Israel-Palestine conflict: IDF hits Hamas tunnel in Gaza, world leaders demand de-escalation

Israel-Palestine conflict: IDF hits Hamas tunnel in Gaza, world leaders demand de-escalation


The deadly clashes between Israel and Hamas militants escalated into the worst flare-up since the Gaza war in 2014.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fighter jets launched a series of heavy air strikes in several locations in Gaza City today.

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The deadly clashes between Israel and Hamas militants escalated into the worst flare-up since the Gaza war in 2014.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) fighter jets launched a series of heavy air strikes in several locations in Gaza City today.

This happened hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled the fourth war with the Hamas rulers in the Gaza Strip. Hamas also pushed ahead and launched rockets from civilian areas in the Gaza Strip into civilian areas in Israel.

Also read | Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu defends the media house’s attack, saying the building is a “legitimate target”.

The Israeli attack destroyed 15 kilometers of militant tunnels and the homes of nine suspected Hamas commanders, according to a news report by Israeli media company The Times of Israel.

Watch: Several people injured in a car ramming attack in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah

The Israeli army said in a statement that it hit the homes of nine “high-ranking” Hamas commanders without giving details of the victims.

The nightly bombing also included the third round of strikes against what the army calls “Metro”, the name given to Hamas’ underground network of tunnels.

Fifty-four fighter jets hacked 15 kilometers of tunnels previously recognized by the Army as partially passing through civilian areas.

Gazan Mani Qazaat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should realize that we are civilians, not fighters”, adding, “I felt like I was dying”.

‘Legit’

The renewed strikes come a day after 42 Palestinians in Gaza – including at least eight children and two doctors, according to the Ministry of Health – were killed in the enclave’s worst daily death toll since the bombing began.

A total of 197 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 58 children, and more than 1,200 injured since Israel launched its air campaign against Hamas on May 10 after the group fired rockets. The worst exchange of fire in years was triggered by riots in Jerusalem.

In Israel, 10 people, including a child, were killed and 294 injured in rocket fire by armed groups in Gaza.

The Israeli army said about 3,100 rockets had been fired from Gaza since last Monday – the highest rate ever recorded – but added that the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 1,000.

Netanyahu said in a televised address on Sunday that Israel’s “campaign against terrorist organizations continues at full force” and “would take time to end”.

The Israeli army said it had targeted the infrastructure of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad armed group, Weon’s factories and storage facilities.

Israeli air strikes also struck the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas’ political wing in Gaza, the army said and released footage of clouds of smoke and severe damage, but without saying whether he was killed.

On Saturday, Israel gave journalists from Al Jazeera and the news agency an hour to vacate their offices before launching air strikes and turning their skyscraper to piles of smoking debris.

Netanyahu said Sunday that the building also houses a Palestinian “terrorist” intelligence agency.

“It’s a legitimate goal,” he said.

Intermunicipal clashes

The violence between Hamas and Israel is the worst since 2014, when Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip to end the rocket fire and destroy the tunnels used for smuggling.

The war left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 dead on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the first session of the UN Security Council on the renewed violence on Sunday and described the fighting as “completely fading”.

“It has to stop right now,” he said.

But the UN talks, already delayed by Israel’s ally, the United States, resulted in insufficient action and Washington opposed a resolution.

President Joe Biden’s administration says it works behind the scenes and that a Security Council statement could backfire.

Israel is also trying to curb intercommunal violence between Jews and Arab-Israeli citizens and deadly clashes in the occupied West Bank, where 19 Palestinians have been killed since May 10.

Serious clashes broke out on May 7 on the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque – one of Islam’s holiest sites – after protests against planned evictions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Israel-annexed East Jerusalem.

Sheikh Jarrah was at the heart of the flare-up and witnessed weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

A car ramming attack in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday wounded seven police officers, police said, adding the attacker was killed.

Police also said “several suspects” were arrested in clashes in another neighborhood in east Jerusalem overnight from Sunday to Monday.

Guterres warned that the fighting could have far-reaching consequences if not stopped immediately.

“It has the potential to spark an unstoppable security and humanitarian crisis and further promote extremism not just in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, but throughout the region.”

(With contributions from agencies)

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