Israel Strikes Hamas Targets in Lebanon and Gaza
Israel's military targeted sites in Lebanon and Gaza early Friday in response to rocket attacks attributed to the Islamist Hamas. Tensions have escalated due to recent police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Details of Israeli Strikes on Hamas Sites
Israel announced that its jets hit ten targets in Gaza, including tunnels and weapons manufacturing sites. Additionally, the military struck three Hamas infrastructure sites in southern Lebanon near the Rashidiyeh refugee camp.
Hamas Condemns Israeli Aggression
Hamas strongly condemned the Israeli strikes, blaming the "Zionist occupation" for the escalation and aggression against Gaza and warning of potential consequences for the region.
Rocket Attacks Prompt Israeli Response
The Israeli military's actions came after rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza targeted northern Israeli areas, with officials attributing responsibility to Hamas. The military reported 34 rockets launched from Lebanon, 25 of which were intercepted by air defense systems.
Tensions Rise Over Al-Aqsa Mosque Raids
The cross-border strikes occurred amid an escalating confrontation over Israeli police raids at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, coinciding with the Jewish Passover holiday.
Hezbollah's Possible Role in Rocket Attacks
While Israel blamed Hamas for the rocket attacks, security experts suggested that Hezbollah, the powerful Shi'ite group allied with Iran, must have permitted the strikes to occur.
UNIFIL Urges Parties to Halt Actions
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, called for all parties to cease their actions, warning that the situation risked further escalation.
U.S. Condemns Rocket Attacks, Supports Israel's Right to Defend
The U.S. State Department condemned rocket launches from Lebanon and Gaza, asserting Israel's right to defend itself while expressing concern over the scenes at the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Political and Security Complications for Netanyahu
The deteriorating security situation adds further challenges for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's religious-nationalist government, which is already facing mass protests over plans to curb the powers of the Supreme Court.
U.N. Security Council Holds Closed-Door Meeting
As fears of further escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence rise, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting to discuss the crisis. The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations emphasized the need for all parties to work to calm tensions.