Israeli attacks on Gaza, militant rocket fire fuel fears of full-scale war

Published May 13, 2021
GAZA CITY: Heavy smoke and fire rise from Al-Sharouk tower as it collapses after being hit during an Israeli air raid.—AFP
GAZA CITY: Heavy smoke and fire rise from Al-Sharouk tower as it collapses after being hit during an Israeli air raid.—AFP

TEL AVIV: Heavy exchanges of rocket fire and air strikes, and rioting in mixed Jewish-Arab towns, fuelled fears on Wednesday that deadly acts, mostly by Israel, could spiral into “full-scale war”.

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz vowed more attacks on Hamas and other Muslim militant groups in Gaza to bring “total, long-term quiet” before considering a ceasefire.

“This is just the beginning,” warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We’ll deliver them blows they haven’t dreamt of.” Gaza militants have launched more than 1,000 rockets since Monday, said Israel’s army, which has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Islamic groups in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza.

The most intense hostilities in seven years have killed at least 56 people in Gaza, including 14 children, and six in Israel, including an Israeli soldier and one Indian national, since Monday.

Curfew imposed on Israeli city; death toll since Monday tops 50

Three Palestinians were killed in West Bank clashes. And at least 230 Palestinians and 100 Israelis have been wounded.

The bloodshed was triggered by weekend violence at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

As world powers voiced growing alarm over the crisis, the UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennes­land warned that “we’re escalating towards a full-scale war”.

The UN Security Council held another emergency meeting without agreeing on a joint statement due to opposition from the United States, Israel’s main ally.

Curfew imposed on Israeli city

Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the mixed Jewish-Arab Israeli city of Lod, where police said “wide-scale riots erupted among some of the Arab residents”, and authorities later imposed an overnight curfew there.

There were fears of widening civil unrest as protesters waving Palestinian flags burnt cars and properties, including a synagogue, clashed with Israeli police and attacked Jewish motorists in several Jewish-Arab towns.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, in unusually strong language, denounced what he described as a “pogrom” in which “an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob” had injured people and attacked sacred Jewish spaces.

Rivlin said Israelis needed “to be ready and armed, strong and determined, prepared to defend our home”.

Palestinian groups, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have launched more than 1,000 rockets, Israel’s army said, including hundreds at Tel Aviv, where air sirens wailed overnight.

Of these, 850 have hit in Israel or been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system, while the rest have crashed inside Gaza, the army said.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on Gaza, the Israeli-blockaded strip of two million people that Hamas controls, targeting what the army described as “terror” sites.

Hamas said several of its top commanders were killed in Israeli strikes, including its military chief in Gaza City, Bassem Issa.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Yemen atrocity
Updated 23 Jan, 2022

Yemen atrocity

The sooner this war is ended, the better, to halt the suffering of Yemen's people and ensure security of all regional states.
23 Jan, 2022

Regressive taxation

THE FBR appears to have kicked up a new and unnecessary controversy by serving notices on currency dealers to ...
23 Jan, 2022

Medico-legal flaws

ON Friday, a 13-page verdict authored by Justice Ali Zia Bajwa of the Lahore High Court revealed a shocking fact...
Updating the economy
22 Jan, 2022

Updating the economy

GDP rebasing doesn’t make countries or people richer; it is just about updated data for policymakers to make informed decisions.
22 Jan, 2022

Covid curbs

CONSIDERING the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the country over the past few days, the government decided on...
22 Jan, 2022

Cricket hope

SIX Pakistan players named across three teams of the year announced by the ICC is a testament to an uplifting 2021...