Night of 1000 bombs: Netanyahu warns Hamas “is paying a very heavy price”

The Daily Mail reported on May 14 that Israel stepped up its assault on the Gaza Strip overnight, carrying out its heaviest air, land and sea bombardment to date amid fears of a ground invasion as thousands of soldiers were redeployed to the border.

Overnight Thursday, helicopters, jets, gunships and artillery fired more than 1,000 bombs and shells into northern and eastern Gaza, destroying Hamas tunnels under Gaza City in what the military called a “subway. A military spokesman said the military operation was carried out along the border, but no Israeli troops crossed it. The IDF said 160 planes flew simultaneously in a 40-minute attack on a network of tunnels dug by Hamas, and 450 missiles were dropped on 150 targets in northern Gaza.

The air strikes were followed by some 500 artillery shells – some illuminating, some explosive – and 50 tank shells in follow-up attacks.

In response, Hamas fired 220 rockets from Gaza into Israeli cities overnight, targeting cities including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and Yavneh, the IDF said. There were also three rockets fired from Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, though they were all unsuccessful.

There were more airstrikes this morning, with the IDF saying it targeted underground rocket launchers and Hamas observation posts. Meanwhile, sirens sounded on the Israeli side of the border as Hamas attacked with suicide drones, while several Israeli soldiers were wounded in a knife attack near the West Bank city of Ofra.

The IDF says more than 2,000 rockets have been fired in less than five days. Israeli security forces said three rockets were also fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel, but instead of hitting populated areas, they landed in the Mediterranean Sea.

Elsewhere, more street clashes broke out overnight in the mixed Israeli-Arab city of Lod, where a synagogue was burned down. A 19-year-old IDF soldier was also severely beaten in the Tel Aviv suburb of Jaffa, and a Jewish family was attacked in their car in Umm al-Fam.

The specter of invasion now looms as Israeli forces surround the border area, 9,000 reservists are called up and Palestinians begin evacuating homes along the border. Any incursion would mark a major escalation of violence and could send the death toll soaring.

The current death toll stands at 119 Palestinians, including 31 children and 19 women, with another 830 injured. nine Israelis have been killed, including a soldier and a 6-year-old boy.

Despite the rapid escalation of violence and amid calls from world leaders for an emergency de-escalation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed today that the attacks would not let up. He said, “We will make Hamas pay a very heavy price. We are doing so, and we will continue to do so with great force.”

Residents of northern Gaza, near the Israeli border, said they saw no signs of Israeli ground forces in the enclave, but reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of airstrikes.

Hamas military spokesman Abu Obeida said the group did not fear a ground invasion, saying the move would be an opportunity to ‘increase our chances of capturing’ dead or captured soldiers.

According to the military, more than 400 of the 1,800 rockets fired by Gaza militants since the start of the war have fallen short or been fired incorrectly.