Violence in the Middle East has erupted again, this time with Israel attacking the sites where Hamas launched rockets into Israel. Most of the rockets were directed towards the small towns near the Israel/Gaza border area or towards Jerusalem, which is the first time Jerusalem has been under attack by Hamas using rockets. The rocket attacks by Hamas happened during Israeli Day in which thousands of people attended a parade in Jerusalem. “This marks a serious escalation between Hamas and Israel. In the past, Hamas rockets have been directed at smaller population centers,” said Osher Biton, a security analyst who worked with the Israeli Defense Forces. “Firing indiscriminately at civilian population centers is a terrorist attack. There is never a legitimate military strike when you don’t even go after the opposition’s military or industrial complex but instead go after helpless civilians.”
According to the IDF most of the rockets fired by Hamas were headed for unpopulated fields and open land. “We don’t shoot down their rockets if they are not projected to hit empty land. They have no aiming system, they just point and shoot. About 12 of their rockets were projected to hit populated areas and our Iron Dome system launched rockets to intercept and destroy their rockets, said Moshe Abner, an IDF spokesperson.
Two explosions were heard in Jerusalem near the parade according to i24 News, an Israeli news agency. “We will not tolerate harm to our territory, to our capitol, to our citizens or to our soldiers. He who attacks us will pay a heavy price," the words by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already starting to ring true across Gaza.
Egypt has started talking to both sides for what many in the west hope will be an Egyptian brokered cease fire.
Israel has launched air attacks into Gaza in response, striking at the locations where Hamas used to launch their rockets. As is customary, Israel dropped leaflets in the areas they were going to attack ahead of the actual attack warning civilians to evacuate the area. Sadly, not every chooses to leave, there are an estimated 20 deaths in Gaza from the Israeli counter-attacks so far, some being children. “It is disgusting that Hamas chooses to use schools as launch sites, it is even more disgusting that they will use children as human shields or despite being warned that the site will be attacked soon, they choose not to evacuate the immediate area. That is cold, calculate and callous, being done in the hope to garner international media attention under the banner that Israel is killing kids, said Adam Yashar, a dispatcher for Megan David, Israel’s paramedic first responders.
According to the IDF, Hamas fires between 500 and 4,000 rockets per year from Gaza into Israel, though most are very short range and impact unpopulated land near Israeli small towns close to the Gaza border.
In a rare move, Amnesty International has condemned the Hamas rocket attack calling it a ‘War Crime’. Normally the international human rights group ignores Hamas’ actions and only condemn Israel for its response.