The ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has recently increased the death toll to 26 people, including three children and a woman. That is in addition to 70 others, including 30 children and 13 women, that were killed in some of the heaviest fighting in months that has resulted in large-scale shelling and more than 250 rockets fired from the Strip.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday November 13th that "Fourteen martyrs have risen since dawn (Wednesday). Ten martyrs were raised on the first day (Tuesday) of the aggression on Gaza."
After a brief lull overnight, violence resumed on Wednesday morning as an armed Palestinian faction called Islamic Jihad launched more attacks and Israel vowed to retaliate with a number of attacks. The exchange began after Israel carried out two assassination attempts on Tuesday, killing a faction's leader in a raid in Gaza.
“Our jihad is ongoing and our operations are continuing,” Islamic Jihad's armed wing said in a statement. It promised to avenge one of their senior leaders, who was killed with his wife on Tuesday while they slept at home, The Guardian reported.
The faction claimed that at least four of the dead were told by the Gaza-based Health Ministry to be their fighters, and that three others belonged to a smaller armed faction.
In a separate development in Damascus, Syrian state media reported that an Israeli air strike targeted the home of another senior leader in the Mezzeh area, killing his son and another person. Israel has not commented on the strike, AFP reported.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in a statement at the start of a cabinet meeting that his country would continue to bomb Palestinian factions. "So, they have one option: either stop attacks, or suffer more strikes. This is their choice. "
“Either stop these attacks or absorb more and more blows,” Netanyahu said. Naftali Bennett, the new hard-line nationalist defence minister, also threatened action. “Anyone who plans to attack us in the day will never be sure to make it through the night. You were and will remain in the crosshairs,” The Guardian reported.
According to The Guardian, sirens sounded in several Israeli cities, and many people were injured by rocket debris. The Israeli army alleged that the vast majority of missiles on track to hit populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system. In Gaza, schools and government offices were closed due to the bombing.
Condemnation and Calls for Calm
A spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, stressed the need to immediately stop the Israeli escalation against the Palestinian people. He said that President Mahmoud Abbas is making intensive efforts to prevent the dangerous Israeli escalation and avoid its repercussions, Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported.
The spokesperson called on the international community, especially the United Nations, to "immediately intervene to pressure Israel to stop its continued aggression against our people, and to respect the law and international legitimacy, which affirm the need to provide international protection for the Palestinian people."
Abu Rudeineh warned against the escalation, stressing that the region is in a state of tension and instability, and "this aggression is aimed at harming the interests of our Palestinian people."
On the international level, The Arab League condemned the Israeli aggression and called for urgent and effective international intervention to stop the Israeli attack and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.
The European Union also called on Israel to stop the escalation "quickly and completely… in order to preserve the lives and safety of Israeli and Palestinian civilians."
Germany condemned the Israeli bombing and called for defusing tensions, saying there was no justification for violence against innocent civilians. "We condemn this rocket fire in the strongest terms. We call for restraint and an end to violence. We strongly support the efforts of Egypt and the United Nations to mediate," the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
As part of Egypt's efforts to reduce tensions in the Gaza Strip, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, arrived in Cairo on Wednesday on an urgent two-day visit to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip.
According to AP, Mladenov said that negotiators are "working to urgently de-escalate" fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
He added in a statement on Wednesday during the trip to Cairo that he was "very concerned about the ongoing and serious escalation” of hostilities.
Mladenov was scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as part of efforts to broker a ceasefire.
Furthermore, the recent clashes ended a months-long Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and some armed Palestinian factions.