Israel And Palestine Conflict || Escalation Of Violence Between Hamas And Israel Continues With Missile Exchange And More Casualties
With the missiles fired on Monday by the Islamist group Hamas against Jerusalem, the flames came out of the walls of the Old City and ignited a new escalation between Israel and the militias of the Gaza Strip. According to health sources in Gaza, 24 Palestinians, including nine children and militants from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad — including the head of the missile unit , were killed in retaliatory attacks by the Army that received the green light for a broad air offensive against Infrastructures and leaders of the movement that controls the Palestinian enclave since 2007. Military spokesmen speak this Tuesday of 15 dead Palestinian armed groups members. Two women have been killed by a direct hit on their home from one of the dozens of shells fired at noon by Hamas at the city of Ashkelon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Tuesday that Israel will “intensify” its attacks against Hamas after the death of two Israeli women.
“Since yesterday (Monday) the army carried out hundreds of attacks against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza … and we are going to further intensify the force of our attacks,” said the head of government, in a message from video, adding that Hamas “was going to be beaten in a way that is not expected.”
“We deplore the death of two Israelis, I ask you to respect the security instructions,” Netanyahu added, in a speech addressed to his fellow citizens after a meeting to analyze the situation in southern Israel.
“We have hit 130 military targets that belong mainly to Hamas, “ including “two offensive tunnels adjacent to the security fence,” weapons factories and operations, and tonight they have also bombed the homes of Hamas leaders, he told the press. Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus . “According to our current estimates, we have killed 15 members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad .”
“We are in the initial phase of our response against military targets in Gaza,” Conricus said. “We are ready for an escalation.” The rockets fired from the Gaza Strip constitute “a serious aggression against Israel, to which we cannot stop responding,” he added, in statements collected by AFP.
Local authorities in Gaza have reported 22 deaths, including nine children, in the Israeli attacks, the largest since November 2019. The Israeli military “neither confirms nor denies” that the civilian deaths were the result of the shelling.
After the seven projectiles against the Jerusalem area — one of them hit a house, another was intercepted by the Iron Dome and the rest fell in the open field — and the Islamic Jihad anti-tank missile that wounded a person in a car In southern Israel, the army fired on several shuttles north of Gaza, initiating Operation “Guardian of the Walls”.
“The Izz ad-Din al Qassam Brigades have now launched a missile barrage against Jerusalem in response to crimes and attacks,” said the spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Abu Oveida, alluding to the violent clashes in recent weeks in Haram al-Sharifor the Temple Mount and the Shaykh Jarrah neighborhood, which have turned East Jerusalem into a powder keg. In this way, Hamas punctually complied with the ultimatum it issued to Israel at 5:00 p.m. to “withdraw its forces from Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah” and release the detainees of the last days before 6:00 p.m. At this time, the sirens were activated in Jerusalem.
“This is a message that the enemy has to understand well,” added Oveida while another spokesman for the Islamic resistance movement, Fawzy Barhum, blamed Israel and accused him of “not understanding our messages after his attacks against Al Aqsa and our people.”
Following the attack on Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that the current confrontation may not be brief, warning: “The terrorist groups in Gaza have crossed a red line. We did not want an escalation but whoever chose to provoke it will feel the strength of our arm.”
“The terrorists will pay a very high price for their cowardly attack,” warns a military spokesman who confirmed the death of a commander of the armed wing of Hamas. “We are investigating the information in this regard, but we attack terrorists who attack our civilians,” he responded about the death of 3 children due to an explosion that, according to the AP agency, it was initially unclear if it was due to an Israeli air strike or a Missing Palestinian missile.
Although the mediators — Egypt, Qatar and the UN special envoy — intensify their efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire, on both sides they believe that the escalation is not a matter of hours but of days. As minimum.
UNPUBLISHED SINCE THE 2014 WAR
The launch of projectiles against Jerusalem, unprecedented since the 2014 war , was the prelude to 200 more against southern Israel and interrupted an emergency Israeli security cabinet meeting called for the violent clashes on the Esplanade of the Mosques. The Hamas attack surprised military intelligence, whose officials believed that, despite warnings from Islamist leaders regarding Jerusalem, they would not launch a major escalation. Hence this weekend, the Israeli army reacted very limitedly to the shells, hoping that the violence in Jerusalem would gradually abate.
