Israel bombs Hamas infrastructure after launching six missiles from Gaza
Fighters of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombed infrastructures of the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, hours after the launch of six projectiles from the coastal enclave towards Israeli territory. The missiles fired were the promised retaliation for the Jewish military incursion in Nablus on Wednesday, which left eleven dead. Most were members of armed factions, although a 72-year-old civilian was also killed in the raid.
The missiles fired increased the range so that air raid sirens sounded in the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, forcing tens of thousands of Israelis to run for armored shelters in the early morning. Five projectiles were intercepted by the defensive battery “Cúpula de Hierro”, and no material damage or injuries were caused.
Hamas spokesman warned that "our patience is running out"
The IDF spokesman reported that the aircraft struck a military complex in central Gaza, located “next to a mosque, a clinic, a school, a hotel and a police station. This is further proof that the terrorist group Hamas locates its military resources among the civilian population." As usual, the statement specified that "the attack dealt a serious blow to Hamas's ability to arm itself and fortify itself." Despite the intensity of the air attacks, there were no casualties or injuries in the strip.
Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the Islamist group, declared after the exchange of fire that “the resistance in the Gaza Strip will continue to defend its people, and closely follow the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians in the West Bank. The revolution will continue despite the massacres committed by the occupation”. Despite the fact that analysts consider that Hamas is not interested in a large-scale escalation of the war - the Gazans did not raise their heads after the 2021 war - Qassem warned that "our patience is running out."
The Israeli army and intelligence services operated in Nablus after receiving information about the hiding place of members of the "Lions Den", a new armed cell based in that city, as well as other Islamic Jihad operatives. Husam Assalim, one of the militants killed, was responsible for shooting and bombing attacks against soldiers and civilians, as well as organizing the operation that resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier. The IDF claimed that the downed militants were planning imminent new attacks.
The incursion of the jeeps in Nablus, which evoked the incursion in Jenin in January, which left ten victims, was repelled by hundreds of locals with stones and Molotov cocktails. It is estimated that some 102 people were injured -4 remain in critical condition-, the majority by live ammunition. According to a high-ranking Hebrew military, “the incendiary material is scattered. All it takes is a match." The security apparatus is on high alert due to the risk of possible attacks. In the Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, guards this morning shot a Palestinian woman who tried to stab them.
The jeep raid on Nablus was repelled by hundreds of locals with stones and Molotov cocktails
So far this year, 55 Palestinians have already been killed in the West Bank by Israeli fire, and 11 Israelis in Palestinian armed attacks or run-overs. Given the forecast of a deterioration in the situation, mediators from Egypt and the UN traveled to Gaza to meet with the Hamas leadership and try to reduce the tension. In Nablus, the majority of shops, schools or banks lowered the blind to support the general strike called in protest of the Israeli incursion. “We are calling to stop the continuous attacks against our people,” demanded Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas. Despite the combative rhetoric, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is in deep disrepute among the public, as its security forces continue to cooperate with Israel to track down and arrest armed militants.
The US or the European Union expressed dismay, but for Tahseen Elayyan, from the NGO Al-Haq, the Palestinians feel "alone and unprotected in the face of Israeli incursions", and continue to demand investigations at the International Criminal Court. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “extremely concerned about the loss of civilian life in Nablus. These acts undermine the urgent need on both sides to improve security in the West Bank." Tor Wennesland, UN special coordinator in the region, commented that "we are continuing contacts with the parties to de-escalate the situation."
Ilil Shajar, presenter of the morning news on Israeli radio Reshet Bet, recalled that “more than a decade has passed since Netanyahu promised to eliminate Hamas, and thousands of Israelis continue to run for cover. Those who trusted that the most right-wing government in history would put an end to terrorism, are content with the fact that pita bread will no longer be baked in prisons," he said, referring to a recent measure by the executive, which aims to end said "privilege" of Palestinian prisoners. With "Bibi" back at the head of Israel, the country experienced one of the worst attacks in many years: the shooting at a Jerusalem synagogue that left seven dead in January.
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