Another tumultuous situation unfolds in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Israel attacks the Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Posts reports that the Israel Defense Force carried out the attack against Hamas strongholds, in response to rockets fired from the Strip late Sunday evening.
However, Hamas denied responsibility for the rocket fire, which was instead claimed by an extremist Wahhabi group affiliated with the so-called Islamic State. According to The Jerusalem Post, the Sheikh Omar Hadid Brigade released a statement where they claimed credit for the attack in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Omar Hadid Brigade has tried for some time to challenge Hamas’ power in the Gaza Strip. ISIS has also expressed contempt for Hamas and has promised to do everything possible to oust the organization from its position of leadership.
The IDF has refused to comment on the statement released by the Omar Hadid Brigade, instead deciding to carry out attacks against Hamas’ military wing – Qassam Brigades – across the besieged Palestinian enclave. Despite the bombings, Hamas leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to oust the ISIS-affiliated organization of out the Strip and have condemned any military action carried out by the extremist cell.
But in recent weeks, the situation has deteriorated, with the Israeli Air Force carrying out numerous bombings across the Strip, in response to alleged rocket attacks fired in the southern part of the country, in particular areas in Negev. Because of growing fears of rocket attacks, many residents of the Sha’ar Negev region have fled the area, seeking refuge in other parts of the country.
The IDF released an official statement, reaffirming its dedication to the safety of Israel and its zero-tolerance policy against terror attacks:
“The IDF will not tolerate such attacks from terror organizations on Israeli territory, and it will continue to act firmly against any attempt to breach the quiet in the communities in the South.”
However, detractors have criticized Israel’s response as ‘disproportionate’ and condemned the IDF’s decision to bombard a besieged population. Many have also pointed that out that while Israeli cities and communities, even in the South, are protected by the Iron Dome advanced anti-missile system, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are defenseless against any aerial bombardment.
Of course, many also fear this could potentially lead to another major conflict between Israel and Hamas. For many, painful memories still resonate of last year’s Gaza war, which lasted for 49 days and resulted in the deaths of 2,200 people, mostly civilians. With an infrastructure on the brink of a collapse, regular power-outs and a severe shortage of supplies, the Strip is still in dire need of aid and assistance. But now, in a time of ever-increasing turmoil, fears rise that the prospect of another war is looming ominously on the horizon.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia