On the morning of May 11th, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent additional artillery batteries to the Gaza border as fighting intensifies in the Strip.
The deployment of these cannons and rocket launchers appear to indicate that the military is preparing for a potential wider conflict in the enclave.
The Israel Defense Forces said it bombed a Hamas team preparing to fire an anti-tank guided missile at Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Rocket launches continue from Gaza towards Israeli territory. Fresh rocket sirens sound as a barrage of incoming projectiles is fired toward Ashkelon and a number of communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.
Sirens are heard in Ashkelon, Nahal Oz, Sderot, Karmia, Zikim, Kfar Silver and Yad Mordechai.
At least 24 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of an open-ended operation against Hamas. In a speech, Netanyahu accused the group of crossing a “red line” with the latest rocket fire and promised a tough response.
“Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” he said.
The Israeli army said a civilian in the country’s south suffered mild injuries when a vehicle was struck by an anti-tank missile from Gaza.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, said the attack on Jerusalem was a response to what he called Israeli “crimes and aggression” in the city. “This is a message the enemy has to understand well,” he said.
He threatened more attacks if Israeli forces re-enter the Al Aqsa Mosque compound or carry out forced expulsions of Palestinian families from an East Jerusalem neighborhood.
The United States and European Union have expressed deep concern over the unrest in East Jerusalem, urging Israel to calm the situation and not carry out the forced expulsions.
Conditional Arab allies of Israel, along with Turkey, have also condemned Israel’s actions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to Twitter over the weekend to air his fury in Turkish, Arabic and Hebrew. He called Israel a “cruel terrorist state” and said Muslim nations needed to take effective steps to stop the violence. Those who remained silent were “a party to the cruelty there.”
Erdogan spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to convey his support, while his foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, vowed that Turkey would continue to be the voice “of our Palestinian brothers and sisters and defend their rights.”
Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, also commented on the developments:
“To the Islamic world, we say: It’s time to stop Israel’s heinous and cruel attacks! To humanity we say: It’s time to put this apartheid state in its place.”
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and other Arab nations also denounced Israel’s actions, in very mild language.
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