In a significant escalation of tensions, Israeli fighter jets have launched a comprehensive nighttime assault on Gaza, hitting over 200 targets. This operation is a response to the aggressive actions taken by Hamas over the weekend.
The Israeli military has stated that the airstrikes were directed at locations known to be occupied by “terror organizations” in Gaza. The areas of Rimal and Khan Yunis were particularly targeted, with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) stating that dozens of fighter jets were deployed to strike various terror-related targets in these regions.
According to the Israeli military, both Rimal and Khan Yunis are known strongholds of the militant Palestinian organization, Hamas. Additionally, the group Islamic Jihad also has a presence in Khan Yunis.
The airstrikes were aimed at a weapons storage facility belonging to Hamas, as well as other “terror-related infrastructure” utilized by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
While the exact number of casualties remains unknown, images emerging from Rimal, one of the targeted areas, show extensive damage, including collapsed buildings. The operation was initiated as a countermeasure to Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel this past Saturday.
During the Saturday assault, Hamas launched a barrage of rockets—claimed by the organization to number around 5000—over Southern Israel within a span of 20 minutes. Israel, however, estimates the number of rockets to be closer to 2500. Regardless of the discrepancy in numbers, the scale of the attack was unparalleled.
Furthermore, Hamas militants infiltrated Israel, abducting over a hundred individuals and taking them hostage. In response to these hostile actions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared war on Hamas, which exercises control over the Gaza Strip.
On Monday evening, Hamas issued a warning to Israel, threatening to execute the hostages if Israel continues its airstrikes on Gaza without prior notice. As of Tuesday morning, the Israeli military has reported finding approximately 1500 deceased Hamas militants within its borders, as per AFP.