Senior IDF Officer: We're Close to War in Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting at the Knesset

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting at the Knesset

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were mobilizing additional troops and aerial defense batteries after Hamas began shooting projectiles at Israeli civilians starting at 7:37PM on Wednesday evening and launched them consistently until early Thursday morning.

At least seven Israelis were injured by the rocket fire, including three in the border town of.

The military said it intercepted some 25 rockets, while most of the others landed in open areas.

On Thursday, the IDF destroyed a five-story building allegedly housing Hamas' internal security service and offices of the group's senior response to a rocket fired at Beersheba, almost 40km from the border with Gaza. Israeli media reported that army officials had later acknowledged a mistake had been made and the militants had not been firing at soldiers, though the military would not confirm that information to AFP. By early Thursday morning, the IDF said it struck more than 150 targets.

At least three Palestinians were reportedly killed by the strikes, including 23-year-old Inas Khamash, who was pregnant at the time, and her one-year-old daughter, Bayan Khamash.

The ministry reported another six other Palestinians were injured as a result of the IDF strikes.

It was not clear if the escalation, the latest in a series of intense exchanges of fire in recent months, would derail the indirect negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas terrorist rulers.

According to eyewitnesses, at least 12 successive explosions were heard as Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza City, hitting a popular cultural centre. The UN has also urged both sides to come back from the brink. Following the barrages throughout the night, the IAF struck over 100 terror targets including a plant used to manufacture components intended for the construction of tunnels as well as a tunnel for maritime terrorism along Israel's coast.

A senior Israeli army official was quoted by Haaretz as saying that Israel was getting closer to a military campaign in the Gaza Strip. A volley launched against the city of Sderot caused injuries to three Israelis.

The western media coverage on Palestine and Israel has been a point of contention for years now especially in the United Kingdom, with many media outlets accused of being biased toward Israel, including the BBC and their failure to report the Palestinian side of the struggle.

The last four months have seen an upsurge in violence along the Gaza-Israel border. He said, "Hamas is moving away from an arrangement to calm things down and is moving near to a war in which it would be hit hard". According to reports, it would be the relative of a senior Hamas commander.

The flare-up comes as Egypt is trying to broker a long-term ceasefire between the two sides.

Hamas warned Israel it would pay for Tuesday's attack.

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

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