October 13, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10864

Egyptian Media Blame Israel For Escalation, Express Support For Hamas Attack: 'This Is The Second October Victory'

October 13, 2023
Egypt, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10864

The October 7, 2023 Hamas invasion of southern Israel – in which 1300 civilians were murdered, over 100 were kidnapped, and nearly 3,000 were injured – sparked many reactions in Egypt, mostly of blaming Israel for the situation and even supporting the Hamas attack.

One notable example was the Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement, published on the morning of the attack, that entirely ignored Hamas's barbaric acts against civilians and blamed Israel for the escalation. The ministry also called the attack a response to "a series of [Israeli] strikes against Palestinian cities" and called on the international community "to urge Israel to stop the attacks and the provocations against the Palestinian people."[1]

In addition, the Cairo-based Al-Azhar institution, the leading center of religious learning and supreme source of religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world, showed pro-Hamas spirit by "saluting" the invasion in an October 7 statement.[2] In a subsequent statement on October 11, Al-Azhar harshly criticized Israel, called support for the Palestinian people a "religious obligation," and asserted that the media coverage of the Hamas massacres was full of lies.[3]

Egyptian politicians, journalists, artists, and cultural figures have similarly expressed open and clear support for the Hamas invasion. Senior Egyptian media figures affiliated with the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi praised the terror attack, calling it a "victory" and a "100% successful operation."

Official and independent Egyptian media outlets have published several articles exclusively blaming Israel for the situation, claiming that it "brought this upon itself" with its treatment of the Palestinians. These article describe the Hamas attack as a legitimate operation, as a "flood that washed away the Israeli arrogance," as "the rebirth of the Palestinian people," and even as a dream come true. Many writers compared the Hamas invasion to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, particularly with regard to how it surprised Israel, and they praised Hamas for having chosen to launch the operation on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War and called it a "second October victory."

Furthermore, during the past week, Egypt-Israel tensions have been evident, in the context of calls by top Israeli officials and the Israeli army to residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate the Strip in advance of a retaliatory attack by Israel. These calls sparked great anger in Egypt – which fears a massive influx of Palestinian refugees coming through the Rafah Crossing and settling in the Sinai Desert.

Therefore, numerous senior Egyptian officials, headed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as well as the Al-Azhar institution, have urged the residents of Gaza to remain in place and "cleave to their land." Some of them asserted that Egypt would not permit the transfer of Palestinians to Sinai, stating that this would amount to a threat to "the national security of Egypt," and "Egyptian sovereignty" in Sinai. President Al-Sisi even stressed that it would constitute "a great danger, because it would mean the elimination of the Palestinian issue." Al-Azhar even explained to the Palestinians that it is preferable for them to die on their own land "like knights, like heroes, like martyrs," rather than abandon it "for the benefit of the thieving colonialists."[4] Many articles in the Egyptian press reiterate these same messages.[5]

Cartoon praising the Hamas invasion of southern Israel: Against the backdrop of "the rockets from Gaza pulverizing the heart of Israel," the Israeli army is calling on the United Nations to "immediately publish a decision cancelling the month of October." (Source, October 8, 2023)

This report will present some of the reactions in Egyptian media to the Hamas attack on Israel.

Egyptian Media And Cultural Outlets On The Hamas Invasion: Allah Will Be By Their Side; It Is "A Humiliation For Israel"

Institutions affiliated with the Egyptian authorities, prominent media figures, cultural figures, and artists have expressed clear support for the Hamas terror attack. They say that the attack has "humiliated" Israel, which they blame for the escalation.

The Egyptian Journalists' Union congratulated Hamas, stating: "The Egyptian Journalists' Union announces its full support for the right of the Palestinian people to resist and respond with all legitimate means in accordance with international agreements to the repeated crimes of the Zionist entity. The union congratulates and praises the Palestinian resistance for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, which it carried out today [October 7] at dawn, as the Arabs were celebrating 50 years since the spectacular October victories [i.e. the Yom Kippur War]. This is the biggest and first high-quality operation of its kind by the resistance inside the [Israeli] entity... In addition, the Union emphasizes that the Palestinian people, which have been suffering from the crimes of the occupation for many decades, have the right to resist and respond by any means necessary."[6]

Prominent Egyptian media personality Amro Adib, who is closely affiliated with the Al-Sisi regime, said on his show on MBC TV that the Hamas invasion had humiliated Israel and, further, was a manifestation of Allah's will: "The Palestinian army entered homes and settlements and easily took captives, most notably the commander of the southern command [sic]... There is clearly planning and expertise involved, but a close inspection will reveal that Allah's hand was with them, since what happened today could not have been natural – it was Allah's will for this to happen." He added: "Nobody imagined that what happened [could happen]. Friends, the Palestinian forces took hostages on motorcycles – have you ever seen somebody fighting with motorcycles? What happened today humiliated Israel's outlook regarding security... It is as if Allah wants to tell the Israelis that October is a month of bad luck for them."[7]

Another Egyptian media figure linked to the Al-Sisi regime, Ahmad Musa, said on his show on Sa'ad Al-Balad TV that the Hamas operation was "100% successful" and had achieved its goals. He said that the Palestinian people had not left their land since 1948 and would continue to defend it until their last breath. In addition, he criticized the international community's response to the events and accused it of maintaining a double standard.[8]

Egyptian film director Khaled Yousef also praised the invasion. He wrote on his Facebook page: "How glorious is this celebration of the 6th of October [1973, the day the Yom Kippur War began]. Fifty years ago, this day was a symbol of pride and the restoration of national honor. Today, the Palestinian resistance is rewriting the glorious history and adding new heroism to our national struggle..."[9]

Khaled Yousef's Facebook post.

