In the early hours of Friday, Israeli planes launched a massive attack on Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas, a militant Palestinian group headquartered in Gaza, for Thursday’s rocket attack from Lebanese territory.
According to Palestinian media outlets, Hamas air defenses were activated, but there were no reports of casualties so far. Videos shared on social media showed explosions lighting up the night.
The attack came as an act of revenge after 34 rockets were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon earlier on Thursday. While no party has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attributed it to Hamas, a militant Palestinian group in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that any act of aggression will have consequences.
The attack is being referred to by Israeli media as the most significant escalation since Israel’s 2006 attempt to dislodge Hezbollah from southern Lebanon, which resulted in a Hezbollah victory. Hamas and Hezbollah have reportedly placed their long-range rockets on high alert, and there are concerns that they may strike central Israel in response to the IDF bombing.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has instructed the IDF to prepare for all possible options of retaliation. IDF personnel have been recalled from leave, and units near the border with Lebanon have been placed on high alert.
In the past week, Israeli riot police arrested hundreds of Palestinians at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, causing services disruption during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In May 2021, clashes at the same location sparked an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas, which was brought to a close through a ceasefire mediated by Egypt.
These events are taking place amid widespread protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Netanyahu over his proposed overhaul of Israel’s supreme court. The situation in the region remains tense and unpredictable, with the potential for further escalation and violence.
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