Escalation in the Middle East Missile attacks on Tel Aviv region - Israel wants to fight back hard
Fired from the Gaza Strip, more than 100 rockets hit central Israel in the evening. Serious explosions - and fatalities - occur time and again in the greater Tel Aviv area. Israel threatens counter-attacks.
Israel's coastal metropolis Tel Aviv was repeatedly under intense rocket fire on Tuesday evening; there was even talk of the heaviest attack of this kind on the region to date. At least one woman was killed in the Tuesday night explosions. Local police confirmed that she died in a direct impact in the city of Rishon Lezion. According to paramedics, several people were injured in massive rocket attacks by militants from the Gaza Strip. A fatality was also reported from Cholon further south. Heavy explosions could be heard again and again in the evening in Tel Aviv. An important oil pipeline between Ashkelon and Eilat was hit in the evening and went up in flames.
The Islamist Hamas announced that evening that it had fired 130 rockets from the Gaza Strip in the direction of the city and central Israel. The Israeli army had previously destroyed a building with offices of members of the Hamas Politburo and spokesmen for the Islamist Palestinian organization in the Gaza Strip. The residents of the building were warned of the attack by the Israeli forces and asked to leave the 14-story house, as eyewitnesses reported in the evening. Hamas threatened a "hard" rocket attack Tel Aviv. The spiral of violence and retribution is turning.
Maas: "Israel has the right to self-defense"
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas meanwhile sharply condemned the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israel. "The fact that there is now such an escalation of violence cannot be tolerated or accepted, and we have made this very clear to the Palestinian Authority," said Maas in Rome. The missile attacks should be stopped immediately. "Israel has the right to self-defense in this situation," added Maas.
Russia called on all sides to exercise restraint. No steps should be taken that would escalate the situation, said the Foreign Ministry in Moscow in the evening. "We strongly condemn attacks on civilians, regardless of their nationality or religion." The development of events is very worrying, the statement said.
Tel Aviv International Airport closed
In New York, UN Secretary General António Guterres was very concerned about the “serious escalation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel ”and in Gaza, a spokesman said. "He is deeply saddened by the increasing number of victims - including children - of Israeli air strikes in Gaza and deaths in Israel from rockets fired from Gaza."
Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv has been closed for landings and takeoffs due to the attacks. The flights were diverted to Cyprus.
According to the Israeli military, at least 20 members of the Islamist Hamas and the militant Islamic Jihad have so far been killed, including high-ranking officials. In addition, there are more than 150 devices for firing Raketen been attacked. According to Conricus, many of these were stationed in areas where civilians lived. Civilian victims could therefore not be excluded, even if the army tried very hard to do so.
The most violent arguments in years
The Konflikt between Israelis and Palestinians had come to a head since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in mid-April. It has now become the most violent confrontation in several years. Ramadan comes to an end this week.
According to the Israeli police, two people have already been killed during the day in the particularly badly shelled coastal city of Ashkelon. The Zaka rescue service reported massive fire with dozens of rockets within a short time - apparently with the aim of overloading the Israeli defense system Iron Dome (iron dome). The mobile system developed by Israel usually intercepts most of the missiles that are fired.
Several children were among the dead in Gaza
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 28 people, including ten children, have died in the wake of the violence. According to local media and eyewitness reports, three children were killed in Israeli air strikes and the remaining six were killed by the extremists' misdirected missiles.
In the past few days there had been violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, especially in Jerusalem. The triggers were, among other things, police cordons in the old town and the threat of evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah district. Militant Palestinians have been bombarding Israel with rockets since Monday evening.
Netanyahu: Attackers will pay a heavy price
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the Israelis in the mood for a longer conflict. He announced tough counterattacks in response to the rocket attacks that evening. Netanyahu said Tuesday evening that the militant Palestinian organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad are paying a heavy price for the recent attacks on Israel. "This operation will take time, but we will restore security to the citizens of Israel."
Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said Israel was ready to expand the Guardian of the Walls military operation if necessary. Israel's army has "attacked 500 targets in the Gaza Strip and killed dozen terrorist activists since Monday," he said. They are determined to deal a hard blow to the militant groups.
Eternal dispute over the status of Jerusalem
One of the central issues in the Middle East conflict is the status of Jerusalem. Israel claims Jerusalem as "the eternal and indivisible capital" for itself. The Palestinians maintain their claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state.
Since Hamas forcibly took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel and the radical Palestinian organization have fought three wars. Israel and Egypt keep the area under blockade and justify this with security considerations. About two million people live there - according to information from aid organizations under miserable conditions. In August 2020, Hamas announced a ceasefire following mediation from Qatar.