Maximum tension in the Middle East after the launch of more than three dozen rockets from Lebanon and Gaza to IsraelTel Aviv’s armed response to Hamas, new projectile launches, more than fortyfrom the Palestinian Islamist group to Israeli territory this time from the Strip and the Two young Israelis shot dead on a West Bank highway. The escalation, which occurs in the middle of Ramadan, Pesaj (the Jewish Passover) and Holy Week, goes back to the levels of the summer of 2006 and the Hezbollah offensive from southern Lebanon.
Although the tension goes in crescendo for weeks, heThe night raid of the agents of the Israeli Security Forces on Wednesday night in the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – The riots resulted in more than 30 Palestinians being injured and some 350 detainees was the prelude to a rapid violent spiral that is acquiring pre-war overtones at this time. On Thursday afternoon, Palestinian militias launched Israeli soil from Lebanese territory up to 36 rockets -most of them intercepted by the Defense Forces-, the largest attack from that country since 2006, in addition to seven from Gaza.
Israel’s response would not be long in coming. In the early hours of Friday. the Israeli Air Force hit Hamas in both Lebanon and Gaza. According to an Israeli military spokesman, the retaliatory bombing hit ten targets of the Islamist organization in the Strip, which it controls politically, and three in southern Lebanon.
As a reply, Palestinian militias also fired 44 more rockets into Israel from the Strip early on Friday. Of the total number of projectiles launched, the Army reported, nine were missed shots, 12 hit the Mediterranean Sea and 23 hit Israeli soil. Only one of them caused material damage, in this case in a house in the city of Sderot, bordering Gaza. No fatalities have been reported, however, so far as a result of the crossfire.
Israel yesterday accused Palestinian groups of the attacks perpetrated from Lebanon and warned that it will not allow Hamas to “operate from inside” that country. An Israeli military spokesman assured that Hezbollah is aware of the rocket launches from Lebanese soil and considered the Lebanese state “responsible” for “every aggression that emanates from its territory.”
As if that were not enough, the tension rose again yesterday morning with the death in a shootout of two young men in their early twenties in the northern West Bank. According to a spokesman for the Israeli emergency services, the event, which took place on a road located near the town of Hamra, is being investigated as a “terrorist attack”. Besides, the mother of the deceased -45 years old- was seriously injured. All three resided in the Jewish settlement of Efrat, near Jerusalem and south of Bethlehem. Although no Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the three women, Hamas hailed it as “a natural response to the crimes of the occupation in Al Aqsa and the barbaric aggression against Lebanon and the unyielding Gaza.” Hours earlier, at dawn, there had already been a shooting attack against an Israeli soldier, who only suffered minor injuries.
Concern at the United Nations
The United Nations warned yesterday that the confrontation between Israel and Hamas runs the risk of “deriving into a greater conflict”, in the words of the UN special coordinator Joanna Wronecka in a tweet. “I am very concerned about the dangerous escalation across the Blue Line after the launch of numerous rockets from Lebanon towards Israel,” Wronecka confessed.
“The immediate imperative is to contain the situation. I call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and collaborate with UNIFIL (the United Nations Interim Force for Lebanon) to help restore calm,” the UN representative demanded yesterday.
However, the Israeli military commanders assured that they did not intend to escalate the war and were willing to put an end to the armed response if Hamas stopped the attacks. Not in vain, The Israeli Army provisionally lifted the air alert yesterday for residents of communities in the south of the country while negotiating, with the mediation of Egypt, the end of the last violent spiral, according to Israeli media.
For their part, the Lebanese authorities announced yesterday the presentation of a complaint to the United Nations Security Council for the Israeli attack on its territory, which the government of the country of cedars considers “a flagrant violation of its sovereignty and of Security Council resolution 1701 and a threat to the stability enjoyed by southern Lebanon,” according to a note. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.