Fighting between Israel and Palestine escalated for another day on Wednesday in what has been described as the heaviest conflict since the 2014 war in Gaza. More than six people were killed in Israel and 43 in the Gaza Strip in the most intensive aerial strikes seen for years. Desperate and increasingly concerned pleas have been echoed around the world from international leaders, countries and peace organisations.
Timeline of Israel-Gaza conflict
- The last few days have been very bloody and violent with Israelis and Palestinians fighting against one another.
- The violence was sparked by a years-long contention between Jewish and Arab people.
- The conflict all relates back to Israel’s half-century military occupation of the region which has led to the eviction of Palestinians.
- Here is a timeline of recent events:
- Ramadan begins in mid-April
- Clashes erupt on Friday, May 7, as Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to pray in honour of Ramadan
- Violence had broken out in the Holy City and occupied West Bank in the previous week
- Palestinians throw stones, bottles and fireworks at police who return fire with stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.
- More than 200 people are wounded, most of which are Palestinian worshippers, but also include police.
- On Saturday, May 8, prayers are held at Al-Aqsa mosque peacefully, but violence erupts in East Jerusalem.
- The Palestinian Red Crescent said around 120 Palestinians were wounded overnight, many of which were hit by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades.
- Israeli police say 17 officers were wounded.
- Several other countries have expressed “deep concern” over the violence.
- On Sunday evening, Israeli police faced off against mostly young Palestinians at several locations in East Jerusalem.
- A Supreme Court hearing on the eviction of Palestinians from the region was proposed by the justice ministry in light of “the circumstances” was scheduled for Monday – but it was postponed amid the violence.
- At least 395 Palestinians were wounded on Monday morning in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.
- There was a dramatic escalation of the conflict in the region after Hamas threatened escalation unless Israel pulled its security forces from the compound.
- More than 200 rockets are reportedly fired by Palestinian militants.
- Israel responds by launching 130 strikes at “military targets” in the Hamas-run enclave.
- Twenty-two Palestinians, including nine children, are killed in the exchange of fire.
- More rockets are launched from the coastal enclave on Tuesday.
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More than 1,000 rockets have now been fired between the two sides over the past 38 hours, according to recent reports.
Israel undertook deadly airstrikes leading to the dilapidation of two tower blocks in Gaza on Tuesday.
Residents of these tower blocks had been warned to evacuate earlier in the day, but the Palestinian Red Crescent claims many people died in the attacks.
One woman told Channel 11: “The children have escaped the coronavirus, and now a new trauma.”
On Wednesday morning, the Israel Defence Forces launched a fresh round of airstrikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza strip, destroying multiple police stations and residential blocks, including the Hamas police headquarters.
The bombardment has traumatised many living in the region, devastating the infrastructure and leading to plumes of smoke rising over the city.
Many people had to be rescued from the remains of smouldering buildings.
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According to the health ministry, the death toll in Gaza rose to 43 Palestinians, including at least 12 children and three women.
Almost 300 people were injured in the latest round of attacks, including at least 86 children and 39 women.
Five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, and dozens of other people were injured.
The Israel Defence Force said an anti-tank missile was fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory on Monday morning,
Haaretz reported one Israeli soldier was killed as the projectile hit a military vehicle, with two others injured in the assault.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the town of Lod, southeast of Tel Aviv, following what police called “wide-scale riots”.
He told reporters: “We are at the height of a weighty campaign.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid … and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence … their blood is forfeit.”
Several international communities and world leaders have appealed to Israel and Palestine forces to seek peace.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned leaders in Israel and Palestine to “step back from the brink”.
He called for restraint and said the UK is alarmed at the mounting toll of civilian casualties.
Mr Johnson said: “I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint.
“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.”
The UN Security Council is planning to hold a second closed emergency meeting in three days over the escalating violence.
Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private, said the UN’s most powerful body had not already issued a statement because of US concerns that it could make things worse.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed concern about escalating violence in the occupied West Bank and the possibility that war crimes are being committed there, the organisation’s prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said.
These comments came after a report from the Human Rights Watch published a report in late April equating the actions of Israeli forces against Palestinians to “apartheid”.