Tel Aviv / Gaza (AP) – Following the massive rocket attack by militant Palestinians in the greater Tel Aviv area, the Israeli military has stepped up its attacks on senior Hamas members.
The air force fired on the homes of Raed Saad, Hamas special operations chief, and two Hamas commanders in Chan Junis in the south and Dir el-Balach in the central Gaza Strip, the army announced on Saturday evening. The Israeli military also threatened Hamas leaders with targeted murder.
According to the Israeli army, the Palestinian organization Hamas then fired even more rockets at Israel on the night of Sunday. A “heavy rain of missiles” was fired from the Gaza Strip in central and southern Israel, the army tweeted. A spokesman for the Hamas military arm had previously threatened to fire rockets again at Tel Aviv from midnight.
On Saturday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip had already fired rockets at the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv three times in quick succession. Paramedics say a 50-year-old man in the neighboring town of Ramat Gan died when a missile struck. According to the Austrian ambassador to Israel, Hannah Liko, the missile did not reach far from the diplomatic mission.
Shortly afterward, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a 14-story high-rise building in the Gaza Strip in which media companies such as the Associated Press (AP) had their offices, according to a DPA reporter. According to reports, residents were previously asked to leave the building by telephone. The AP news agency reacted with horror. “This is an incredibly worrying development,” AP President Gary Pruitt said in New York on Saturday. “We narrowly escaped a terrible loss of life.” A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were brought to safety on time.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres responded with dismay to the Israeli attack. His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York that Guterres was “deeply concerned about the destruction of a tall building in Gaza City by an Israeli airstrike, which contained the offices of several international media organizations and apartments.” He was also appalled at the rising number of civilian casualties, including the deaths of ten family members, including children, following an Israeli air raid on Shati refugee camp in western Gaza. He reminded all sides that any arbitrary attack on civil and media structures was in violation of international law.
It was the fifth skyscraper that the Israeli military has collapsed since the recent escalation began Monday. According to the information, Qatari TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera (Al-Jazeera) also had an office in the building that was recently destroyed. The Israeli army announced on Twitter that fighter jets had attacked a high-rise building in which Hamas’s Islamic military intelligence agency had “military assets.”
A spokesman for the Hamas military arm threatened Tel Aviv with an “answer that will shake the earth.” A swift end to the conflict still seems a long way off. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military operation against Hamas would “continue for as long as necessary.” The first thing to do is destroy the infrastructure of Islamist Hamas. “We still have tough days ahead, but we’ll get through them together and win,” said the 71-year-old.
Hamas has fired more than 2,300 missiles at Israel since Monday, according to an Israeli Air Force officer. Israel attacked more than 650 targets in the Gaza Strip during the same period. The conflict between Israel and the ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip had escalated early this week. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 145 people have since been killed and 1,100 injured. As the rescue service Magen David Adom announced, rocket fire in Israel in recent days killed 10 people and injured 636.
In view of the violence, US President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking with Netanyahu, the White House said, “The president reiterated his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.”
Biden had expressed concerns about the safety of journalists and stressed the need to ensure their protection. Biden had briefed Abbas of the US diplomatic involvement in the ongoing conflict. Biden also stressed that Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel. Biden and Abbas have expressed concern about the deaths of innocent civilians.
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians had culminated during the Islamic month of fasting of Ramadan and after the cancellation of the Palestinian parliamentary elections. Police barriers in the old city of Jerusalem, which many young Palestinians viewed as humiliation, are considered the trigger.
Additionally, there were clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem over the threat of evictions and violent clashes on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif). The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque complex is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to Jews because there used to be two Jewish temples. Islamist Hamas has declared itself a defender of Jerusalem.
On Saturday, the day of the Nakba (catastrophe), the Palestinians commemorated the displacement and flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. About 500 people demonstrated in Ramallah in the West Bank. They waved Palestinian and black flags.
Protests in southern Lebanon on the border with Israel led to clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces. According to eyewitnesses, they fired tear gas at several people who approached the border fence. Lebanese army forces also tried to drive the protesters off the fence. Palestinians and supporters of Lebanese Hezbollah appeared at the protests.