Casualties Mount As Violence Intensifies Between Hamas, Israel

Ruben Fields
May 14, 2021

Inside Israel, seven people have been killed since Monday, including one six-year-old, after a rocket struck a family home.

In Gaza, AFP photographers said people were evacuating their homes in the northeastern part of the enclave ahead of possible Israeli attacks, with Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, warning of a "heavy response" to a possible ground incursion.

"I said that we will exact a very heavy price from Hamas", Netanyahu wrote on Facebook, referring to the militant group. "The last word has not yet been spoken and this operation will go on as long as possible".

Since then, Israel has attacked hundreds of targets in Gaza, causing earth-shaking explosions in densely populated areas.

The Times of Israel reported that some troops were positioned in an area that is technically part of Gaza's territory but is effectively under Israeli control, and therefore can not yet be deemed a ground offensive.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday he had approved the mobilization of an additional 9,000 reservists, two days after the army mobilized 5,000 reservists.

Gaza residents near the border with Israel confirmed to Reuters that they had seen no sign of Israeli ground forces inside the enclave, but they reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of airstrikes.

Israel has asked citizens in towns that lie within four kilometers (roughly 2.5 miles) of Gaza's border to head to bomb shelters.

Over the past weeks, forced evictions and mob violence have left citizens of Palestine with few options amid an worldwide outcry over Israel's blatantly illegal actions.

IDF Military Intelligence rejects this allegation, saying that it had warned the political echelon of the threat of an attack by Hamas almost a month ahead of time, in mid-April, when significant clashes broke out regularly between residents of East Jerusalem and Israeli forces and amid the Palestinian Authority's decision to indefinitely postpone Palestinian elections that were planned for May.

However, the IDF suspects that the number of terrorist operatives killed is far higher than that, as many of those hit in Israeli attacks were in tunnels and bunkers at the time and may not yet have been removed from them.

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 13, 2021.

Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site
It urged the worldwide community to work to end "repeated Israeli aggression" against the Palestinians and Al-Aqsa. Weeks of unrest in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their future capital, has multiple causes.

On Thursday, the army said in a statement it destroyed a fourth multi-storey building that was used by Hamas.

Palestinians living outside Gaza City, near the northern and eastern frontiers with Israel, fled the intense artillery bombardment on Friday.

In the northern Gaza Strip, Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and four children, aged 7 and under, were killed after an Israeli warplane reduced their four-storey apartment building to rubble, residents said.

COGAT said a desalination plant was also affected, leaving 250,000 people without water, but did not give further details.

For weeks, Palestinian protesters and Israeli police have clashed daily in Jerusalem, with a series of incidents during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan contributing to the mounting hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians.

The violence continued overnight into Friday.

He spoke after consecutive nights of apparent revenge attacks by Arab and Jewish mobs in Lod, Jaffa, Haifa and elsewhere inside Israel.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin condemned the street violence, saying it was "a real threat for Israeli sovereignty".

An Egyptian security delegation is in Tel Aviv as part of mediation efforts launched by Cairo, a security source said.

But diplomats said that close Israeli ally Washington had blocked the urgent meeting.

The fighting cast a pall over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, normally marked by family gatherings and festive meals. "This is the Biden administration's point of departure in thinking about the Palestinians and shaping their policy toward the conflict", Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

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