Gaza under attack
A senior Hamas official stated on Wednesday that the terror group is ready to end the current intense fighting with Israel according to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry.
Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau, made the offer during a phone call with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also in charge of Middle East issues.
In interviews with Hamas-linked media on Wednesday, Abu Marzouk took a different tone, saying, "The Europeans approached us and ordered us to stop firing short-range missiles, or they will not participate in the reconstruction of Gaza.
" I told them we were going to avoid using short-range missiles and only use long-range missiles.” According to the ministry, the Palestinians requested the phone call. Abu-Marzouk discussed the recent uptick in crime, as well as the eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah.
He also expressed his displeasure with what he described as Israeli shelling of Gaza Strip residential areas. According to the declaration, Bogdanov emphasized the importance of putting an end to the violence as well as “the inadmissibility of attacks on civilians, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, including strikes on civilian targets in Israeli and Palestinian territory.
” Israeli officials said on Wednesday that they have no plans to join an immediate truce and that the IDF will continue to strike targets linked to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip in order to restore deterrence and significantly weaken their capabilities.
“There is currently no end date for the operation. Only when we achieve complete quiet can we talk about calm,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said during a tour of rocket-hit Ashkelon. “We will not listen to moral preaching from any organization or institution regarding our right and duty to protect the citizens of Israel.”
According to the Israeli Defense Forces, over 1,050 rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza against Israel since the battle began on Monday evening. According to the military, about 200 of the total number of rockets failed to cross the border and landed within the enclave. According to IDF spokesman Zilberman, the Iron Dome air defense system has a 95% interception record.
In central Israel, a 67-year-old woman suffered a heart attack triggered by rocket sirens, while an 80-year-old man in Tel Aviv suffered an apparent heart attack while running for a shelter and was in critical condition, according to medics. The IDF conducted strikes on upwards of 500 targets throughout the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fire, directed at Hamas personnel, weapons, and facilities in the enclave, with plans to attack more in the coming hours and days, according to the military.
The Gaza rocket attacks came after several days of violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in East Jerusalem, with the Temple Mount a focal point of the unrest. Hundreds of Palestinians were reportedly injured and dozens of police officers hurt. Rioting, against the background of the Jerusalem turmoil and the clashes with Hamas, has spread to Arab Israeli communities, in particular Lod, a city with both Jewish and Arab populations.
Hamas, which is avowed to the destruction of the State of Israel, took effective control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 from the Palestinian Authority in a violent coup. Since then, Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the enclave, as well as stiff control over what can enter the Strip, maintaining that it is necessary in order to prevent terror groups from smuggling weapons into the area.
Israel has fought three large operations against Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip since 2008, most recently in 2014 with a 51-day war known as Operation Protective Edge.