Tel Aviv / Gaza (dpa) – Despite international efforts to bring about a ceasefire, the conflict between Israel and militant Palestinians from the Gaza Strip continues.
According to his own statements, the Israeli army also attacked large-scale targets in the coastal area on the night of Monday. Missiles flew from Gaza to neighboring areas in Israel.
“Our campaign against the terrorist organizations is continuing with full force,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. The army has so far attacked more than 1,500 targets in the Gaza Strip. The mission “will take a while”. The Palestinian side was said to be the heaviest airstrikes to date in the densely populated coastal area.
After massive rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, including the metropolis of Tel Aviv, the Israeli Air Force attacked representatives of the Hamas leadership last weekend. Among other things, the home of the head of the Islamist Palestinian group there, Jihia al-Sinwar, was attacked.
Given the increasing violence with many deaths, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud on Sunday. According to the US State Department, the main focus has been on ongoing efforts to ease tensions in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and end the violence.
Attempts by international brokers to reach a ceasefire have so far been unsuccessful. During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned of the uncontrollable consequences of the conflict for the entire Middle East.
The Israeli Air Force also destroyed a high-rise building with offices of media companies in the Gaza Strip last weekend. Residents were reportedly warned in advance by telephone. The AP news agency, affected by the incident, was appalled and journalist associations protested.
A Hamas secret service office that organized attacks on Israeli civilians was housed in the skyscraper, Netanyahu told US broadcaster CBS. So it was “a perfectly legitimate goal”.
At least 3,100 missiles have been fired at Israel since the escalation began last Monday, according to the military. The intensity of the shelling is higher than ever before in a conflict with the Islamist Hamas. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Palestinian Organization forcibly seized power in the Gaza Strip in 2007.
According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 200 people have died there in the Gaza Strip since Monday evening. On Sunday night alone, 42 Palestinians were killed in attacks by the Israeli army on homes in the coastal area. According to rescue workers in Israel, ten people have been killed in the rocket fire since Monday evening.
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians had worsened during the Muslim fasting month 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. In addition, there were imminent evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem and violent skirmishes on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem’s Old City. The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque complex is the third holiest site in Islam – and it is also sacred to Jews as it used to house two Jewish temples. Hamas has declared itself a defender of Jerusalem.
There were also serious clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank, and several people died. In several cities in the Israeli interior, clashes broke out again between Jews and Arab Israelis.
In Jerusalem, six police officers were injured when a driver hit them with a car. Police initially did not provide information about the driver’s identity, saying he had been “neutralized”.
The most recent conflict escalated in the attempt to form a government in Israel. The previous opposition leader, Jair Lapid, accused Netanyahu of using the conflict to secure his tenure. The prime minister disagreed. Never before had he succeeded in forging a majority for a coalition, so that the task of forming a government fell to Lapid.