Israel – Hamas Fighting Most Intense in Four Years
Life this weekend for Israelis living near the Gaza Strip, and for Palestinians situated near Hamas facilities and bases inside of Gaza was an example of the extremes citizens of the area are asked to bear. Some 200 mortar rounds and rockets fell inside of Israeli territory prompting the prime minister to issue a statement declaring the situation to be intolerable and announcing that military action more intense than at any time since the 2014 ground invasion by the Israeli army would ensue. Some hours later, a cease-fire agreement was purportedly in place, brokered by Egyptian intelligence, but even then, rockets rained-in. This time there were injuries on both sides, an Israeli family from the town of Sderot hospitalized with shrapnel wounds; and two teenagers died when Israeli jets struck a Hamas training facility. For the second time in a week, the Patriot anti-missile system was called into action to destroy an incoming drone from Syrian airspace. Yet, the Israeli military echelon has been frustrated by its inability to stem the flow of kites and balloons bearing incendiary devices that have set thousands of acres of agricultural land ablaze during the past two months. Although Israel claims one of the world’s most powerful military machines, it has been able to intercept fewer than half the kites sent into its territory. This, plus an incident in which a soldier was wounded by a hand grenade on Friday set off the most recent retaliation raids, the army reporting hits on more than forty targets including arms depots and terror tunnels. The cabinet will convene on Sunday to further assess the situation and decide future moves.