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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Israel launches massive operation and assault of Gaza Strip leaving dozens of Palestinians dead

Israeli attack on Gaza Strip
(Image: Express)
Death toll rises in Gaza Strip, as Israel continues its massive operation “Protective Edge” aimed at destroying Hamas military infrastructure in Gaza and eliminating the major militant figures and commanders.

Israel faces a massive wave of the nationwide protests after the terrible killing of a Palestinian teenager, committed by some radical Orthodox Jewish people and the following brutal beating of a brother of the slain Palestinian teenager, committed by the Israeli policemen. These two horrible incidents sparked anger among the Arabs living in Israel and among the Palestinians as well. Israeli Armed Forces then faces an ambush attack of Hamas at the coastal territory, close to the borders with Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces started its massive military operation against Hamas militants located and operation in Gaza, as Gaza cities experienced series of air strikes and raids on Tuesday, 8 July. At least 28 people were killed during the first day of a deadly offensive, targeting the chief militants of Hamas and of Al-Quds Brigades, which is an armed wing of Palestinian Jihad. Thus, the house owned by one of the chief militants of Al-Quds Brigades in the city of Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza, was targeted by Israeli air forces, killing a militant commander and his entire family including women and children. Israeli forces claim to destroy several Hamas militant leaders and Jihadist commanders during its military operation launched in Gaza, but the numbers of casualties among civilians are terribly high as well.

Israeli attack on Gaza Strip
(Image: ABC)
Airstrikes hit also the city of Rafah and continued with a massacre in the city of Khan Younis in Southern Gaza, when Israeli airstrikes killed 7 people, targeting the houses in the residential area. The people have reportedly gathered on the roof of one of the houses and formed a human shield hoping that they would be able to prevent an attack, but all of them were killed. Most of the killed people were civilians, including many women and children, according to the Gaza Emergency Service spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra.

As a response Hamas declared that “any Israeli citizen could be a potential target for retaliation” and shot nearly 120 bombs and rockets at Israeli territory, targeting the major Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. Nearly half of the bombs were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. This response of Hamas fired further and deeper escalation of the conflict as Israeli Defense Forces have intensified the attacks against Gaza Strip on Wednesday, 9 July. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israel will defend its people and its territory and declared that the current operation against the Hamas militants could be long. The current attacks raised also the fears of the high possibility of an Israeli ground offensive against Gaza, as nearly 40 000 IDF soldiers and reservists have been called to service and are ready for the march.

USA, UN, EU and international community have condemned the attacks and urged the sides to immediately stop the violence and to come back to negotiations. US State Secretary John Kerry has arrived in Israel and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and stated that he would also meet with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well, trying to persuade the sides to halt the violence and to de-escalate the crisis.

A house in Gaza, reportedly owned by one of the Hamas
 militant leaders, hit by Israeli forces
(Image: DW)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his turn accused Israel of protecting not its state and people but of protecting its illegal settlements on the territory of Palestine. He accused Israel of a “genocide against the Palestinians” in Gaza, but he mentioned also that he and his officials are trying hard to make the attempts to halt the violence and to return to the talks with the help and mediation of UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

This assault of Israeli forces against Gaza is the deadliest and the most terrible one since the 2012 bombings, left dozens of dead and hundreds of injured. Truce was reached then with the assistance and mediation of Egypt under Mohamed Morsi.

Thus, Israel continues its operation against the Hamas militants in Gaza Strip, as Israeli Prime Minister’s office declares that there was a decision to intensify the attacks against the militants. Hamas in its turn responds with the bombs, missiles and rockets, targeting Israeli cities.
There are no casualties on Israeli side reported so far.

Israeli airstrikes and assault against Gaza though more than 70 people dead and almost 500 people wounded, according to the reports of Ashraf Al-Qudra. Hundreds of people were also left displaced, and the attacks are ongoing.