Egyptian actress Hala Shiha shared on her Instagram account a photo of armed Hamas terrorists on paragliders and commented: "A historic photo that the entire world saw and that we will not forget. Palestine is a free homeland despite the occupation. For years, it has remained steadfast in the face of tyranny, siege, and settlements."[10]

Hala Shikha's Instagram post.

Articles in Egyptian Media: October Is the Month of Victory; Israel Has Been Defeated

As stated above, Hamas's invasion of southern Israel has been widely praised over the past week in dozens of articles in Egyptian media, both official and independent. Many of the articles compared the invasion to the October 6, 1973 surprise attack on Israel that sparked the Yom Kippur War, praised Hamas for choosing the 50th anniversary of that war as the date of the invasion, and emphasized that the Palestinians had once again shattered the myth of the Israeli army's invincibility.

Al-Ahram Columnist: Victory Is From Allah; Al-Aqsa Flood Symbolizes The Rebirth Of The Palestinian People

In his October 9, 2023 column in the Egyptian establishment Al-Ahram daily, the poet Farouk Gouida wrote: "Many of the most knowledgeable people in the Arab world were wont to say that... Jerusalem, which is exposed daily to new [forms of] aggression on the part of Israel would not keep quiet for long, and that the Palestinian people should once again be the ones who make the decisions [about it]. On the other hand, Israel continues with its aggression against all the holy places. The Israeli army invaded Al-Aqsa Mosque many times with no regard for its sanctity. The Palestinian rage increased from day to day, until it culminated in [Operation] Al-Aqsa Flood, which was like a true flood that washed away the Israeli arrogance and the Arab silence... Israel was faced with a Palestinian army in the air, on land, and at sea. For the first time in years Israel is facing a Palestinian army of such magnitude and with such coordination...

"The Al-Aqsa Flood [operation] will force the Israeli people to reconsider whether to stay or to go, and will confront the Arab countries and the Palestinian leadership with a difficult situation regarding normalization and the peace agreements. First and foremost, Al-Aqsa Flood is the rebirth of a people which is capable of retaking its homeland and paying the price with thousands of martyrs. Israel will implement the madness of its army against the Palestinian people, but the entire world is now encountering the reawakening of the Palestinian fighter, which has changed all the calculations and placed the whole world at [the start of] a new era. 'Victory is only from Allah,' and all the parties must reexamine their calculations in light of Al-Aqsa Flood."[11]

In another article on the same topic, Gouida wrote: "... We are facing a new reality in which many things have changed. There is Israel, which is no longer the invincible force; there is the Palestinian people, against which Israel attempted all the kinds of killing and devastation over decades; and there is the Arab world, that has exhibited incompetence and will pay the price... The blood of the martyrs has changed all these calculations, and Israel has bowed to the youth of Palestine. I once said that the land of Palestine had birthed new generations that will change all the calculations by force, with knowledge and with determination. It is the youth of the intifada who are now fighting the Israeli tyranny, breaking through the borders of the country, purifying the defilement of the murderers, and proving to the world that there is a people that will not forsake its land and its honor..."[12]

Senior Egyptian Journalist: "It Is The Israeli Occupation That Is Responsible For The Explosion Of The Situation"

Gallal 'Aref, former head of the Egyptian Press Council and a columnist for the Egyptian establishment daily Akhbar Al-Yawm, also blamed Israel for the escalation of the conflict. He wrote: "...The entire world continuously warned Israel that its abusive policy, the ongoing occupation of the land of Palestine, [and] its racist deeds and crimes against the Palestinian people would only lead to the explosion of the situation... Israel would not have continued in this way were it not for the American support and the silence regarding the crimes of the Zionist entity!! The Zionists' daily killing of Palestinians could not have continued without a reaction...

"Yesterday [October 7], [which was one] of the days in October when the magnificent Egyptian and Arab victory [i.e. the Yom Kippur War] 50 years ago is celebrated, came the explosion that all  had anticipated but the leaders of Israel!! The men of the resistance broke through all the Israeli defensive lines facing Gaza, conquered settlements and military bases, wounded and killed hundreds of people, and took dozens of them hostage, as Israeli sources have admitted...

