Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Israel bombs Al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza

Israel bombs Al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, personally oversaw the covert mission along with the head of military intelligence, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The Israeli vehicle sped off with two Hamas cars in pursuit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris because of the flare-up, and he returned to Israel on Monday for consultations with security officials.

Israel's military says it has hit around 100 targets, as well as several "key strategic" Hamas facilities, such as military compounds, rocket launching posts and part of its vast underground tunnel network.

According to Palestinians, an Israeli special forces operative was rescued from the Hamas-ruled territory.

Late on Monday, an air strike destroyed the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV.

Medics reported at least 10 Israelis wounded.

Hamas, an Islamic militant group that opposes Israel's existence, seized control of the Gaza Strip from the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in 2007.

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But by Monday, thick plumes of smoke were rising above Gaza and southern Israel. Israel says Hamas is responsible for the civilian suffering, because it allegedly uses civilians as human shields.

The rocket fire was triggered by a botched Israeli raid in Gaza on Sunday. "We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks".

A joint statement of several Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas armed wing, claimed responsibility for firing the rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen Flames rise after a rocket attack in Sderot, near the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border, November 12, 2018.

In all, 200 rockets were fired into Israel by mid-evening, the army said.

In the ensuing shoot-out, 7 Hamas terrorists were killed, among them Nour Barakeh, a Qassam Brigade commander who reportedly was in charge with Hamas' terror tunnel project and served as the commander of Hamas' regional battalion in Khan Younis.

The question is now what the Israeli security cabinet, which already discusses the situation since 9 AM on Tuesday, will decide.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh led the funeral prayers.

Considering that Gaza Strip is one of the world's most densely populated areas and Israel maintains a blockade of the area, effectively trapping people inside, many critics see the military campaign as a form of collective punishment of Palestinians.

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There was no official confirmation of a ceasefire from the Israeli government, which said in a brief statement that the Israeli military would "continue its operations as necessary".

The escalation has come despite Mr Netanyahu's decision to allow Qatar to transfer millions of dollars in aid to the Gaza Strip for salaries as well as fuel to ease an electricity shortage.

The military provided few details about the reason for the raid.

According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli unit was about 3km inside the Gaza Strip, which borders Israel, when militants from Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, stopped the vehicle.

In a tweet after his arrival back home, Netanyahu praised the slain officer, whose identity was being kept confidential for security reasons, and said "our forces acted courageously".

Since the 2014 war, both Hamas and Israel have pulled back after brief bouts of fighting from another large-scale conflict.

More than 170 demonstrators, most unarmed, have been killed by Israeli army fire in the confrontations in which some of the participants threw stones, burned tires or threw grenades toward Israeli forces.

"We all know what happens to Palestinians who as much as go near the fence", noted Israeli-American journalist Mairav Zonszein, alluding to theIsraeli military's indiscriminate massacreof Palestinian protestors along the border fence separating Israel and the occupied Gaza Strip.

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