Israel Launches, the health ministry of the Palestinian enclave controlled by Hamas reported on Thursday that dozens of people have died overnight in Gaza as a result of Israeli bombing, as tensions in the region have escalated over the almost three-month-old conflict.
Israel Launches Deadly Gaza Strikes as Mideast Tensions Rise
According to a US official speaking on condition of anonymity, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to travel to the Middle East. This would be the top diplomat’s fourth visit to the area since the October 7 Hamas attack that started the worst Gaza conflict in history.
In its drive to defeat the Islamist terrorist group, the Israeli military has disclosed more strikes in and around Khan Yunis, the largest urban center in the besieged territory’s south, and Gaza City, which is currently a largely destroyed urban combat zone.
The health ministry of Gaza claimed “dozens of martyrs and more than 100 wounded in the continued barbaric aerial and artillery bombardment of citizens’ homes in the Gaza Strip”.
The bombing set fire to the Al-Maghazi refugee camp and the central Deir al-Balah neighborhood of Gaza.
According to local Ibrahim al-Ghimri, “people were safe in their homes, the house was full of children,” as reported by AFP. “Roughly thirty persons were present. Suddenly, their houses collapsed upon them. What actions have these kids taken?”
In Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor, tensions have also increased after a strike in Beirut on Tuesday that killed Hamas deputy commander Saleh al-Aruri, who was scheduled to be buried on Thursday and was largely believed to have been carried out by Israel.
Aruri was slain in the bastion of the influential Hezbollah movement in south Beirut, which is supported by Iran. For months, both sides have been exchanging skirmishes across the border with Israel, avoiding full-scale conflict.
Aruri’s and six other Hamas operatives’ deaths on its soil have prompted Hezbollah to declare that “a serious assault on Lebanon… and a dangerous development” will not go unpunished.
After Israeli Army Chief Herzi Halevi stated that forces were “in very high readiness” during a visit to the Lebanese border, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah issued a warning to Israel cautioning against a full-scale battle.
Nasrallah stated that “for now, we are fighting on the frontline following meticulous calculations” yet cautioned that “if the enemy thinks of waging a war on Lebanon, we will fight without restraint, without rules, without limits, and restrictions”.
As of Thursday, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim organization has lost four more militants during the previous night, bringing the total number of deaths from the start of border confrontations to 129.
The Israeli espionage organization “is committed to settling the score with the murderers” who carried out the Hamas attack, Mossad chief David Barnea cautioned on Wednesday.
If somebody “participated directly or indirectly in the slaughter of October 7, his blood shall be upon his head,” Barnea stated.
Hit While they’re Sleeping
An AFP calculation based on official Israeli numbers indicates that 1,140 people were killed in the October 7 strike, most of them civilians.
Additionally, about 250 hostages were taken by Gaza terrorists; Israel claims that 129 of them are still in Palestinian territory.
Israel responded by launching an unrelenting bombardment and ground invasion that, according to the health ministry, has left large portions of Gaza in ruins and taken at least 22,313 lives.
With almost little aid reaching the region, the World Health Organization has issued a warning about the possibility of starvation and disease, and the UN estimates that 1.9 million people are internally displaced in Gaza.
According to grieving locals, a strike in the southern part of Gaza killed displaced Palestinians living in tents. The deceased were being buried in shrouds at a hospital in Khan Yunis.
According to Baha Abu Hatab, his nephews were slain. He continued, saying that although they were sheltered from the cold by “a tent,” they were struck by Israeli airstrikes while they slept.
“Why?” he enquired. “Because they threaten Israel and the United States?”
While the Israel-Hamas conflict has raged, Huthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Iran, have been firing at commercial vessels in the Red Sea, disrupting an important global commerce corridor. The rebels claim that these strikes are in sympathy with Hamas.
Together, the US and eleven of its partners forewarned the Huthis that if they didn’t immediately stop their attacks, they would face undefined consequences.
As he considers potential military action if the attacks continue, US President Joe Biden’s administration characterized the statement—which was prominently joined by Britain, Germany, and Japan—as a final warning.
A senior US source stated, “I would not anticipate another warning,” characterizing the message as “very clear”.
Following strikes on a cargo ship owned by the massive Danish shipping company Maersk, the US military said on Sunday that it had sunk three Huthi boats. Ten of the rebel combatants were reportedly slain.
The burial of Revolutionary Guards general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US strike in Baghdad in 2020, was close to the scene of twin bomb blasts in Iran on Wednesday that left 84 people dead (a revised death toll is available). This incident escalated tensions in the region.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, declared that “this disaster will have a harsh response, God willing” and laid the responsibility on “evil and criminal enemies of the Iranian nation.”
While some Iranian authorities blamed Washington and Israel, Tehran’s longstanding arch-enemies, an Israeli military spokesman declined to comment and Washington refuted claims of either country’s involvement.
The notion of US complicity, according to US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, is “ridiculous,” and Washington has “no reason to believe that Israel was involved,” he added.
Miller expressed concerns about the Israel-Hamas conflict spreading throughout the Middle East, which are shared by many.
“It is in no one’s interest — not in the interest of any country in the region, not in the interest of any country in the world — to see this conflict escalated any further than it already is,” Miller stated.