The choice of the iconic Jerusalem as the initial target expresses Hamas’s desire to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in the city — they applauded the attack while standing at the gate of Damascus — the willingness to lead the fight for the cause of Al Quds to the detriment of his great internal rival Fatah and the message that he does not fear an open duel with Israel. Perhaps because he knows that his enemy tries to avoid him, as reflected by decisions such as not allowing the visit of Jews to the Esplanade of the Mosques or that the parade of several thousand nationalists on the occasion of the so-called “Jerusalem Day” did not cross the Damascus Gate , to avoid friction with Palestinians.
Hamas knows that Israel is in unprecedented political chaos. After four elections in two years, the crisis translates into the terrible relations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the possibility that a new government formed by Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett will be formed in the coming days . A first political effect of the escalation is that the Israeli Arab Islamist Raam party announced that it is freezing contacts with representatives of the so-called Government of change “until things settle down.
At dusk, Israeli shelling and Palestinian projectiles continued on both sides of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved this Tuesday the mobilization of 5,000 reservists basically destined for the southern command, Civil Protection and the Army’s operations department, which has also reinforced its deployment of defensive batteries in the central area of Israel.
In Israel, a soldier was killed by a rocket from the Gaza Strip. As the Israeli army announced, the 21-year-old was hit and fatally wounded by an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip while working to protect villages near the border.
The Qassam Brigades, the armed arm of Hamas, said they had fired a rocket on an Israeli army vehicle that morning. According to the Israeli military, an officer and another soldier were wounded in the attack.
The 21-year-old was the first Israeli military man to be killed in the three days of violent clashes between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel: More than 1,000 rockets from the Islamists since Monday
According to Israeli data, Palestinian organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired more than a thousand rockets in the direction of Israel since Monday. Many of the projectiles were intercepted by Israeli missile defense, but others hit residential areas. There was alarm especially in the coastal area and also in cities such as Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba. In Israel, a total of seven people were killed by the rocket fire with the soldier, including a child in Sderot.
In response to the attacks, the Israeli Air Force flew the heaviest attack since the 2014 Gaza War. It bombed Hamas and other militant groups in the Gaza Strip in hundreds of missions. Three skyscrapers in downtown Gaza were also destroyed. One also had several Hamas offices, and another of the Al-Aksa television station.
According to the Israeli army and the domestic secret service Shin Bet, high-ranking representatives of the Islamists were also killed. Among them were the head of the Hamas cyber command, Jumaa Tahle, its head of research Jamal Sibde, the chief production engineer Hasem Hatib, and a dozen other members of the Hamas research and development department. The cyber specialist Tahle was therefore also responsible for improving the accuracy of the missiles.
“This is just the beginning — we will deal blows to them that they never dreamed of,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a hospital in Cholon. Defense Minister Benny Gantz prepared the citizens for a longer military deployment. He announced further attacks to force a “complete” calm in the Gaza Strip. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that if Israel wanted to escalate the situation, “then we are ready for it”.
Palestinians: 14 children killed in air strikes
According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli air strikes killed a total of 48 people, including 14 children. According to Hamas, several of its leaders are among the dead.
The trigger for the latest escalation of violence is the threat of eviction of around 30 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, which have been claimed by Jewish Israelis. Hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of police officers had been injured in the last few days in the most violent clashes in years between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in East Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
The German government condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and extremist groups allied with it. “Your goal is to kill people indiscriminately and arbitrarily,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his “unlimited solidarity” to the people of Israel. Nothing justifies the rocket attacks on the country, he said during a telephone conversation with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, according to the Office of the Federal President.
UN Security Council without agreement
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Sarif criticized Israel during a surprise visit to Syria, a country with civil war. The “criminal acts” of Israel have significantly worsened the situation in the region, said Sarif in Damascus.
Meanwhile, a second crisis meeting of the UN Security Council ends without a joint statement by the council members. According to concurring reports, the US was the only one of the 15 council members to reject the declaration. They don’t seem to believe that this could “contribute to de-escalation,” said one diplomat.