News / Middle East

    Israel Launches Military Offensive Against Gaza Militants

    A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows Israeli flares illuminating the Palestinian coastal enclave, July 7, 2014.
    A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows Israeli flares illuminating the Palestinian coastal enclave, July 7, 2014.
    Reuters

    Israel launched an aerial offensive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing more than 30 targets including homes and calling it part of a campaign named “Operation Protective Edge” targeting Hamas Islamist militants firing rockets at the Jewish state.

    The military urged Israelis within a 40-km (24-mile) radius of the southern coastal territory to stay within reach of protected areas and ordered summer camps shut as a precaution against rocket fire.

    Palestinian officials said Israel bombed more than 30 targets in little more than an hour before dawn, including two homes in southern Gaza, one of which was identified by a neighbor as belonging to a Hamas member.

    Nine people suffered shrapnel injuries. There were no other reported casualties as the buildings were believed to have been evacuated beforehand.

    Witnesses said a house bombed in Khan Younis was flattened. The Palestinian Health Ministry said nine neighbors were wounded by debris from that strike.

    The Palestinian Interior Ministry said the family in the targeted home had received a telephone call from an Israeli intelligence officer asking them to leave the house because it would be bombed, and the family evacuated in time.

    A military spokeswoman confirmed air strikes were launched but had no details.

    Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said in a tweet that “Operation Protective Edge is under way, targeting Hamas capabilities that are terrorizing Israel.”

    Hamas' armed wing threatened an “earthquake” in response to Israel's attacks, and said it had fired a rocket at a southern Israeli town.

    In a statement the group denounced Israel's bombing of houses as “exceeding all red lines” and threatened to shoot rockets at longer distances. “We will respond by broadening the range of our targets,” the militants said.

    Lerner said Gaza militants had fired more than 80 rockets at Israel on Monday, and military officials said more than 200 rockets have been shot at Israel in the past month, an enormous uptick in shootings.

    Security Cabinet Decides

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet decided on Monday to step up air strikes against militants in coastal Gaza. Political sources said ministers stopped short of ordering a ground offensive for now.

    Netanyahu had earlier pledged “to do whatever is necessary” to restore quiet to southern Israeli communities though he cautioned against any rush toward wider confrontation with Hamas, whose arsenal includes long-range rockets that can reach Israel's heartland and its business capital Tel Aviv.

    But far-right cabinet ministers pressed for a firmer response to silence rocket fire. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman quit an alliance with Netanyahu's party citing dissatisfaction with Netanyahu's policy on Gaza.

    The surge in violence has raged since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths last month in the occupied West Bank and a Palestinian teen last week, in an attack for which Israel has arrested six Jewish suspects.

    Air raid sirens wailed as far north as the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Monday night. Israeli police said those were false alarms, but the military said rockets had triggered alerts as far as 80 km (48 miles), the farthest of the latest crisis.

    Two Israelis were injured in Monday's rocket strikes.

    Lerner told reporters on Monday that Israel had called up several hundred reservists and was prepared to mobilize a total of 1,500. He said the intensity of Hamas rocket fire meant “the Israeli military is talking about preparedness for an escalation.”

    Hamas claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Israel on Monday for the first time since a 2012 war with Israel that ended in an Egyptian-brokered truce.

    The group's death toll on Monday had also been the highest Hamas suffered since the 2012 fighting.

    Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of committing a “grave escalation” in violence and threatened to retaliate, saying Israel would “pay the price.”

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    July 08, 2014 4:20 AM
    Fatah, Hamas and every Arab organization that ever existed in that region has one way or the other call for the destruction of the STATE OF ISRAEL. The original PLO charter clearly calls for the violent and dismantling of the JEWISH STATE, (NOT ZIONIST, BUT JEWISH)
    The Fact that Israel is standing in the midst of the Arab nations is a defeat to them. And they will not rest until they destroy Israel, and that will not happen. Israel has lot of doom day weapons, you think Israel will just sit there for some country to just come and remove them out of their land? that will never happen.
    The IAF punished Hamas terrorists in Gaza on Sunday into Monday, killing nine members and destroying underground terror bases and rockets launchers. The IAF carry out massive airstrikes in retaliation for a constant rockets hitting Israel. If Hamas doesn't stop the rockets firing into Israel, their common citizen will die in the hands of Israel. and the world has to blame Hamas.
    The rocket firing has escalated to over 80 since Monday morning? Now what the US, the UN and EU want Israel to do? just sit there? any country will fight back. that is a normal reaction. Israel is just doing what other country will do. God Bless Israel

    by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
    July 08, 2014 1:56 AM
    We support the IDF to carry on their operation,The reason is Hamas feels she has long range missiles that can hit all Israel cities, Hamas kept provoking Israel to battle,Firing hundred of rockets into Israel cities day and night. No Country will never and ever take that. so why should it be Israel?
    This whole escalation begun with an unprovoked attacked on Israel every single day. And Israel now is in a position that she has to do what she has to do. Israel has to finish the 2008 job.
    Hamas has been terrorizing Israel for a long period of time now, and enough is really enough. The spoke man for Hamas said in an interview with VOA said Hamas has long range rockets that can hit Tel Aviv, when that Happens, say bye to Gaza. There will be no Gaza.
    All those people in our nation that hate Israel, can they allowed Russia to hit our country with a long range missile and we all say it is ok? No we all will be in the street calling the Government to take action, so it is with Israel. God Bless Israel, my friend

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora