Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel launches more strikes on Gaza as fears of a ground invasion grow


Because the Israeli bombardment rained down, United Nations officers inside Gaza mentioned dozens of individuals had fled their houses within the north and east of the enclave to hunt refuge in colleges — belonging to the UN aid company for Palestinian refugees — that are thought-about designated emergency shelters.

Simply a few kilometers away, residents within the Israeli city of Ashkelon have been fleeing to their bomb shelters once more, as sirens wailed warning of a contemporary barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza.

One Israeli girl died in a single day after she fell as she was working to a shelter, the Israeli navy mentioned Friday, making her the eighth Israeli to die for the reason that Israel Protection Forces (IDF) and Palestinian militants started exchanging fireplace on Monday.


Israel’s bombing marketing campaign in Gaza has now killed no less than 119 individuals, together with 31 youngsters and 19 girls, the Gaza-based Palestinian Well being Ministry reported Friday. At the least 830 individuals have sustained accidents as a end result of Israeli airstrikes this week, the Well being Ministry added.

Energy went off throughout a lot of Gaza in a single day as a end result of the Israeli bombardment, a correspondent for Palestinian information company WAFA reported. The Gaza Electrical energy Distribution Firm mentioned there had been severe injury to electrical energy networks in northern Gaza, as properly as in components of Gaza Metropolis and elsewhere.

An artillery unit of Israeli soldiers  gather on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Gaza, on May 14.
Palestinian civil defense teams take part in recovery efforts amid the rubble of a building after Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in Beit Lahia, Gaza on May 13.

A CNN producer inside Gaza reported heavy incoming artillery fireplace from Israeli ground forces close to the border as properly as dozens of airstrikes.

CNN additionally spoke by cellphone Friday with Tariq Al Hillo, 27, from Beit Lahia in Gaza, who described a “terrifying” scene in a single day as the buildings round his personal block — which is dwelling to 6 households — have been destroyed.

“I am unable to even describe it, I do not know the place to begin and I am shedding my sanity,” he informed CNN. “All of the buildings round us have been completely destroyed yesterday, we noticed shreds in all places. I can nonetheless see them till now, I can nonetheless hear girls screaming and males crying out loud.”

Individuals believed they might be killed at any second, he mentioned. “We misplaced every thing round us and we misplaced security. I’ve 5 sisters, three of them are youngsters between 10 and 15 years previous, they have been shaking and looking out round them traumatized and ready for his or her flip to come back beneath the rubble.”

At 2 a.m., he determined they need to depart the home to stroll to a kin’ dwelling 5 or 6 miles away, Hillo mentioned. “I used to be not afraid to die however I used to be afraid that one of my relations would,” he mentioned. “On our approach I used to be telling my sisters to settle down and that nothing will occur to us, however I used to be shaking and could not even stroll as a result of I used to be terrified.”

On Thursday, Israel’s Protection Minister Benny Gantz warned that Israel has “many, many more targets” and no time restrict on its navy operations in opposition to Gaza.

Israel has referred to as up 7,000 military reservists to this point, he added. Most analysts consider that the present build-up of a single division’s price of armor and infantry is just not ample to conduct such a main incursion.

Amid the extraordinary Israeli artillery fireplace into Gaza early Friday, there have been experiences — later conclusively denied — that the Israeli military had launched a potential ground invasion of the territory.

A military tweet, which mentioned merely “IDF air and ground troops are at present attacking within the Gaza Strip” — which coincided with the beginning of a sustained new spherical of artillery and airstrikes — led many information organizations to report that a ground warfare, much-discussed in Israeli media on Thursday, was underway.

Rockets light up the night sky as they are fired toward Israel from Beit Lahia in Gaza on May 14.
Israeli soldiers fire artillery shells toward Gaza from their position near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on May 14.

A clarification happened an hour or so later. “There are at present no IDF ground troops contained in the Gaza Strip,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus informed CNN early Friday native time.

IDF chief spokesman Hidai Zilberman had confirmed to Israel Channel 12 Information on Thursday that Israel was amassing troops on the border with Gaza in case of a choice by management for a ground incursion, however mentioned it will take time.

“With the enemy waving a land marketing campaign, we are saying: any ground incursion into any space of the Gaza Strip would, by God’s permission, be a possibility to extend our yield of enemy lifeless and enemy prisoners,” the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the navy wing of Hamas, mentioned in a assertion on Thursday.

Tunnel community focused

At a media briefing Friday, Conricus mentioned the Israeli navy was ready for “numerous contingencies” and would proceed firing on navy targets in Gaza whereas defending Israeli civilians in opposition to rockets.

Palestinian militants have fired 1,800 rockets towards Israel since Monday, in response to the IDF, of which 430 fell quick. Of these, 190 have been fired between 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday morning, 30 of them falling quick.

In a single day Thursday into Friday, more than 160 Israeli Air Power, infantry, artillery and armored items from 12 completely different squadrons attacked about 150 targets in underground infrastructure in northern Gaza, the IDF mentioned.

“Many kilometers” of the Hamas ‘Metro’ tunnel community have been believed to have been broken however the actual influence was nonetheless being assessed, Conricus mentioned.

Conricus mentioned the quantity of “enemy combatants” killed was nonetheless being assessed however had “risen considerably” for the reason that final replace, when the quantity stood at more than 30.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile protection system additionally intercepted one other drone launched from Gaza — the second to this point, the IDF mentioned.

Inter-community violence

Battle between Israelis and Palestinians boiled over at first of the week, fueled by controversy over deliberate evictions of Palestinian households in Jerusalem and restrictions at a widespread East Jerusalem assembly level as Ramadan started. It has since escalated rapidly into one of the worst rounds of violence between the 2 sides within the final a number of years.

Rioting and violent clashes between Arab and Jewish residents have swept throughout a number of Israeli cities this week, main Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn in opposition to “lynching” by both neighborhood.

In Bat Yam, south of Jaffa, graphic video Wednesday night time confirmed a Jewish right-wing mob attempting to lynch an Arab driver. Police say the person was dragged from his automotive earlier than the assault started.

An Israeli man looks inside a synagogue after it was set on fire by Arab-Israelis in the city of Lod, Israel, on May 14.
An Israeli security soldier detains three Arabs during clashes between Jews, Arabs and police in Lod on May 13.

In Acre, north of Haifa, a lynching try by an Arab mob left a Jewish man critically wounded, in response to Israeli police. A police spokesman mentioned the mob attacked law enforcement officials with stones earlier than attacking the sufferer with stones and iron bars.

Communal violence was additionally reported within the Israeli cities of Lod, Tiberias, Umm al-Fahm and Hadera.

Efforts at worldwide diplomacy to this point seem to have stalled. A UN Safety Council assembly on the violence will happen Sunday morning; the US blocked earlier Safety Council efforts to satisfy, preferring direct diplomacy on the battle slightly than dialogue in a world discussion board.

CNN’s Hadas Gold and Abeer Salman reported from Jerusalem and ibrahim Dahman from Gaza, whereas Celine Alkhaldi reported from Amman. CNN’s Eyad Kourdi and Richard Roth contributed to this report.

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