The four days of cross-border violence showed no sign of abating as Palestinians marked the first day of the religious holiday of Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, and the violence also spread to mixed communities of Jews and daughters. ‘Arabs in Israel, a new front in Israel. the long conflict.
In another potential escalation, at least three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon into Israel, an attack that threatened to open a new front in the fighting.
Fearing that the region’s worst hostilities in years could get out of hand, the United States sends an envoy, Hady Amr, to the region. The truce efforts of Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have so far offered no sign of progress.
In new airstrikes on Gaza, Israeli warplanes hit a six-story residential building that he said belonged to Hamas, the group that controls the Palestinian enclave. Netanyahu said Israel struck nearly 1,000 targets in Gaza in total.
Israeli artillery and tank shells fired at Gaza Thursday night forced dozens of families to flee their homes, Palestinian witnesses said.
Gaza’s health ministry said 103 people, including 27 children and 11 women, had been killed and 580 others injured since the start of the Israeli operation on Monday – straining hospitals already under heavy pressure during the pandemic of COVID-19.
A Palestinian rocket crashed into a building near Israel’s commercial capital, Tel Aviv, injuring five Israelis, police said. Seven people have been killed in Israel since the start of hostilities, the IDF said.
Israel on Thursday massed additional troops and tanks near Gaza, and Israel’s defense minister approved the mobilization of 9,000 more troops. But the armed forces maintained a ground offensive was not the main objective of the operation against the Palestinian fighters.
“We are ready and continue to prepare for various scenarios,” said Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus, describing a ground offensive as “a one-time scenario.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign “will take longer.”
Harry Fawcett of Al Jazeera, reporting from southern Israel, said the IDF would present a ground operation plan to the government.
“This does not mean that [the plan] will go ahead because a ground offensive in Gaza would be a huge escalation step that carries a huge risk, ”he said.
Many world leaders have condemned the violence and called for restraint, and a visit by Egyptian security officials was a significant step forward in international efforts to achieve a ceasefire – those efforts were essential in bringing about end to past battles.
Officials first met with Hamas leaders in Gaza before speaking with the Israelis in Tel Aviv, two Egyptian intelligence officials said. They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Yet Israel and Hamas appeared determined to move forward.
In Gaza, a veil has been thrown over Eid al-Fitr, the feast of the end of the daily fasting month of Ramadan. It is usually a festive time when families buy new clothes and get together for big parties.
Instead, Hamas urged worshipers to mark communal Eid prayers inside their homes or in the nearest mosques rather than outside, as is traditional.
In the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza, dozens of mourners marched through the streets carrying the bodies of an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old who were killed in an Israeli airstrike near their home on Wednesday.
In Israel, rocket fire from Gaza put an end to life in communities in the south near the enclave, but also reached north to the Tel Aviv area, about 70 km (45 miles), for a period of time. second consecutive day.
The roadblocks appeared to be intended to demonstrate that Hamas’s arsenal was still full, even after three nights of Israeli airstrikes and the murder on Wednesday of several Hamas commanders.
Israel has diverted some inbound flights from Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv to Ramon Airfield in the far south of the country, the transport ministry said. Several flights have also been canceled.
Hamas said it fired its most powerful rocket, the Ayyash, on Thursday at Ramon, 180 km (110 miles) from Gaza.
The rocket landed in a desert area and no air raid siren sounded, Israeli media reported.
Still, flights were briefly suspended at the airport, with several planes circling ahead of landings and take-offs, according to tracking websites.
Netanyahu visited batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which the military says has intercepted 90% of the 1,200 rockets that have reached Israel from Gaza so far.
“It will take longer, but with great firmness… we will achieve our goal – to restore peace to the State of Israel,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the “indiscriminate launching of rockets” from civilian areas of Gaza into Israeli population centers, but he also urged Israel to show “the utmost restraint”.
The current eruption of violence began a month ago in East Jerusalem, where harsh Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and threats of forced evictions of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for making way for Jewish settlers sparked protests and police repression.
Israel views Jerusalem in its entirety as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state.
Hundreds of Palestinians were injured over the weekend and Monday as Israeli police attacked worshipers in and around the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hamas, claiming to defend the city, launched a rocket barrage at Jerusalem late Monday, in a dramatic escalation after Israel failed to respond to an ultimatum to withdraw its forces from the Al-Aqsa compound.
Recent fighting has also sparked violence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the worst inter-communal unrest in decades. Netanyahu has warned that he is prepared to use an “iron fist if necessary” to quell the violence.
Clashes erupted again on Wednesday evening. Crowds of Israeli Jews and Palestinians fought in the central town of Lod, also known as Lydd, the epicenter of the unrest, despite the state of emergency and the nighttime curfew.
In nearby Bat Yam, Jewish nationalists dragged a motorist suspected of being Palestinian from his car and beat him until he was still.
Israeli police said two people were shot and wounded in Lod and an Israeli Jew was stabbed.
A Palestinian citizen was stabbed and seriously injured in the Mahane Yehuda central market in Jerusalem.
In the occupied West Bank, the IDF said it intervened in a Palestinian shootout that injured two people. The Palestinian health ministry said the suspected gunman was killed.
At least 34 Palestinians were injured overnight in clashes with the IDF in various locations in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reported.
Ibrahim said the majority of people were hit by live ammunition and most of the injuries occurred in the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank.
“There was an exceptionally high number of live fire injuries, which shows us that the situation could quickly escalate,” she added.
At least eight Palestinians were injured Thursday when a group of settlers from an illegal settlement attacked the village of Duwwaneh near Hebron, Ibrahim said. Four of them were hospitalized, according to local sources.