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Friday, July 11, 2014

Israel continues its military operation in Gaza as Hamas fires rockets in Israeli cities. The threat of ground offensive is high

Israeli attack of Gaza Strip
(Image: Haaretz)
Israeli military Operation Protective Edge, aimed to target Hamas militants, their bases and military infrastructure in Gaza Strip, is ongoing for the third day, leaving more than 85 people dead, most of them civilians, including women and children all over the Gaza Strip.

The situation escalated after the massive rallies all over Israel, following the brutal and terrible murder of a Palestinian teenager and the response of Hamas militants, attempting to attack Israeli forces near the coastal line. Israel responded with a massive military operation bombing the houses of the Hamas militants and the terrorist objects in Gaza. The series of airstrike raids is the deadliest and the most violent since the 2012 bombing.

As Israeli airstrikes killed many Palestinian civilians and left hundreds of wounded and displaced people, Hamas responded with launching the rockets at Israeli territory, claiming that “any Israeli citizen could be a target for retaliation” now. Hamas fired nearly 300 rockets at the Israeli territory during the latest day, targeting the major cities, such as Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, but most of the rockets were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile systems and caused not so much damages in Israeli cities. There were no casualties reported in Israel so far, as there were reports about some light injuries and shock of the people, running every night to the bomb shelters.

Israeli Armed Forces alon the border with Gaza, ready for an
(Image: Getty Images)
Though the military operation launched by IDF left more than 85 Palestinian people dead, with 24 people killed only during the Thursday’s night attack. Israeli Armed Forces officials claim that they target exclusively the terrorist infrastructure and military objects of Hamas, their rocker launching systems and tunnels and also houses belonging to the senior Hamas members, but unfortunately the death toll among the civilians rises rapidly. Palestinians claim that this operation is more fierce and violent comparing the 2012 Defense Pillar Operation, as IDF don’t bother with targeting the militant’s objects only, leaving many casualties among the civilians, so that more than 1,5 million Palestinians living in Gaza Strip feel themselves being a human shield between the Israeli army and Hamas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his turn has accused Israeli Armed Forces of “genocide of the Palestinians” and called for the restraint and returning to the talks, in order to prevent the casualties among the civilians. US State Secretary John Kerry had an urgent meeting with Mr. Abbas recently and declared that he planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well in order to discuss the ways of de-escalation of the conflict and of resolving the crisis.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his turn also called for the talks and an immediate halt of violence, as the world leaders call the sides as well. Mahmoud Abbas also stated that Palestine is ready for the talks and for the ceasefire, as Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi supported this idea as well and declared that Egypt is ready to be a mediator in the talks in order to achieve a ceasefire and truce with Israel.

Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes
(Image: Times of Israel)
Though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas doesn’t control the Hamas militants unfortunately, while Hamas shows no indications of readiness for the talks and truce with Israel, claiming that they will target all the citizens of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his turn also mentioned that the peace talks and ceasefire were not on the agenda at the current stage and that the military Operation Protective Edge is expected to take probably several weeks. In addition to that the possibility of the ground offensive of the Israeli Armed Forces against the Gaza Strip is growing, as 40 000 reservists were called to service and deployed to the military bases along the border with Gaza Strip. There were no orders of the beginning of the ground operation though, but the forces are ready for it, and this offensive is among the options of the Israeli government.

Israel also has confirmed that the preparations to the ground offensive are ongoing as the soldiers and military technique are being deployed to the borders, and the navy is also patrolling the sea. Though Israeli military officials declare that if there will be possible to achieve the goals without the ground operation, it will be much better, as the possible ground operation could cause more casualties on the both sides and could deteriorate the situation.

As death toll and the numbers of injured people rise rapidly in Gaza Strip, being under attack of IDF, the neighboring Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, allowing hundreds of Gaza refugees and wounded people to arrive in Egypt. Hospitals of Northern Sinai, Suez and Cairo are ready for receiving the wounded Palestinians.