Tel Aviv / Gaza (dpa) – After massive rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli air force there fired on the home of Hamas boss Jihia al-Sinwar.
The building at Chan Junis in the south of the coastal area served as “the military infrastructure of the terrorist organization Hamas,” the Israeli army said. The home of Al-Sinwar’s brother Mohammed, also a high-ranking member of Islamist Hamas who ruled the Gaza Strip, had also been attacked.
According to the army, other offices and homes of important Hamas members were attacked. As part of the ongoing attacks on Hamas’s underground network of tunnels, known as the metro, another 30 targets were bombed. In addition, the Air Force fired at dozens of weapon caches and missile launchers.
The Israeli military had previously threatened the leadership of the Palestinian organization Hamas, which ran the Gaza Strip, with targeted murder. During the night, Palestinian militants had once again fired massive missiles into the greater Tel Aviv area and other Israeli cities. A “heavy rain of missiles” was fired from the Gaza Strip in central and southern Israel, the army tweeted.
The Israeli Air Force had already bombed the home of another senior Hamas leader on Saturday. The home of Khalil al-Haja, deputy head of the Hamas Politburo, served as a “terrorist infrastructure”. The military has released a video of the attack. According to Palestinian sources, Al-Haja was not in the house at the time of the attack.
According to a DPA reporter, the Israeli Air Force on Saturday destroyed a 14-story skyscraper in the Gaza Strip in which media companies such as the Associated Press (AP) had their offices. 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,” said AP President Gary Pruitt. “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.
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.