Israel has hit over 1,000 targets in Gaza since the beginning of the latest conflict with Palestinians. Palestinian deaths from four days of Israeli aerial assaults surpassed 100, with At least 700 Palestinians injured including children. As of Friday, no Israelis had been killed by Gaza rockets.
The intensity of the aerial attacks has been double that of the eight-day round of fighting in 2012. According to Al-Jazeera reporter Stefanie Dekker, Over 3,000 homes have been partially destroyed by the air strikes, and reported figures translate to an air strike every four and half minutes.
At the same time the barrages of rockets launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad have reached much deeper into Israel than in the past and hit new targets spread across a wide area. More than 140 rockets were fired into Israel on Friday.
Israel’s offensive followed a buildup in violence after three Israeli students were killed in the occupied West Bank last month and a Palestinian youth was killed in a suspected revenge attack in Jerusalem. Israel says it has struck targets in Gaza from the air and the sea, including Hamas commanders’ homes, which it describes as command and control centers.
Some 20,000 Israeli army reservists have been mobilised amid speculation of a ground offensive into Gaza.Benny Gantz, head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), told reporters on Friday: “The IDF is not waiting for the last straw to go on a ground offensive, it’s waiting on political instruction.”
Outrage is growing worldwide over the number of civilian casualties and injuries, which are placing strain on a limited medical infrastructure. Israel is massing troops along the border, and says it will continue its operation as long as militants continue launching rockets into the country. Harry Fear reports for RT from the center of Gaza to learn more from residents.
The international community has voiced concern over the Israeli offensive, with the United Nations human rights office adding Friday that Israel’s air campaign may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of civilians.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says there is “serious doubt” as to whether Israeli’s military operation complies with international laws banning the targeting of civilians.
“We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes,” Ms Pillay said in a statement.
But many commentators suspect international diplomacy will take a backseat while the increasingly polarized Hamas and Israeli sides refuse to relent.
Mr Obama also
“expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasised the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm“.
Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators turned out on the streets of London, Paris, and Oslo on Friday to call for an end to Israeli military strikes on Gaza.
Protests against Israeli Strikes
Several thousand people crowded the streets outside the Israeli Embassy in west London, waving placards that read “Gaza: End the Siege” and “Freedom for Palestine.”
Norwegian news website The Local reported that some 3,000 protestors gathered in front of the Norwegian parliament in Oslo calling for the end of violence in the region. The event was organized by the Palestine Committee of Norway and other organizations.
In London, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier he supported Israel in the face of attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians.