Following days of fighting with Hamas, the Islamic terrorist organization that governs Gaza, Israel has massed troops around the border and summoned up 9,000 reservists. Approximately 1,800 rockets have been fired by Palestinian terrorists, while the Israeli military has launched over 600 air strikes, destroying at least three residential buildings. Since the battle began, at least 119 Palestinians have killed in the Hamas-run enclave.
Irris Makler, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Jerusalem, described it as “a huge night”.
“What that means is: Massive air attacks, and attacks from tanks and canons outside the Gaza strip and into the Gaza strip […] and at every moment there is a rocket attack coming back here.”
According to Makler, Israel's military has been hitting Hamas both above and below ground.
“A lot of Hamas’s operations have moved underground because of this amazing fire power that Israel has from the air, and so it says it is now hitting it underground as well, and that is why we’re seeing this escalation.”
The increased violence happened when communal violence erupted in Israel for the fourth night, with Jewish and Arab mobs rioting in the flashpoint town of Lod. Despite the fact that the nation's authorities authorized a stronger police presence, the violence continued.
“Last night, again, we saw a series of clashes – there’s an enormous police presence but it didn’t make a difference – with buses of people who were coming into the flashpoint towns from other places to take part. They were turned away, but nevertheless, a synagogue was burned in the town of Lod,” she said.
“People who took a wrong turn found their cars [coming] under fire. It has not just been rocks, and not just crowds, there are actually people shooting at each other with live fire in Israeli cities, and the mayor of Lod said yesterday that he thought Israel was on the brink of civil war, and nothing in the night has made anybody change their minds.”
“It was a massacre. My feelings are indescribable,” he said.
Avoiding civilian areas isn't 'possible.'
“As always, the aim is to strike military targets and to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.
“Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before we strike high-rise or large buildings inside Gaza, that wasn’t feasible this time.”
Late Monday, Hamas launched a long-range rocket into Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests over police of a sensitive holy site and Jewish settlers' attempts to displace hundreds of Palestinian families from their homes.
The rockets have ground life to a halt in sections of southern Israel, and many barrages have targeted Tel Aviv, a beachfront town 70 kilometers (45 miles) from Gaza.
Netanyahu promised to keep the operation going, stating in a video message that Israel will “extort a very hefty price” from Hamas "..
President Joe Biden of the United States claimed he spoke with Netanyahu about easing the conflict, but he also backed Netanyahu, adding, "there has not been a significant overreaction".
“Get to a point where there is a significant reduction in attacks, particularly rocket assaults,” he stated ".
Hamas has shown no indications of giving up. It launched the Ayyash, its most powerful rocket, approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) toward southern Israel. Although the rocket landed in the vast desert, it temporarily delayed aviation traffic at the Ramon airport in the south. Hamas also launched two drones, which Israel said it shot down promptly.
The fighting tainted the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which is usually marked by family get-togethers and joyful dinners. Instead, Gaza's streets were virtually deserted.