Jerusalem / Gaza (dpa) – The exchange of blows between the Israeli army and militant Palestinians continues. With a major strike, the Israeli military has attacked a major tunnel system owned by Hamas, the ruling office in the Gaza Strip.
“Many kilometers” of the network were damaged, the military announced on Friday via the short message service Twitter. Militant Palestinians, meanwhile, continued to bomb Israel from the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean. According to the military, a total of 1,800 missiles have now been fired. On Friday, warning sirens sounded over and over, especially near the Palestinian area on the Mediterranean.
More than 120 people have been killed and 900 injured in Gaza since the conflict escalated on Monday night, according to the Ministry of Health. As the Israeli military announced, eight people have been killed by rocket fire in Israel in recent days. According to Egyptian security circles, Israel has rejected an offer from the Cairo government to arrange a ceasefire.
The United Nations called for the border between Israel and Gaza to be opened to fuel and relief supplies. About two million Palestinians live in the cordoned off area. The UN estimates that about 10,000 Palestinians have had to leave their homes in Gaza as a result of the ongoing fighting.
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 evictions and violent skirmishes 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. It has been classified as a terrorist organization by Israel and the EU.
For years, according to the military, Hamas built the tunnel system that was attacked on Friday night. It lies partly under the city of Gaza. It’s sort of a “city under the city,” said an army spokesman.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed satisfaction with the attacks on the tunnel system. “I said we would hit Hamas and the other terrorist organizations very hard. And that’s exactly what we do, ”he said. Hamas thought it could hide in the tunnel system. But this did not work out.
According to the military, 160 “planes” and tanks were involved in the complex, an approximately 40-minute attack, which was fired at targets in the coastal area from the Israeli side. Not a single Israeli soldier entered the Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, there were new clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in several places on Friday. Eight people have died, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 50 Palestinians were also injured by bullets and rubber bullets. The Israeli military did not initially respond to questions about the incidents described.
There were also riots in Israeli places where a large proportion of the Arab Israelis live. There is now a curfew in the town of Lod and additional security forces have been distributed all over the country. The situation has not completely calmed down: on Friday evening, the police again arrested rioters who threw stones and incendiary bombs.
Saturday is Nakba (catastrophe) day. The Palestinians then commemorate the expulsion and flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. There are fears of new violent protests. This year, the day coincides with the third day of the Eid-al-Fitr festival, the so-called sugar festival at the end of Ramadan.
There were also protests in neighboring countries. According to a report by the Petra state news agency, hundreds of protesters gathered at the border with Israel in Jordan. In southern Lebanon, a protester was fatally injured by warning shots from tanks. The 21-year-old had previously entered Israeli territory with dozens of others, Lebanese state agency NNA reports.