Israel launches huge military operation in Gaza

26 Mar

BREAKING NEWS: Israel has launched airstrikes in Gaza. [Photo: Social Media]

Palestine Chronicle, 26 March 2019

The Israeli military has begun striking Hamas targets throughout Gaza, according to local residents and the Israeli military.

According to Gaza’s ministry of information, the raids targeted the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Residents there reported hearing the sounds of explosions on Monday evening.

The move came after a rocket, allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip, struck a home in central Israel on early Monday, wounding seven.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the attack.

Hamas’ political chief Ismail Haniya called for unity to address Israeli attacks:

“The Palestinian cause is being attacked on various fronts – in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as inside Israeli jails … We must face this onslaught with a united national front, and in coordination with our Arab allies … Our people and the resistance will not surrender if the occupation crosses red lines”.

Ashraf al-Qudrah, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said hospitals and medical points across the strip are ready and on high alert.

The health ministry has also called on residents to take precautions as Israel begins to launch strikes across Gaza.

Israel issued a similar warning about an hour before the raids began, telling residents on Israel’s side to open bomb shelters in the expectation of potential rocket fire coming from inside Gaza in response.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu appeared alongside US President Donald Trump in a press conference at the White House shortly after the raids began.

Netanyahu said Israel was “responding forcefully” to what he called “wanton aggression”.

He said: “We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our state.”

He added that he will cut his meeting short to return to Israel.

Trump called the attack on Tel Aviv “despicable” and said that the United States “recognizes Israel’s absolute right to defend itself”, describing the alliance between the US and Israel as “unbreakable”.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

A huge military build-up has surrounded the Gaza Strip as Israel announced the area was a “closed military zone” yesterday. [Photo: Social media]

Earlier reports said that:

Hamas have allegedly communicated, through Egyptian contacts, to Israel, that they will respond to Israeli aggression.

None of the factions in Gaza have claimed responsibility for the missile that hit a house in central Israel.

Israel have placed the Golani Brigade on standby, stationed the military surrounding Gaza and declared the surrounding settlement villages, close to the perimeter of Gaza, as closed military zones.

Israel have also informed Hamas, through Egypt, that “any retaliation to our attack on Gaza will result in a full scale war”.

Israeli warplanes have reportedly destroyed the Gaza city office of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau.

Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz today adds that:

In an interview for Channel 13, acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said the offensive is the most expansive action Israel has taken in Gaza since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

Sources in Gaza also reported the strikes are targeting Hamas training and military outposts. Reports have also said civilian buildings have been bombarded in the strikes. All hospitals in the Strip are on alert, and residents have been asked to show vigilance. An official notice stated schools across the Strip would be closed on Tuesday.

The Israeli army said it struck a three-story building in the Strip, claiming it served as headquarters for several wings of Hamas’ intelligence apparatus. The statement called the building a central asset of the organization.

Reports in the Strip say the building is used by a well-known insurance company.

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said “any crossing of red lines would be met with a response,” and that this offensive must be faced with “a unified front.”

A correspondent from Gaza has informed Kia Ora Gaza that the Palestinian resistance in the enclave has since responded to Israel’s bombardments with a “barrage of 15 rockets” and that shrapnel reportedly hit a house in Siderot and injured two people. Our correspondent commented: “So it’s all on,” adding that “the resistance has just announced that if Israel escalates their attacks, the resistance will target villages near Gaza.”

BREAKING NEWS: The Times of Israel has just reported that Hamas has announced an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement will go into effect at 10pm local time. Israel is yet to confirm. Reports that Israeli warplanes continue to pound different targets throughout the besieged Gaza Strip. At least seven Palestinians have been wounded since Israel launched their military airstrike campaign on the coastal enclave, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Leading Israeli politicians have been calling for targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders and the ‘levelling’ of Gaza.

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