Mint Press News – by Jon Queally
Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza “dramatically escalated” overnight as hundreds of missiles bombed the civilian population living in the walled-off territory.
According to the Ma’an new agency’s latest reporting, the airstrikes “killed 30 Palestinians overnight Wednesday and Thursday, including a family of eight, bringing the total death toll [this week] to 81.”
Updating their tracking of the number of children killed during the assault, Defense of Children International-Palestine reports on Thursday that a “total of 14 Palestinian children, including four toddlers, have died in airstrikes since Israel launched a major military offensive on the Gaza Strip Tuesday.”
Israeli officials, however, indicated the assault was “going according to plan” and would continue.
“The military’s successes so far have been very significant,” said Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Thursday. “We will continue until [people living in Gaza] understand that this escalation is not beneficial to them and that we will not tolerate rocket fire toward our towns and citizens.”
Critics of Israel’s widescale assault—which is using warplanes, naval ships, aerial drones, and ground forces lined up on the border—say the operation, like others before it, is clearly disproportionate.
Mohammad Momani, a spokesperson for the government of Jordan—which maintains a peace agreement with Israel—described the behavior of the Israeli military as “barbaric aggression” that would have “negative repercussions on the Gaza Strip and the whole region.”
Momani condemned “the military aggression that Israel has launched in the Gaza Strip” and said Jordan is calling for “its immediate halt.”
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, ahead of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday warned that “Gaza is on a knife edge.”
“The deteriorating situation is leading to a downward spiral which could quickly get beyond anyone’s control,” he continued. “The risk of violence expanding further still is real. Gaza, and the region as a whole, cannot afford another full-blown war.”
Developments about the ongoing attack on Gaza are trending on Twitter under the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack
Documenting just some of the Gaza civilians killed in the most recent bombings, Ma’an reports:
Early Thursday, Israeli warplanes targeted a building in Khan Younis, killing eight members of the al-Hajj family. Over 30 people were injured in the strike.
Most of the victims were children, al-Qidra said, adding that Israeli forces bombed the building without a warning or asking them to evacuate.
Tariq al-Hajj, Najla al-Hajj, Aminah al-Hajj, Saad al-Hajj, Omar al-Hajj, Aminah al-Hajj, and Basimah al-Hajj, 57, were named as the victims.
Earlier, nine Palestinians were killed and at least 10 injured when Israel targeted Waqt al-Marah coffee shop on a Khan Younis beach.
Locals said dozens of people were watching the World Cup semi-final game when Israel fired a missile at the crowd.
Muhammad Khalid Qannan, his brother Ibrahim, Hamdi Kamil Sawali, Suleiman al-Astal, Ahmad al-Astal, Mousa al-Astal and Muhammad al-Aqqad were identified as some of the victims.
Muhammad Ihsan Farawneh, 18, was found dead on Thursday under the rubble of the cafe.
Another airstrike in the al-Zawayda village in central Gaza killed four members of the Shalat family; a couple and two children.