Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israel, rapidly heating up the unrest.
The fiercest exchange of fire in 2014 resulted in the deaths of at least 53 Palestinians, 10 of whom were children. Six people died on the Israeli side.
In the early morning of the 12th, Israel launched multiple air strikes on the Gaza Strip. At the same time, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups that control the Gaza Strip fired multiple rockets at Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) confirmed that several senior Hamas commanders were killed in a massive Israeli airstrike on Wednesday, including the general of Gaza City, Bassem Issa.
The Israeli National Security Agency also referred to Isas as one of the senior Hamas commanders who died in the airstrike.
Israeli Army spokesman Jonathan Konriks told reporters on the morning of the 12th that the Palestinian armed groups began firing rockets at Jerusalem at about 6 pm on the 10th (23 pm Singapore time). Subsequently, 850 rocket launchers launched by various armed groups in Gaza landed in Israel or were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system. Another 200 landed in Gaza. Israel also claimed to have intercepted Hamas drones.
The Israeli army, codenamed “Operation Wall Protection,” carried out hundreds of air strikes on Gaza. A multi-storey residential building in the Gaza Strip collapsed after repeated Israeli air strikes, and another one was severely damaged. Israel said they attacked targets such as intelligence centers and rocket launch sites. Conricus said that Hamas used the building for military purposes and therefore was a military target.
Konriks also said that the government had recruited 3,000 reserve soldiers and sent them to the border of the Gaza Strip to prevent militants from entering through the tunnels to launch attacks, but he denied that the Israeli army was preparing to launch a ground offensive.
According to reports from health officials in the Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes have also injured more than 100 people in Palestine. The artillery fire forced Israel to suspend flights to and from the main Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced on the 12th that there was a state of emergency in the central city of Lod near the airport. Residents of ethnic descent launched “large-scale riots.” Police said that local Arab residents set fire to synagogues, shops, and cars, causing violent riots.
This is the fiercest exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas since the Gaza War in 2014, and it has raised concerns in the international community that the situation may get out of control.
The United Nations Special Envoy for the Middle East, Thor Venneslan, issued an appeal via Twitter: “An immediate ceasefire. We are escalating to a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides must take responsibility for easing the situation… The cost of the Gaza war is devastating. Yes, the people are bearing this price.”
The United Nations Security Council held another emergency meeting on the 12th to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestine. This is the second time the Security Council has convened a similar meeting in three days.
US Secretary of State Blincol had a phone conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on the 11th. The State Department’s statement stated that Brinken called on all parties to ease tensions and stop violence.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Merkel said that Germany condemned Palestinian militants for launching rocket attacks on Israel and said that Israel has the “right of self-defense” to counterattack.