Massive Missile Strikes: Israel Responds With Air Strike | Free press


Gaza / Tel Aviv (dpa) – The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians escalated dangerously on Monday. After massive missile attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Air Force bombed targets in the coastal strip.

As the military announced, three activists of the ruling Islamist Hamas were deliberately murdered. The military posted a video of the incident in the north of the coastal area on Twitter.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, a total of 20 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, including nine children. In addition, 67 people were injured. At first it was unclear under what exact conditions the people died. There are also reports from the Gaza Strip that some residents may have been killed by misdirected missiles on their own side.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned of a spiral of escalation, condemned the launch of missiles from the Gaza Strip “in the strongest” and called for “maximum restraint” from Israelis and Palestinians. The UN reiterated its “deep concern” about the possible displacement of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah district into “occupied East Jerusalem”. A UN Security Council meeting ended without a joint statement, according to diplomats, condemning the violence and raising concerns about possible expulsions due to US opposition.

Following serious clashes on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Hamas issued an ultimatum calling for the withdrawal of all police officers and settlers from the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif / The Noble Sanctuary) and from the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem. When Israel disobeyed, the shelling began shortly after 6 p.m. local time. A Hamas spokesman said the missiles were a “message” to enemy Israel. It is a “response to his crimes and aggression against the holy city” and to Israel’s actions on the Temple Mount and in Sheikh Jarrah. The Islamic Jihad group also claimed responsibility for the attacks.

An army spokesman said dozens of missiles had been fired. Most of them fell into the open or were intercepted. Warning sirens sounded in the Gaza Strip and in the cities of Beit Shemesh, Ashkelon and Sderot. According to the spokesman, an anti-tank weapon has also been fired from the Gaza Strip at civilian vehicles. A civilian was injured.

The spokesman said six missiles had also been fired in the direction of Jerusalem. One hit a suburban townhouse, one was intercepted. The others went down on open ground. The last time a missile alarm went off in the city was in the summer of 2014. A march in the city on Jerusalem Day was canceled due to the attacks, according to the police. The parliament in Jerusalem has reportedly been evacuated.

According to the army spokesman, several Palestinian organizations were involved in the attacks. However, according to him, Islamist Hamas, which ruled the Gaza Strip, was held responsible for the attacks. Israel intends to deal it a heavy blow. He did not comment on the possible duration of an army deployment.

According to media reports, the security cabinet approved massive air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened militant Palestinian organizations with a harsh response. Israeli citizens need to be prepared for the current conflict to last longer, he said.

On Monday morning, clashes broke out again on the Temple Mount. Outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, police used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets on stones throwing Palestinians. Palestinian rescue workers spoke of more than 300 injured. Nearly two dozen officers were injured, according to police.

The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque is of extraordinary importance to Jews and Muslims alike. It is the third holiest site in Islam. At the same time, there were two Jewish temples, the last of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70. The Western Wall is a remnant of that destroyed temple and the holiest site for the Jews.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the central issues in the Middle East conflict. Israel claims Jerusalem as “the eternal and indivisible capital” for itself. The Palestinians, for their part, are holding on to their claim to East Jerusalem as their capital.

The situation in the West Bank and in the Arabian-influenced eastern part of Jerusalem has been tense since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Many Palestinians are angry that police have cordoned off parts of the old city to prevent rallies. In addition, some Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah district are threatened with deportation by the Israeli authorities. This exacerbated tensions. Last weekend, there were clashes with numerous wounded people every night in the east of the city.