Israeli warplanes launched several raids targeting Palestinian sites in the south of Gaza City and central Gaza Strip, amid tensions due to the storming of Israeli police and groups of extremist settlers, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
The Israeli raids caused material damage to two targeted sites, but no injuries were reported. Eyewitnesses reported that material damage occurred to a number of houses surrounding one of the targeted sites in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported among the residents.
Israeli army vehicles also fired at a number of monitoring points belonging to the Palestinian factions, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp and the town of Khuza’a, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that rockets were fired from Gaza in response to the Israeli raids on the sites of the factions in the Strip.
The IDF spokesman said that Iron Dome intercepted 4 rockets fired from Gaza towards the cover area.
The Israeli army had said that a shell fired earlier from the northern Gaza Strip fell into the yard of a house in the city of Sderot, near the northern border with the Strip.
He added that the shell did not cause any casualties, noting that the sirens sounded in the area and in all the towns near the border, but the Iron Dome was not activated at the time.
For its part, the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas said that the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip will increase the resistance of the Palestinian people and their determination to continue the struggle against the occupation and to escalate its support for the people of Jerusalem, regardless of the sacrifices.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem stressed – in a press statement – that there is no room for the occupation army to win what he described as a battle of wills with the Palestinian people until their goals of liberation and return are achieved.
In a previous interview with Al-Jazeera, Qassem said that the Al-Qassam Brigades – the military wing of Hamas – is ready for military action if the Israeli escalation continues in Jerusalem. The spokesman referred to Hamas’ possession of anti-aircraft guns and to the contacts of foreign parties to curb the movement, he said.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also held the Israeli government responsible for the consequences of its military escalation against the Gaza Strip, and the Front said – in a statement – that the Palestinian people had made up their minds to curb the aggression and the projects of occupation and settlement by the resistance in all its forms and tools, according to the statement. The Front emphasized the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves and their rights.
The Islamic Jihad movement blamed the Israeli occupation for the escalation in the Gaza Strip, and said that the Palestinian resistance is in a permanent session to monitor the behavior of the occupation.
The Fatah movement also condemned the Israeli military escalation against the Gaza Strip, and the movement’s spokesman, Munther al-Hayek, considered – in a press statement – that the attack on civilians is a dangerous escalation aimed at diverting attention from the current events in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
march of flags
On the other hand, right-wing Jewish forces organized a march with flags in the Old City of Jerusalem, despite the decision of the occupation police not to secure it.
Israeli Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir participated in the march aimed at reaching the Damascus Gate. And the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, warned that Ben Gvir’s arrival at Bab al-Amud endangers Israeli security.
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid considered the march a horrific move by right-wing extremists who are trying to create violent provocations, according to him.
For the fourth day in a row, Israeli police and groups of extremist settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, on Wednesday morning.
The occupation forces evacuated the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the worshipers and the worshipers before groups of settlers stormed its courtyards, which lasted about 3 and a half hours before the settlers and the police forces withdrew from the blessed mosque.
During the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, limited clashes erupted between worshipers and the occupation police, who fired rubber bullets, and surrounded the rest of the worshipers inside the tribal prayer hall, as well as surrounded the women inside the Dome of the Rock.
In an attempt to reduce tension in Jerusalem, a delegation of US envoys headed by Assistant Foreign Minister Yael Lambert will begin talks with officials from the Palestinian and Israeli sides on Thursday.
Among the Israeli leaders who will be met by the American delegation, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Minister of Internal Security Omer Bar-Lev.
While the talks with the Palestinian side are scheduled to include Hussein al-Sheikh, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Majed Faraj, head of the General Intelligence Service.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country called on the international community to act in the face of the injustice suffered by the Palestinians. In a speech to his party’s deputies, he stressed the importance of the Jerusalem Center in this issue.
In another development, the Israeli army announced the imposition of a general closure on the West Bank and the crossings to the Gaza Strip, from Thursday evening until dawn Sunday.
The Israeli military said the general closure was a “preventive measure” for the last two days of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
In the midst of the current tensions, the Israeli army announced that it had detected, on Wednesday evening, a missile fired from the Gaza Strip and landed in an area adjacent to the border with the northern Gaza Strip.