The clash between Israel and Islamist militant group Hamas that controls Gaza has spiraled into a full-scale war, with Israel massing troops along the Gaza frontier ahead of a likely invasion of the Hamas enclave. The problem has aggravated due to rioting by Arab and Jewish mobs for the past few days in Lod.
The efforts of the UN and other world powers including the UK to restore peace have miserably failed. UN had earlier expressed concerns that the clash between the two could snowball into a full-scale war.
While the Israeli attack on Hamas addresses has severely impacted the Palestinians, the situation is not good for Tel Aviv as well which is fighting a battle on two ends—one with Hamas and the other to control the riots going on inside its territory. The Israeli attack on Gaza was severely criticised by the Muslim world and protests were held in several countries against it, including in Pakistan.
The Israeli military said on Friday that air and ground troops struck Gaza in what appeared to be the heaviest attacks yet. Masses of red flames illuminated the skies as the deafening blasts from the outskirts of Gaza City jolted people awake. The strikes were so strong that screams of fear could be heard from people inside the city, several kilometers away.
“I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. “We are doing that, and we will continue to do that with heavy force.”
The fighting broke out late Monday when Hamas, claiming to be the defender of Jerusalem, fired a barrage of long-range rockets toward the city in response to what it said were Israeli provocations. Israel quickly responded with a series of airstrikes.
Since then, Israel has attacked hundreds of targets in Gaza. The strikes set off scores of earth-shaking explosions across the densely populated territory. Gaza militants have fired nearly 2,000 rockets into Israel, bringing life in the southern part of the country to a standstill. Several barrages targeted the seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv.
The current eruption of violence began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed Israeli police tactics during Ramzan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers ignited protests and clashes with police. A focal point of clashes was Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on a hilltop compound that is revered by Jews and Muslims.
Israel regards Jerusalem in its entirety as its capital, while the Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.
The violent clashes between Israel and Hamas have resulted in over 116 deaths since Monday. While 109 people died in Gaza in the Israeli airstrikes, seven people lost their lives in Israel that includes an Indian in the rocket attacks launched by Hamas.
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