Things were relatively quiet over the weekend between Israel and Gaza, and on Monday morning (Boston time), the news was all about the possibility of getting a ceasefire in place. John Kerry was just in the region, but apparently everybody’s angry at him. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground unraveled in pretty quick and horrific fashion today. Explosions in two Gaza City locations, one near the main hospital and another close to a refugee camp, killed several Palestinian kids and injured a number of people. Israeli officials swiftly issued statements denying responsibility, blaming “terrorists in Gaza” for firing rockets at Israel that fell short. Palestinians blamed Israel. You can find graphic pictures of dead and injured Palestinian children online, but I’m not going to post any here. The pace of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel picked up. And then came signs of more Israeli casualties. At least four people died in a mortar attack near the Israeli border with Gaza. Around mid-day, things started moving quickly toward broader escalation. Here’s a burst of events I pulled from Twitter, just to illustrate how fast and detailed the news from there plays out for all to see.
A minute or so later, warning sirens start go off in Israel.
Some real time analysis from a Reuters correspondent.
A quick public service announcement.
Sometimes, Palestinian militants launch multiple rockets simultaneously, presumably to increase the chances that one or more them might evade Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ anti-rocket missile system.
And this might be an indication of where that first rocket, seen by the journalist in Gaza, ended up.
Soon, the Israel Defense Forces issue a fresh warning to Palestinians in specific Gaza neighborhoods.
There are reports about a possible infiltration by Gaza militants into Israel.
The Israeli military steps up strikes inside Gaza, and they are reported by another correspondent reporting from inside in the territory.
These were some of the detailed events leading up to a televised announcement from Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He called for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and “neutralizing the tunnels, which have the sole purpose of destroying our citizens, killing our children.”
“We need to be prepared for a protracted campaign. We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished,” Netanyahu said.