"[Israel's] gamble [that it could] continue the occupation at the lowest price was a losing one from the start, and will remain so. The gamble that the Israeli force could impose a fait accompli on everyone was also an unrealistic gamble from the start. The gamble that the so-called Abraham [Accords] could solve the [Palestinian] issue at the expense of the Palestinians was also a failed one – and the most bitter and terrible thing is the gamble by many that a handful of economic benefits offered to the Palestinians could make them forget their homeland or give up on their independent country or their captive Jerusalem. The fundamental truth that should be clear to the entire world is that the Israeli occupation is responsible for the explosion of the situation, and that whoever supports it and protects it from punishment is a partner in all the [Israeli] crimes that have been perpetrated and that will be perpetrated in the future!!"[13]

Egyptian Journalist: The Palestinians Have Duplicated The October 1973 Victory, And Once Again Shattered The Myth Of The Invincible Army

In his column in the independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, the former director of the paper's board of trustees, Muhammad Amin, pointed out similarities between Hamas's surprise attack and the surprise attack led by Egypt, Syria, and several other Arab countries against Israel on October 6, 1973. Stating that the myth of the Israeli army's invincibility had been shattered once more, he added that Hamas had celebrated the October 1973 victory in a way befitting it. He wrote:

"...The brothers in Gaza surprised us when they started the second October war [on October 7, 2023] following the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the first October war [in 1973]. The songs of October [1973] played again when they said Allahu Akbar, in the name of Allah, in the name of Allah. This was strategic planning that was also based on surprise and initiative [as in 1973]..

"It seems that the Palestinians wanted to transform the days of October into days of victory in history, choosing October 7th [the day after] the 6th and at dawn – also on the Sabbath [just like October 6, 1973] – surprised the Israelis in their sleep and entered their bedrooms without anyone stopping them.

"Once again, the myth of the invincible [Israeli] army was shattered, in the face of homemade planes [apparently a reference to the Hamas paragliders] that took down the [Israeli] soldiers behind enemy lines with parachutes, as if they were playing with paper planes!

"The videos showed the mass fleeing... influenced by the wails of the sirens and the horror that spread through the hearts of the Israelis. This is a message that the chaos in the region will continue as long as the [Palestinian] right is not realized, and events have already proved that this is operation was easy, not impossible...

"If on October 6 [1973] the Egyptian forces crossed [the Suez Canal], indeed, on October 7 [2023], simple [Hamas] forces shattered the myth of the invincible [Israeli] army and celebrated the October 1973 victory in a way befitting them, as they drove the Israeli tanks and armored vehicles they had captured, celebrating atop them and waving victory flags! It has been proven in practice that whoever has done it once can easily do it a second and a third time!"[14]

Egyptian Columnist: Hamas Operatives Realized A Dream We Thought Could Not Come True In Our Generation; "The Secret Of Success Lies In He Who Believes In His Cause And Is Prepared To Sacrifice His Life For It"

Muhammad Al-Bahnsawi, another Akhbar Al-Yawm columnist, wrote that Hamas operatives had drawn their inspiration from the 1973 Yom Kippur War and applied its lessons – the most important of which is one's willingness to sacrifice his life. According to Al-Bahnsawi, by infiltrating communities and threatening Israel's security, Hamas operatives had actualized a dream that no one thought could come true. He wrote:

"...It seems that the Palestinian factions studied well and precisely the reasons for the tremendous 1973 victory of Egypt and the Syrians, and applied the lessons [from it]...

"The first lesson learned by the Palestinian factions is that the impossible is nothing more than an illusion created by the weak from within their own circumstances, in order to justify their abandonment of their goal and their cause. Who thought that Egypt and Syria would win the October war?

"The same goes for the Palestinian cause, where the [greatest] hope of the most optimistic person among us was that the Fedaii operations carried out from time to time would continue, so that the cause would not die.

"We were all certain that invading the settlements [i.e. the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip] and threatening the security of the oppressive occupier were [only] a dream that our generation would not be privileged to see – and here we are witnesses to an eternal dream [come true]...

"The second important lesson [learned by the Palestinians from the 1973 war is] to maintain secrecy and strategic deception, which were a precise action plan and the secret of the victory of the illustrious October [1973 war]. The Palestinian resistance drew inspiration from the spirit of this plan, along with several details which led to the spectacle we saw, which amazed the world…

"The most important lesson [of the 1973 war] is that it doesn't matter how precise the plan or advanced the weaponry. [Ultimately], the secret of success lies in he who believes in his cause and is prepared to sacrifice his life for it...[15]


[1], October 7, 2023.

[3], October 11, 2023.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 11, 2023;, October 12, 2023;, October 11, 2023; Al-Yawm Al-Sabi' (Egypt), October 10, 2023; Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), October 12, 2023.

[5] See for example: Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 12, 2023; Akhbar Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 11, 2023; Al-Shorouk (Egypt), October 11, 2023; and, October 9, 2023.

[6], October 7, 2023.

[7], October 7, 2023.

[8], October 7, 2023.

[9], October 7, 2023.

[10], October 8, 2023.

[11] Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 9, 2023.

[12] Al-Ahram (Egypt), October 10, 2023.

[13] Akhbar Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 8, 2023.

[14] Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt), October 8, 2023.

[15] Akhbar Al-Yawm (Egypt), October 10, 2023.

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