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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More