Israel’s Latest Counter-Strike in Gaza
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In the midst of the night, disabled patients at a Gaza care facility were fast asleep when suddenly, gunshots resounded through the building. The disoriented and startled patients woke up, and fearing for their lives, did everything they could to escape. Alas, some of the patients were bedridden or relied on wheelchairs, and struggled helplessly. All of a sudden, a missile smashed through the wall, instantly killing 2 people and wounding the other 4 in the room. The bodies were found later among the wisps of smoke, chunks of concrete, and uprooted palm trees.
Mohammad Bahri, who witnessed everything unfold from next door, described the scene and claimed that at around 4.30am, “two drones fired warning shots and then the jet came in. The bomb came straight through the roof.”
The same day, another event occurred with almost the exact same details. As civilians wrapped up evening prayers at a mosque, another missile tore into a nearby house, spawning chaos throughout the streets. 17 were killed, including the homeowner Tayseer Al-Batsh who also served as a police chief. Two days later, the same hellish boom was heard again as yet more missiles exploded in the southern district of Khan Younis, almost killing an entire family relaxing on their rooftop. These kinds of relentless attacks will not stop anytime soon, and it does not take much thought as to who the attackers are. Yes, the Israelis have just commenced their latest offensive, bent on revenge against Palestinian Hamas insurgents in Gaza who have recently fired hundreds of rockets into Israel. A few wasps have just stung Israel, and now Israel is going straight for their nest.
The locations of the missile strikes start to make more sense once the details arise; Jihadists apparently lived right above the care facility, and Al-Batsh may have been connected to Hamas. As Israel commences bombings on heavily populated areas with Hamas connections in Gaza, ground troops were deployed and a raid was ordered on rocket launching sites in the area. Hamas launched roughly 700 rockets into Israel last week, and Israel responded by ordering thousands of airstrikes in a six day period. The areas under suspicion not only contain Hamas insurgents, but also supposedly act as storage sites for supplies and weapons. However, striking civilian institutions such as banks and schools inevitably slaughters innocent locals alongside the Jihadists associated with the buildings. Umm Omar, whose home was wrecked by missiles, indignantly asked, “Am I a terrorist? Do I make rockets and artillery?” Death tolls are soaring following the latest strikes in Gaza; at least 204 people have lost their lives since, including up to 30 children.
“The air was full of dust and smoke. It felt like an earthquake,” described an engineering student during the attacks. “When I got here, I saw destruction everywhere. The bodies were so badly burned I could not recognize anyone.”
As Palestinian families flee their homes on the backs of pickup trucks and donkeys, the two sides continue to exchange fire on the empty streets as rockets and missiles soar overhead. Hamas even deployed three attack drones against Israel, which are generally much more effective and advanced than rockets. Israel evidently fights fire with fire, and retaliates with unparalleled ferocity. On the Israeli side, only 1 civilian casualties occurred as the Iron Dome defense system thwarted the Hamas rockets. But on the Palestinian side, hundreds were killed in response, over 1450 were wounded, and entire neighborhoods were evacuated. Israel’s method of fighting back with extreme measures has been severely criticized for fueling additional tension, and the UN and Egypt recently called for a ceasefire.
“I urgently call on the Israeli Security Forces to put an end to attacks against, or endangering, civilians and civilian infrastructure which are contrary to international humanitarian law,” said Pierre Krahenbuhl of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Surprisingly, Israel temporarily heeded the notion, and stopped the airstrikes for a few hours. Hamas, whose members were split regarding halting the retaliation, ultimately decided to continue launching rockets at Israel. As a result, Israel resumed the airstrikes, with President Netanyahu commenting that Hamas will “pay the price”. The conflict continues to rage on, and over 17,000 refugees are forced to seek shelter while desperately holding onto survival. The world’s most multifaceted and chaotic conflict continues to stir without a foreseeable end.