News / Middle East

Israeli Military Thrust Into Gaza Sows Terror, Defiance

Mourners carry the bodies of three Palestinian teenage siblings from Abu Musalam family, who medics said were shelled by an Israeli tank inside their house, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on July 18, 2014.
Mourners carry the bodies of three Palestinian teenage siblings from Abu Musalam family, who medics said were shelled by an Israeli tank inside their house, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on July 18, 2014.
Reuters

Gaza's Palestinians hunkered down in fear for their lives while Hamas militants urged defiance after Israel sent forces into the densely populated territory on Thursday after 10 days of cross-border fire.

Residents largely abandoned the usually teeming streets after a fevered night of bombardment. Ships spitting machinegun fire drifted closer to the desert enclave's Mediterranean shore, artillery shells lit the skyline orange every few seconds and buildings shook from the air attacks.

Small groups of drowsy men trudged to Friday prayers in Gaza City despite the frequent boom of Israeli artillery.

“We're terrified. My whole family hears the bombs fall around us and we could be hit any time. We feel like there's nothing we can do to protect ourselves,” said Yousef al-Hayek, 60, wearing a white robe and clasping prayer beads.

“Everything's in God's hands. The invasion was expected, but how it will end is not yet clear. We hope for a truce.”

Among the 23 Palestinians killed in the night darkness after Israeli announced ground operations to destroy underground tunnels used by militants were three young cousins - Mohammed, Mohammed and Ali Nutaiz, aged between 4 and 26.

They fled with their families from Israeli tank fire in an eastern border town, only to be killed when the house to which they fled was shelled, a relative told Reuters at their funeral.

Palestinian medics say 222 of the 260 Gazans killed in the hostilities have been civilians, including 40 children.

Hamas said it welcomed Israel's ground thrust and looked forward to killing and capturing soldiers after many of its some 1,400 rockets - according to the Israeli military - so far were deflected by missile defenses. Just one Israeli civilian has been killed, as well as one soldier in the incursion.

“Are you promising us what we are waiting for? Gaza is waiting for you to suffer bitter death,” Abu Ubeida, the masked and camouflaged spokesman of Hamas's armed wing, the al-Qassam brigades, boasted last week.

“The world will see the skulls of your soldiers stepped on by the bare feet of our children. We will turn it into the promised hope of freedom dawning soon for our prisoners,” he said, referring to the militants' hope of abducting Israeli troops and exchanging them for Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli warnings, hackings

Israel says it takes pains to avoid civilian casualties and targets only the militants and their weapons, but that this is not easy to do because it says rocket crews use residential areas for cover against an enemy with far superior firepower.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday: “The Israeli Defense Force is a uniquely moral army and doesn't aspire to hurt even a single innocent person. Not even one. We act only against terror targets, and regret any harm, in error, done to civilians.”

The Israeli military has warned Palestinians of impending strikes by telephoning residents of targeted houses, dropping disabled warning bombs on their roofs and strewing leaflets across endangered neighborhoods.

It has repeatedly hacked Hamas's al-Aqsa TV channel to broadcast the warnings, but the areas so far mentioned are home to several hundred thousand people. While around 30,000 have fled to temporary U.N. shelters, many insist they will stay put.

“It's impossible for everybody from my area to flee. Where would they all go?” said Faris Aryan, a shopkeeper from the northern border town of Beit Lahiya.

“The shells were landing almost every second. I just go from the shop back home. We don't know what is going on or what to expect. We fear things could get much worse.”

While its leaders have gone into hiding and its fighters disappear into shadowy warrens on the front lines, Hamas's media called for courage and tried to gird Gazans for a long fight.

“This urban war, which the heroes of al-Qassam are directing...is going on above and below the ground, and they've achieved great successes and the enemy has taken heavy losses!” an announcer on Hamas's al-Aqsa radio intoned proudly.

"The people must realize all this, despite how they try to frustrate our morale and the psychological war this cowardly enemy is practicing."

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SummerHeat from: AZ
July 18, 2014 2:58 PM
@meanbill: The Palatinians have every opportunity to pursue lives beyond your incorrectly dubbed apartheid scenario. Thousands of Palatinians live outside Gaza in perfect harmony with their neighbors. These illogical and stupid comments show blindness and bias... Hamas' primary targets -- always -- are civilians. Without Iron Dome thousands of Israelis would've been killed in the last 10 days; but as Israel seeks to stop the obvious terrorism and targeting of innocents the sad reality is that there are going to be civilian casualties... Which are 100% Hamas' only targets. People will deny obvious truth and embrace a false reality when it fits their established POV on whats happening in Israel. It's pathetic.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 18, 2014 1:20 PM
WHY do the Gaza Palestinians fight against the overwhelming Israeli firepower, without any chance of ever winning just one battle? ... (To get the worlds attention on the inhumane apartheid laws the Israeli's are forcing them to live by).... they're willing to die? ..

ASK YOURSELF? ... Would you want to live under the horrific "apartheid laws" the Israeli's force the Palestinian people to live under since the 1967 six day war? .... Denying you any civil rights, or privileges, unless you obey them on everything, and being arrested and held without trial by Israel state security, fenced in and walled in, with limited education and health resources, and places you can or cannot live, and limited by the Israeli's of land ownership, of your own occupied Palestinian lands, and being prohibited from praying in the "Dome on the Rock" mosque in Jerusalem? ..... (like black South Africans, under apartheid?) .... What would you do?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid