Sunday, July 05, 2020

Dozens dead as Israel broadens military offense on Gaza

July 09, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Benjamin Netanyahu] [Collective Punishment] [Operation Protective Edge]

At least 53 people have been killed and 450 wounded as the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip entered its second day, in what has been the worst outbreak of violence in the besieged coastal enclave since November 2012.

The escalation comes after sporadic rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip during the past couple of weeks. Since Israel enacted Operation Brother’s Keeper on 12 June in attempts to find three kidnapped Israeli teens in the West Bank, more than 200 rockets have been launched from the besieged strip, Al Jazeera reported.

Locals told Palestine Monitor that during the Operation, Israel has launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip every night; killing six people during the first week after the teens went missing.

On Monday, nine Palestinians died after Israel fired more than 60 air strikes on the Gaza Strip. More than 80 rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel on the same day.

Early Tuesday, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge,” carrying out more than 273 airstrikes against Gazans and killing 18 people. Amongst them was Hafez Hamad, a commander of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, according to Ma’an News Agency. Five of his family members were killed along with him after Israel targeted his home.

Overnight Tuesday Gazan militants fired dozens of long-range rockets at Israel. While two reportedly landed close to Jerusalem causing little to no damager, others fired at Tel Aviv were intercepted.

Attacks continued on both sides early Wednesday morning. At around 8.30 a.m., the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two rockets in Tel Aviv area. Israel struck about 160 targets on the Gaza Strip during the night, Haaretz reported.

A young man from Rafah, a city in southern Gaza Strip, was killed in the strikes on Wednesday.

Ground invasion possible

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered on Tuesday a broadening of the military operation against “the terrorists of Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip,” adding that rocket fire against Israeli towns would not be tolerated.

At least 1,500 soldiers have been deployed close to the Strip, and the cabinet has approved the call-up of an additional 40,000 reservists in case of a ground offensive.

The Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Wednesday that the operation will “continue and escalate,” according to the Jerusalem Post. He said Israel would destroy Hamas’ arms, institutions, and kill “terrorists,” making the organization to pay “a heavy price.”

The Israeli forces have already targeted the homes of eight senior Hamas members, about 120 underground launchers, and 10 tunnels, along with domestic security offices and a naval police space.

The military confirmed on Wednesday that a Hamas operative Abdullah Difallah was killed while riding a motorcycle in the north of Gaza.

Abbas calls for international help

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked on Tuesday for help from the international community, especially from the Quartet and the Security Council, to end the conflict. On Wednesday morning, he appealed to the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to mediate between Israelis and the Gaza militants.

Abbas reminded that the recent events in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem “are not a war between two armies,” but that the Palestinians are “unarmed people” living under occupation.

France, Germany, the United Nations, and the United States have called for restraint on both parties. At the same time, the US has condemned the rocket fire inside Israel.




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