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Palestinian Israeli conflict

Israeli army launches military operation on Gaza Strip

Published: Updated:

Israeli planes and troops on the ground launched an attack on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said in a brief message.

Residents of northern Gaza, near the Israeli frontier, said they had seen no sign of ground troops inside the enclave but reported heavy artillery fire and dozens of air strikes.

The Israeli army spokesman later confirmed that the ground forces are only participating in the bombing of the Gaza Strip.

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Local media in Gaza reported over 450 Israeli strikes in the Northern part of the Strip. More than 50 injuries have reached Beit Hanoun Hospital, as a result of the targeting of al-Baali area.

Ongoing Israeli airstrikes have so far killed 115 Palestinians in Gaza, including 27 children and 11 women, the Ministry of Health reported on Friday. Meanwhile, 621 people have been reported wounded since the strikes began more than three days ago, according to the ministry.

Palestinian factions have responded with bombing Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba and Sderot with over 50 missiles. The Israeli Army Radio said that electricity was cut off in several areas of Ashkelon due following the rocket attacks from Gaza. The Israeli army has demanded the residents of the border settlements to remain inside bomb shelters until further notice.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Hamas and the rest of the organizations "will pay a heavy price, and the military operation will continue as needed."

Sources confirmed to Al Arabiya that the Egyptian security delegation has left Tel Aviv following Israel’s launch of the major military operation, adding that Israel has rejected the Egyptian requests to have a humanitarian truce.

Israel has identified weapons depots and rocket launch sites and put together a list of leaders from al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas to target.

The US Department of State recommended US citizens to reconsider travel to Israel due to armed conflict and civil unrest.

“Rockets continue to impact the Gaza periphery and areas across Southern and Central Israel, including Jerusalem. Recent incidents of violence include vandalism, rock throwing, burning of vehicles, and attacks on passersby. Protests and violence may continue to occur, some with little or no warning,” the statement added.

The statement added that there has been a marked increase in protests and violence throughout Israel.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the conflict can only increase radicalization and extremism in the whole region.

"Out of respect for the spirit of Eid, I appeal for an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel. Too many innocent civilians have already died," he added in a Tweet.

Israeli army spokesperson announced on Friday morning that about 160 aircraft participated from 6 air bases and used around 450 missiles and shells to raid about 150 targets within 40 minutes. Artillery and armored forces, which have been deployed along the border, attacked targets with hundreds of artillery shells and dozens of tank shells.

The spokesperson added that the aim was to strike a heavy blow to the underground infrastructure, “the Hamas metro”, located under the northern and eastern neighborhoods in Gaza.

The Israeli air defenses also intercepted a drone that violated Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip.

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