempt to coincide with the impending Israeli ground offensive and occupation of the Gaza Strip, seeking to create multiple threat axes and dilemmas for the Israeli military command, splitting their attention and assets across a broader geographic area.

So what?

The statements made by Khaled Mashal are ambiguous and sweeping, and the main concern regarding these statements is that they will be interpreted amongst large populations of Hamas sympathisers to attack Jewish people globally. Therefore, it is advisory that Jewish populations globally remain vigilant to ongoing demonstrations and protests. Large-scale protests in support of Hamas have already been staged, worldwide, over the past days, with antisemitic rhetoric being regularly chanted. Although, as of yet, there have been no reports of violent protests. It is a realistic possibility that more extreme elements among protestors, as well as Hamas-aligned sleeper cells, will conduct violent attacks against Jewish property and persons within the next 96hrs – particularly as footage emerges of the Israeli response to attacks in Gaza. The threat is highly likely to be elevated in or around Synagogues (‘Shuls’ or ‘Temples’), and over the Shabbat (sunset Friday to Sunset Saturday).

It is likely that Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) will see this call-to-arms as a justification for launching attacks into northern Israel and the West Bank. It is likely in the short term (within the next 7 days) that there will be rocket attacks originating from Lebanon against Israeli settlements. Unconfirmed reports from Israel indicated that aircraft (likely paragliders) associated with ‘terror groups’ had been launched from southern Lebanon and had infiltrated Israeli airspace, causing an air alarm – however there has been no corroboration and the Israeli Armed Forces have since stated that the alert may have been a mistake or the work of hackers. The US Embassy in Beirut has denied rumours that it was being evacuated as false, however the threat of attacks against Israel and a subsequent Israeli response into Lebanon cannot be ruled out. The presence of the US CSG in the Mediterranean does however provide options for the US should they decide to evacuate in the near future.

All information from this fast-moving event should be confirmed and corroborated before any action is taken. It is highly likely that dis/misinformation will flood the information space due to the work of malign actors as well as the ‘fog of war’.

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