Escalations in the Gaza Strip
On Saturday July 14th, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) launched its most severe airstrike campaign against the Gaza Strip since the war of 2014 (i.e. Operation Protective Edge) after militants allegedly fired over 200 rockets and other projectiles towards Israeli controlled areas. Sirens reportedly went off in southern parts of Israel, including Sha’ar HaNegev, Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol Regional Councils. As such, due to a high state of tensions, Israeli authorities closed public beaches and restricted gatherings of large groups in those areas.
Reports indicated that on July 14th, ISF warplanes carried out several strikes against 40 targets within the coastal enclave, supposedly ranging from training compounds to weapons factories and underground tunnels. This resulted in two Palestinian fatalities and dozens of injuries while three Israelis were lightly injured by a rocket that hit a residential home in Sderot. The next day, reports suggested that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with ISF, which temporarily prevented an escalation of violence.
However, on Sunday July 15th, it was unclear if the truce would hold as sirens kept going off in Israeli controlled areas as to warn against incoming rocket fire while, at the same time, two additional casualties were reported following an ISF strike on Gaza. Also, in a rare move, Hamas announced that it had itself fired a number of rockets in the aim to deter the Israeli government from taking any military actions in the Gaza Strip. However, as renewed hostilities emerge it seems that both sides to the conflict are drawing closer to a military confrontation.