Yesterday marked a new level of escalation between the Hamas ruling party in Gaza and Israeli troops, as clashes spurred on by Palestinian rockets and Israeli air strikes intensified. The 10 day conflict has resulted in over a hundred deaths, 80% of which are Palestinian according to the United Nations.
The most recent violence came as retaliation for rockets fired by Hamas on the Tel Aviv region that wounded seven Israelis. Israel responded with an intense bombing campaign that destroyed tall buildings in Gaza including a complex that housed broadcasters such as al Jazeera and the Associated Press. In response, Hamas stepped up its firing of rockets into Israel, including a barrage of about 200 projectiles that hit dozens of cities and towns.
The situation in Gaza has been tense since Israel withdrew in 2005. Efforts to normalize relations between the conflicting sides have largely failed, with Palestinian militants firing rockets and Israel responding with air strikes. The current clashes mark a new level of intensity, as imports to the strip, including medicine and fuel, have been restricted due to the violence.
International assistance is mounting as the United Nations calls on all parties to cease hostilities, hoping to deescalate the situation. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the country is preparing to “intensify its attacks” if necessary. With both sides dug into the conflict and neither backing down, it is unclear how or when the violence will end.