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Chaos is returning to the West Bank, as rockets are raining down on both sides of the Gaza fence.
On the afternoon of May 10th, after days of violent protests in Jerusalem’s Mount Temple, Hamas’ military wing gave Israeli authorities a deadline to withdraw the police and release the detained Palestinians. As it was expected, Tel Aviv did not respect the ultimatum.
As soon as it passed, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group reportedly launched about 30 rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. An ATGM also targeted a vehicle, injuring one civilian.
The Palestinians called their operation the “Al Quds Sword”, while the Israeli response is titled “Guardian of the Walls”.
The mighty Iron Dome intercepted most of missiles launched from Gaza towards Israeli Ashkelon and other areas, but its coverage is strained. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have recently deployed several more batteries in the south and bolstered it with more radars and launchers. There is ample footage showing rockets targeting civilian, and not open, areas.
In a swift response, an Israeli UAV was launched towards Gaza. The strike reportedly resulted in the death of at least 9 civilians, 3 of which were children.
This was not the “crushing blow” Tel Aviv expected it to be, as rockets continued raining down from Gaza towards Israeli territory. During this night only, over 200 rockets have been reportedly launched from Gaza.
In response, the IDF claim they have killed 15 Hamas members and have struck 130 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets. The IDF reportedly destroyed several rocket launchers, at least 2 military posts, 2 tunnels, a Hamas military intel facility and alleged weapon manufacturing and storage sites. The IDF did not mention that the strikes have resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians.
The numbers of casualties, as well as material damage caused by the hostilities from both sides, are not comparable.
The rocket exchange has already been marked as the biggest escalation in the West Bank in recent years.
It comes down to speculation how likely a further deterioration into chaos is. Tel Aviv appears to be dead set on indiscriminately targeting alleged Hamas targets, regardless of civilian collateral damage. The Palestinian groups in Gaza could potentially hope that the “international community” will not sit idly by and watch as Israel’s incredibly severe response takes place, and so far it appears they are hoping in vain.