Israeli warplanes strike Gaza as Al-Aqsa crisis escalates

Update Israeli warplanes strike Gaza as Al-Aqsa crisis escalates
Smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City as Israel launches air strikes on the Palestinian enclave on late April 6, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 07 April 2023

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza as Al-Aqsa crisis escalates

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza as Al-Aqsa crisis escalates
  • Hamas and Palestinian factions are ready and anticipating all scenarios, analyst tells Arab News

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes bombed several military sites belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in different areas in the Gaza Strip, from midnight until the early hours of Friday morning.

The Israeli bombardment also targeted agricultural and open areas, in addition to watchtowers on the eastern border.

Israel has claimed that the bombing was in response to missiles fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli towns in recent days.

During the bombardment, Palestinian factions fired shells toward Israeli towns, most of which were intercepted by the air defense system Iron Dome.

The Israeli media, quoting security sources, said that about 44 rockets were fired from Gaza during the night.

The Israeli bombardment of Palestinian sites did not cause any injuries, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, but resulted in material damage to homes and properties, as well as the Al-Durra Children’s Hospital, east of Gaza City.

In a press statement, the ministry said that the bombing “caused a state of confusion and fear among the medical staff, pediatric patients, and their companions.”

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said that Israeli planes dropped 50 tons of bombs in their bombing of the Gaza Strip during the night.

Abeer Ishteiwi, 50, told Arab News: “We lived through a night of terror and fear. The sound of bombing and warplanes was frightening. When the place near Al-Durra Hospital was bombed, I felt that the house moved from its place.”

She added: “Thank God we did not suffer any damage, but my little boy was close to me all the time. I felt him trembling with the sounds of planes in the sky, and when the bombing happened, he started screaming and crying, and he barely went back to sleep in the morning.”

The Islamic Jihad has threatened to fire rockets into Israeli cities as long as Israel attacks the Gaza Strip. 

Dawood Shehab, an official of the Islamic Jihad, said: “Every bombing will be met with rockets, and every aggression will be responded to in kind. Attacking Al-Aqsa or harming worshipers...will be met with a response. These are rules of engagement that have become part of the Palestinians’ fighting doctrine.”

Hamas is holding Israel responsible for an escalation of tensions due to attacks on Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

“We hold the Zionist occupation fully responsible for the dangerous escalation and blatant aggression against the Gaza Strip and our proud Palestinian people, and for what will happen in the region,” it said in a statement.

“This brutal aggression against Gaza and the continued violations of the occupation against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa will not achieve security for the occupation, nor will it grant it victory or a right in our land and Jerusalem.” 

Recent days have witnessed significant tension in light of the events at Al-Aqsa Mosque, with footage from the scene showing Israeli police attacking worshipers inside the mosque. Shells were fired from the Gaza Strip in response that night.

Ayman Al-Rafati, a political analyst close to Hamas, told Arab News that Hamas and other Palestinian factions are ready and anticipating all scenarios.

“The resistance is ready for this scenario on all fronts, and its continued wrong assessment of events will lead to a larger and unexpected reaction,” he said.

“The occupation government must realize that whenever there is a violation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, there will be unexpected and sudden reactions.”