Beersheba and Tel Aviv under attack by Hamas rockets.
Image Credit: economictimes.com
The city of Tel Aviv has come under attack again by Hamas as a retaliation to the death of its commanders by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) airstrikes. They also launched rockets towards the city of Beersheba and Eilat’s airport on Thursday. Earlier on Thursday, Israel closed the airport of Ben Gurion and diverting them to Eilat airport, but Hamas soon learned about this and launched rockets towards Eilat airport prompting Israeli authorities to close it too. The city of Beersheba is still under rocket attack.
After the rockets attack in both cities and airport, Israel launched fresh attacks on Gaza destroying a number of Hamas targets, including an intelligence facility with dozens of Hamas operatives inside. Israeli authorities reported that Hamas fired between 25-30 rockets at central and southern Israel. Hamas claims that it actually fired around 100 rockets to the regions in the afternoon barrage.
Flames and smoke rise in Gaza during an air strike conducted by IDF. Image Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
Hamas also claimed that it launched a number of ‘suicide drones’ into southern Israel. Suicide drones are unmanned aerial vehicles filled with explosives. IDF claimed that it downed one of the drones and that they appeared to have primitive capabilities.
A screenshot from a video uploaded online showing a Hamas media outlet destroyed by Israeli air strikes. Image Credit: abc.net.au
On Thursday afternoon Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Gilad Erdan sent a letter to the top UN body explaining its right to defend itself against the barrage of rockets launched by Hamas.
The indiscriminate rocket fire constitutes a double war crime. It is clear that Hamas premeditated this escalation in violence and terrorism and is happy to pay the price of casualties on both sides in order to strengthen itself politically.Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Gilad Erdan.
Also on Thursday the IDF announced that it managed to neutralize four Hamas cells that were preparing to launch anti-tank guided missiles at several targets in southern Israel. They also reported that they bombed an anti-tank guided missile launcher positioned on top of an apartment building in the southern Gaza strip. According to IDF, around 1,750 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel since fighting broke out on Monday evening. The IDF said that around 90% of the projectiles were intercepted by their air defense systems.
In the mean time, during these attacks, Israel have been amassing a huge number of tanks near the Gaza border. Since Monday fighting at least 87 people lost their lives, including 18 children, in Gaza. More than 500 have been injured in the aerial and artillery strikes by the IDF. In Israel a total of seven people have been killed in the rocket attacks, which includes an Indian national and a 5-year old boy that was hit by shrapnel.
On Thursday evening, Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that up to 9,000 reservists have been approved for mobilization in light of the increased fighting in the Gaza strip.