(Gaza) Israel struck Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the latest episode in a new outbreak of violence in the Middle East against which calls for restraint seem futile.
Warplanes hit “a tunnel” in the Beit Hanoun area (north of the Gaza Strip), and another in the Khan Younis area (south of the territory), an Israeli army statement said.
“Two arms manufacturing centers belonging to Hamas”, an Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, were also struck, the text adds, presenting the operation as “a response to security breaches (of Israel) committed by Hamas these days”.
The Israeli raid that began around 11:15 p.m. (5:15 p.m. Eastern Time) lasted about half an hour, according to AFP reporters in Gaza, where several explosions were heard.
After the Israeli raid began, several missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel, witnesses said.
No casualties were immediately reported on either side as a result of these clashes.
In a statement, Hamas said it held “Israel responsible for this aggression and its consequences” and called on “all Palestinian factions to unite to confront the occupation” (Israel, editor’s note).
“We will strike our enemies and they will pay the price for each attack,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier in Tel Aviv at the opening of a meeting of the restricted security cabinet.
In the afternoon, more than thirty rockets were fired towards Israel from Lebanon, an escalation unparalleled on the Israeli-Lebanese front since 2006.
The Israeli army has accused Palestinian militants of being behind the shooting, which injured at least one person and caused property damage on the day of Passover.
This outburst of violence on Israel’s northern border has prompted condemnation and calls for restraint, and comes the day after the brutal irruption in the middle of Ramadan by the Israeli police in the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, widely denounced by neighboring countries and to which several Palestinian groups have promised a response.
Prior to the meeting, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had asked the army “to prepare all possible responses”.
Israel and Lebanon remain technically in a state of war after various conflicts, and the ceasefire line is monitored by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), deployed in southern Lebanon to ensure that peace is maintained. truce.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry assured that Lebanon wanted to preserve “calm and stability” in the south, calling on the international community to “put pressure on Israel to stop the escalation”.
According to the IDF, “34 rockets were fired from Lebanese territory,” five of which landed in Israel and 25 were intercepted by air defense.
The Israeli army is certain that the unclaimed rocket attacks from Lebanon were “Palestinian”, and in its opinion probably the work of Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he refused “any escalation from his territory”.
Deeming the situation “extremely serious”, UNIFIL called for “restraint and avoiding further escalation”.
In Fassuta, northern Israel, a car was damaged by a rocket.
About 20 kilometers to the west, in Shlomi, AFP journalists saw offices riddled with impacts after the explosion of a device that left its mark in the middle of the road.
“It was terrifying,” but “that’s the reality in Israel,” said Noy Atias, 21, saying he heard no less than five explosions.
Earlier Thursday, Hezbollah proclaimed its support for “all measures” that Palestinian armed groups might take against Israel by “strongly denouncing the assault by Israeli occupation forces” on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hezbollah, which effectively controls southern Lebanon, has good relations with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Visiting Lebanon, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Palestinians would “not stand idly by” in the face of Israel’s “aggression” against Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“If the Zionists think that they can defile the Al-Aqsa mosque, they must understand […] that this could set the whole region on fire”, warned Hashem Safieddine, a leader of Hezbollah, quoted by the chain of the movement.
On Wednesday and Thursday, several rockets or missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, without causing any casualties.
Paris on Thursday condemned “indiscriminate” firing targeting Israel and called for “respect for the historic status quo at holy sites in Jerusalem,” while Washington recognized “Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any form of aggression. “. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “maximum restraint”.