Escalating Conflict: Israel Airstrikes Gaza Again After Hamas’ Rocket Attacks

The Israeli military said today that armed groups have fired more than 1,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip since Monday evening, AFP news agency said. An Israeli military spokesman said that of the more than 1,000 rockets, 200 landed on the Palestinian side and 850 were fired at the Israeli side, some of which were intercepted and destroyed by Israeli anti-missile systems.

In the face of rocket attacks by Hamas and other militant groups, Israel carried out another series of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning, targeting the homes of top Hamas figures. Earlier Wednesday the Hamas organization said it had fired more than 200 rockets at Israel in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on a building in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas organization said in a statement that it “is firing 110 rockets at Tel Aviv” and 100 rockets at the southern town of Beersheba “in retaliation for the resumption of Israeli attacks against Palestinian homes.”

According to information released by the IDF, not long after Hamas made the announcement, sirens were sounded in Tel Aviv and Bishba, and people in Tel Aviv were awakened by the sirens and rushed to take shelter in bomb shelters. Hamas previously reported the destruction of a nine-story building in Israeli-controlled Gaza, with the tower and adjacent buildings suffering significant damage. Witnesses said multiple missiles hit the building, which houses homes, companies and a local television station.

This is the worst conflict between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war, and there are international fears that the situation is unravelling. UN Secretary-General Guterres expressed grave concern over the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying the incidents “add to the already rising tensions and violence in occupied East Jerusalem,” while expressing his sadness at the loss of life on both sides. Guterres called on Israeli security forces to exercise maximum restraint and to accurately measure the force they use. He also noted that the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers is “unacceptable” and that “the escalating situation must stop immediately. Guterres said the United Nations is working with all relevant parties to urgently de-escalate the situation.