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Israel hits Gaza with fighters and tanks ahead of possible ground incursion: Palestinian population flees

2021-05-15T03:37:48.732Z

Israel brings the front lines closer to heavily populated civilian areas. Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss 05/14/2021 8:12 AM Clarín.com World Updated 05/14/2021 8:12 AM Israeli artillery attacked northern Gaza early Friday in an attempt to destroy a vast network of tunnels used by Palestinian insurgents within the territory, the army said, bringing the front lines closer to densely populated civilian areas and raiding the on the way to a possible ground invasion. Pale



Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss

05/14/2021 8:12 AM

  • Clarín.com

  • World

Updated 05/14/2021 8:12 AM

Israeli artillery attacked northern Gaza early Friday in an attempt to destroy a vast

network of tunnels

used by Palestinian insurgents within the territory, the army said, bringing the front lines closer to

densely populated

civilian areas

and raiding the on the way to a possible

ground invasion.

Palestinian families took their children and belongings and fled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City.

They are Palestinians living outside of Gaza City, near the northern and eastern borders with Israel.

They fled the heavy artillery barrage and arrived at UN-run schools in

pickup trucks, donkeys and on foot,

carrying pillows and pans, blankets and bread.

Palestinian families took their children and belongings and fled neighborhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City.

Photo: dpa

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"We were planning to leave our homes at night, but Israeli planes bombed us, so we had to wait until morning," said Hedaia Maarouf, who fled with her extended family of 19 people, including 13 children.

"We were terrified for our children, who were screaming and shaking."

Tanks and soldiers on the border

Israel has amassed soldiers along the border and drafted 9,000 reservists after days of fighting with Hamas, the Islamic insurgent group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian insurgents have fired some 1,800 projectiles and Israel launched more than 600 airstrikes that brought down at least three apartment blocks.

The escalation in the confrontation coincided with

the fourth consecutive night

of community violence across the country, with clashes between Jewish and Arab mobs in the town of Lod, a hotspot.

The incidents occurred despite the increased police presence ordered by the government.

Total destruction

Masses of

red flames lit up the sky

as deafening explosions outside Gaza City woke residents.

Houses reduced to dust in Gaza.

Photo: Reuters

In the north of the Strip, Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and

their four children were killed

when an Israeli warplane reduced the building where they were to rubble.

Sadallah Tanani, a relative, said the family

was "removed

from the population register" without prior notice.

"This was a massacre. My feelings are indescribable."

The photos of the four dead boys wrapped in shrouds and surrounded by relatives without consolation must have been pixelated by

Clarín

due to their sensitive graphic content.

The four children of a Palestinian family annihilated in Gaza, after an Israeli bombardment.

Photo: AFP

Tanks

Israeli tanks stationed near the border fired 50 rounds, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus explained.

This was part of a larger operation that included air strikes and seeks to destroy the underground tunnels that insurgents use in the city to dodge Israeli surveillance and attacks, which the army refers to as "the subway."

"As always, the goal is to attack

military targets

and minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties," added Conricus.

"Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before attacking large buildings in Gaza, that

was not possible

this time."

The offensive came after Egyptian mediators traveled to Israel for ceasefire talks that

gave no indication of progress.

Saleh Aruri, a prominent exiled Hamas leader, told London-based Al Araby satellite television that his group rejected a proposal for

a three-hour hiatus

.

Israeli tanks stationed near the border fired 50 rounds.

Photo: EFE

Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations are leading efforts to reach a truce, he added.

The origin

The conflict erupted Monday night when Hamas launched a long-range missile into Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests in the holy city against police surveillance at a holy site and efforts by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of families from their houses in the east of the city.

Since then, Israel has attacked hundreds of targets in the Strip, causing large numbers of explosions that have shaken the densely populated territory.

Gaza militants have fired

1,800 missiles into Israel,

including more than 400 that failed to cross the border.

The projectiles have paralyzed life in the south of the country and several rounds were aimed at the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, located about 70 kilometers (45 miles) away.

Gaza's Health Ministry on Friday raised the death toll to 119 people,

including 31 children

and 19 women, with 830 injured.

Extremist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, although Israel says that number is much higher.

Seven people have died in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

promised to go ahead

with the operation.

In a video message, he said his country "will charge Hamas a very high price."

The authors are journalists from the Associated Press.

Akram reported from Gaza and Krauss from Jerusalem.

ap


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Source: clarin

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