Israeli Airstrike Kills Head of Hamas Aerial Operations

Israeli Airstrike Kills Head of Hamas Aerial Operations

Israel’s Targeted Airstrikes:

Israel has killed a key Hamas commander as the death toll from airstrikes on Gaza topped 2,200 – with tanks now massing on the border in preparation for a full-scale ground invasion.

Murad Abu Murad, the head of the terror group’s aerial operations, was killed over the past day when fighter jets struck an operational center, the Israeli military said today.

Mass Evacuation Orders:

Israel yesterday gave 1.1 million civilians just 24 hours to escape to the south of the territory, a deadline that ended today at 2 am GMT.

The UN has asked it to be revoked, saying it was impossible without ‘devastating humanitarian consequences’. Families in cars, trucks, and donkey carts packed with their possessions crowded a main road heading southward from Gaza City. Hamas claims 70 people were killed when airstrikes struck a convoy of cars.

Israeli Military’s Ultimatum:

Israeli military drones dropped flyers yesterday demanding that all Palestinians, including those critically ill in hospital, evacuate the northern half of the strip or risk being caught in a military escalation.

It said today that Gazans could flee safely via two main roads between 10 am and 4 pm.

The IDF then launched its first ‘localised’ raids into the territory, deploying columns of Merkava main battle tanks alongside elite troops to track down hostages and ‘cleanse the area of terrorists and weaponry’.

Netanyahu’s Warning:

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the country would ‘never forget’ last Saturday’s terrorist massacres by Hamas and warned ‘this is just the beginning’.

International Repercussions:

An Israeli drone killed a number of militants who tried to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon, the Israeli army said today.

The army said it was ‘very sorry’ for the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, who was killed in Lebanon during Israeli shelling.

Humanitarian Crisis:

At least 2,215 people have been killed by airstrikes on Gaza so far, with another 8,714 wounded.

Horrific scenes of babies and families being massacred are continuing to emerge as Israel continues a relentless assault on the Gaza Strip.

The UN says 1,300 buildings in the territory have been destroyed.

Complications and Criticisms:

Israel was accused of breaking international law over the sudden order to leave, with aid agencies and the UN warning such an unprecedented evacuation was impossible.

US President Joe Biden urged Israel not to ‘lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas and Hamas’ appalling attacks’.

Rishi Sunak said Israel had ‘every right to defend itself’, but stressed that civilian safety must be ‘paramount in our minds’.

Meanwhile, Tory MP Crispin Blunt warned the UK could be complicit in war crimes in Gaza and could face legal action if it does not do more to ‘restrain’ Israel.

Global Concerns:

It comes as: Iran told Israel ‘new fronts’ would open up if it continued ‘war crimes’ in Gaza, while Jordan warned more displacement of Palestinians risked a ‘wider conflict’; Hamas claimed 13 hostages were killed in Israeli airstrikes, including foreign nationals – a claim denied by Israel;

The IDF today denied reports it had retrieved the bodies of hostages from Gaza; Israel said it was ‘very worry’ for the death of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah, who was killed yesterday during an airstrike in Lebanon;

Country was accused by Human Rights Watch of using white phosphorus weapons; Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said it was ‘very likely’ British nationals were among the hostages;

Police in the UK are on high alert over fears of a domestic terror attack, with the threat level still at ‘substantial’.

Plea for Help:

Relatives of Israelis abducted during Hamas militants’ attack last weekend pleaded at the UN on Friday for the world’s help getting their loved ones home.

Tensions Escalate:

Yesterday there were clashes and panic across the region ahead of the possible full-scale offensive. In the West Bank, 11 people were killed in uprisings on a ‘day of rage’ called by Hamas leaders.

Residents in scores of Israeli towns and cities were repeatedly ordered into bunkers as the terrorists blasted rockets across the border.

Regional Escalation:

In the north of the country, Iran-backed Hezbollah sent missiles into the Israeli border town of Hanita, forcing Israel to respond by firing into Lebanon.

Senior EU officials and Israeli president Isaac Herzog were forced to seek cover in protected shelters as air-raid sirens sounded across Tel Aviv. Suspected Hamas terrorists are still being found in Israel.

Humanitarian Crisis Deepens:

Both the United Nations and the World Health Organisation have urgently called on Israel to revoke the evacuation order, saying it will result in a humanitarian disaster whether people can flee or not.

International Appeals:

US President Joe Biden, who has repeatedly given staunch support for Israel, said that addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was a ‘priority’.

Riyadh ‘affirms its categorical rejection of calls for the forced displacement of the Palestinian people from Gaza, and its condemnation of the continued targeting of defenseless civilians there,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Archbishop’s Plea:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also appealed yesterday for the creation of a humanitarian corridor and convoy in Gaza where more than two million civilians, half of them children, were facing a catastrophe.

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