Israel-Palestinian Conflict: According to data from the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza and Israeli officials, Israel bombed Hamas’ Gaza leader’s house and obliterated a family’s home in Gaza on Sunday, the deadliest day of the week-long conflict so far.
Early Sunday morning, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it bombed the home of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader since 2017, in Gaza’s Khan Yunis neighborhood. Sinwar was unharmed in the airstrike, according to IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed at least 43 Palestinians, including eight teenagers, and wounded 50 others, the majority of whom were women and children, early Sunday.
On Sunday morning, Palestinian medical and civil defense workers said they saved five children from the wreckage. A teenage girl with a bloodied head injury is lifted from the rubble by a squad of paramedics in scenes from the recovery mission. Her face is a mix of shock and horror.
In a tweet early Sunday morning, the IDF said Hamas’ militant wing launched 120 rockets between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. local time Sunday, 11 of which dropped in Gaza. IDF spokesman Zilberman said on Sunday that scores of rocket launchers with the potential to fire several rockets at once had been attacked.
“Israel has little interest in escalation, but is ready for every situation,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a tweet on Saturday, echoing an Israeli military official who said on Friday that Israel is prepared to continue reaching “quality thresholds” for an “extended period of time.” On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment, saying the government will “respond aggressively” in Gaza “until the welfare of our civilians is reinstated and restored,” and that the country is attempting to prevent civilian casualties.
However, the number of civilians killed continues to climb. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll in Gaza has now reached 188, with at least 55 children and 31 women among the victims. At least 1,225 people have been injured in Gaza since the airstrikes began this week, with the figure likely to increase as paramedics continue their rescue operations, according to the statement.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released photographs on Sunday purporting to show Hamas missile installations and tunnel entrances near civilian facilities such as hospitals and schools, alleging that “Hamas intentionally and routinely positions military targets within the civilian population, exposing their people to risk.”
The latest dispute started last week, sparked by protests over planned evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and restrictions at a common gathering spot near the Old City. It has since spiraled into one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the region since the 2014 Gaza War, which claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Gazans, roughly half of whom were civilians, including more than 550 children, according to a United Nations survey.
Several Israeli towns, including Lod, Bat Yam, and Acre, have seen rioting and violent clashes between Arab and Jewish people this week, prompting Netanyahu to caution against “lynching” by any crowd. According to the Gaza-based Palestinian Health Ministry, this bloodshed has spilled over into the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces killed at least 11 Palestinians during violent clashes on Friday, the highest number of civilians killed in a single day in the West Bank in years.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his “dismay” at the increasing number of civilian casualties in a tweet. The statement added, “The Secretary-General warns all parties that any indiscriminate targeting of civilians and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs.”
The UN Security Council is due to meet on the conflict on Sunday, prompting Guterres’ remarks. However, with a weekend of sirens, explosions, fatalities, and deaths capping nearly a week of the crime, it’s uncertain how well those efforts will be received.
The Biden administration, which has stated that its priority is de-escalation and collaborating with regional partners to achieve that aim, sent Hady Amr, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, to Israel on Friday; the US had previously blocked previous Security Council meetings, choosing direct diplomacy over dialogue in an international forum.
On Saturday, US Vice President Joe Biden met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Biden “reaffirmed his deep support for Israel’s right to protect itself from missile threats from Hamas” during his call with Netanyahu, as well as his sympathy for the Palestinian civilians. In a statement released after his phone call with Trump, Abbas urged him to intervene to stop the “Israeli assault on Palestinian civilians everywhere.”
According to the Palestinian News Agency WAFA, an infant was the lone survivor of a house hit and devastated by an Israeli airstrike in the al-Shati refugee camp early Saturday, killing 10 members of the infant’s family, including eight infants. According to the study, at least 20 other Palestinians were injured after the Israeli airstrike destroyed many nearby homes.
In Gaza, militants fired missiles at Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Ashdod, and Sderot in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on the refugee camp on Saturday. According to Israel’s emergency service, a 55-year-old Israeli man was killed early Saturday afternoon after a missile struck a collection of buildings in a suburban area in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, raising the country’s death toll to ten.
The Associated Press said in a statement that it was “shocked and appalled” that the Israeli military would “raid and kill the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” and demanded that the Israeli government “put forward the facts.” The Israeli government claims that the building housed Hamas military intelligence facilities.