The confrontation between Hamas and Israel continued this Wednesday with new Israeli aerial bombardments in the Gaza Strip, from where the Islamist movement launched a barrage of rockets against several Israeli cities, such as Tel Aviv.
After a night marked by an exchange of bombings between Hamas and Israel, the Israeli army reported that on Wednesday it carried out a new and extensive series of “attacks on homes belonging to high-ranking members of the terrorist organization Hamas”.
The Islamist movement claimed that these “successive bombings” destroyed the headquarters of the police, without specifying whether there were victims.
These new bombings, the most important since the 2014 war in the enclave, according to the army, are a response to the hundreds of rockets fired at night from Gaza against Israeli soil.
After a first barrage against Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, Hamas said it had launched more than 220 new missiles against Tel Aviv and Beerseva (south), where the alarm sirens were activated.
The Islamic Jihad, second Palestinian armed group of Gaza, which lost at least two commanders in the Israeli bombardments, announced that it had carried out early on Wednesday a “powerful attack against the enemy, firing 100 missiles.”
On the Palestinian side, the bombardments by Israeli planes and helicopters leave at least 35 dead, 12 of them minors, and more than 230 injured, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
On Israel, five people were killed in the Palestinian rocket explosions and dozens were injured, according to police and relief services.
Hamas fired a salvo of missiles at Tel Aviv following the complete destruction of a dozen-story building in the center of Gaza City, where leading figures in the movement had offices.
The Islamist movement also reported the destruction, in central Gaza, of another nine-story building that housed homes, shops and a local television station.
Israel and Hamas They are heading towards a “full-scale war”, warned the UN special envoy for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, who called on the parties to end the fighting “immediately”.
“A war in Gaza would be devastating and people would pay the price,” Wennesland said on Twitter.
“There are still a lot of targets in the pipeline. This is just the beginning,” warned Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was head of the army during the last conflict in Gaza in 2014, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured that Hamas “is going to be hit in a way that is not expected”.
In a televised speech, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyé said he was “ready” to defend himself. “If (Israel) wants an escalation, we are ready and if it wants to stop we are also ready.”
He also urged Israeli law enforcement to withdraw from the Esplanade of the Mosques in East Jerusalem – the third sanctuary of Islam – where daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police have caused more than 700 injuries since Friday.
The violence spread through several Israeli Arab towns on Tuesday. Police detained 21 suspects in the violent demonstrations in Jisr A-Zarqa and Wadi Ara (north).
In Lod, next to the Ben Gourion International Airport that temporarily suspended flights, the Israeli authorities decreed a state of emergency after the “disturbances” of the Arab minority, according to the police.
The international community has called for calm in the face of this outbreak of violence, the worst in years between Hamas and the Hebrew state.
This Wednesday an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled behind closed doors, the second in three days, according to diplomatic sources.
The first meeting ended without a joint statement due to the reluctance of the United States to adopt a text “at this time.”
Diplomatic sources told AFP that the UN, with the help of Qatar and Egypt, initiated mediation in order to achieve detente.
But Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri said late Tuesday that Egypt had so far tried unsuccessfully to speak to Israel.
Asked about this mediation, Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Tuesday: “I don’t think my commanders are aware or particularly interested.”
The Gaza Strip, an impoverished enclave of two million people, has been under an Israeli blockade since Hamas took power in 2007. Since then, Hamas and Israel have fought three wars (2008, 2012, 2014).
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.