On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes continued to bomb Gaza, and rocket fire into Israel resumed after a brief lull, as Palestinian protesters took to the streets in cities across the West Bank and elsewhere.
On Tuesday, thousands gathered in various West Bank towns, including Ramallah and Hebron, after a number of Palestinian groups, including Hamas militants in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, called for mass strikes.
“The priority for the Palestinian political leadership right now is for Israel to stop its crimes and massacres against our people in Gaza,” Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee in Ramallah, told CNN on Tuesday.
According to an Israeli security source, Israel imposed a partial closure on the West Bank on Tuesday, allowing only men over the age of 45 and Palestinian construction workers with work permits to enter Israel.
Israeli airstrikes continued into Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces said warplanes attacked nine rocket launch sites in Gaza, as well as a tunnel system in northern Gaza, several Hamas commanders’ homes, and an anti-tank squad in Gaza City.
The current round of violence has killed 217 people, including 63 children, and injured 1,500 others, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 58,000 people are considered internally displaced, with many of them seeking refuge in dozens of schools.
Israel briefly allowed trucks carrying international aid into Gaza for the first time since the conflict began last week, but Israeli authorities halted the entry of aid trucks in response to mortar fire at two border crossings.
The militants’ rockets had provided a brief respite in southern Israel on Monday night and early Tuesday morning. The Israel Defense Forces did not report any warning sirens overnight, marking the first time in a week that Israel went a night without receiving rocket fire from Gaza.
Later Tuesday, the attacks resumed, with one mortar killing two civilians at an agricultural packaging factory on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, bringing the total number of dead in Israel to 12 since the violence began just over a week ago. Sirens also wailed in Ashkelon and other towns on Tuesday, sending residents fleeing to shelters once more.
Now in its second week, this is the bloodiest Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the two sides went to war in 2014.
Following a visit to the Israeli air force base at Hatzerim on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that operations would continue “as long as it is necessary to restore peace to the citizens of Israel.”
“I do not doubt that we took them back many years,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israel’s attacks on Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“I’m sure all our enemies see what we’re charging for their aggression against us, and I’m sure they’ll learn the lesson as well,” he added.
The IDF destroyed an office building near Gaza around dawn. According to witnesses, the tower was warned ahead of time that it would be attacked, and there were no reports of casualties. Israel has not stated in response to the incident.
The destroyed building was one of several pieces of civilian infrastructure targeted by the IDF. Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of “deliberately” operating near buildings such as hospitals and schools, putting civilians at risk of becoming human shields.
Over the weekend, Israeli forces demolished a building that housed offices for international news outlets Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, claiming it housed Hamas military intelligence assets. That allegation has been refuted by Hamas.
Dozens of Israeli jets bombed more than 9 miles (14 km) of Hamas tunnel system in Gaza Sunday night into Monday morning, as well as 14 residences belonging to Palestinian militant group commanders, according to the Israeli military.
According to Hamas officials and video from the ground, an Israeli airstrike on a nearby target damaged a health clinic in Gaza City, blowing out its windows. The clinic was one of Gaza’s main coronavirus testing centres, according to the Ministry of Health.
The ministry previously warned that the destruction of medical facilities could result in an increase in Covid-19 cases because those fleeing to shelters would be “exposed to the spread of infectious diseases, particularly the danger of the spread of the coronavirus.”
According to an IDF spokesperson, the IDF targeted the main operations centre of Hamas internal security forces in the Rimal neighbourhood, which was close to the clinic.