A bloody night witnessed the occupied Palestinian territories, after Israel launched massive air strikes against several sites.
According to the Daily Mail – Israel unleashed new bombardments on Gaza this morning, smashing the tower block of a Hamas field commander and two border tunnels after the Islamists fired hundreds of rockets.
At least 24 Palestinians – including nine children – were killed, most by airstrikes, health officials in Gaza reported. Israel said that at least 15 of the dead were militants, adding that six Israeli civilians had been wounded after the militants fired more than 200 rockets.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the fighting could ‘continue for some time,’ claiming that Hamas had ‘crossed a red line’ by launching rockets at Israel.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters this morning that they were in ‘the early stages’ of strikes against Gaza targets which had been planned for a long time.
The cross-border violence has been fuelled by Israel’s evictions of Muslim communities living in east Jerusalem which led to angry riots breaking out on Temple Mount at the weekend.
The rival national and religious narratives of Israelis and Palestinians are rooted in the city, making it the spiritual epicentre of their long conflict.
Critics say heavy-handed police measures helped stoke nightly unrest, including a decision to temporarily seal off a popular night-time gathering spot where Palestinian residents would meet after evening prayers.
Another flashpoint was the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah where dozens of Palestinians are under treat of eviction by Jewish settlers.
Social networking sites have witnessed widespread public condemnation against Israeli practices.