The Israel Defense Forces announced the beginning of attacks on the Gaza Strip, not only from the air, but also from the ground. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the operation will continue until peace and security are restored in the country.
"IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking the Gaza Strip," the IDF said on Twitter.
IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking the Gaza Strip.- Israel Defense Forces (@IdfRussian) May 13, 2021
Meanwhile, The Times of Israel notes that tank attacks cannot be considered the beginning of Israel's ground operation in the Gaza Strip. The IDF itself later also emphasized that military equipment and soldiers did not cross the border. The publication explains that some of the language used by representatives of the Israel Defense Forces misled the Western media, which reported the start of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.
According to Israel News, the IDF began artillery fire on targets in the Gaza Strip. The matter has not yet reached the ground operation, but the command is sending signals that this is possible. This is not the first time Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the operation will take a long time.
Heavy rocket attacks continued in Israel that night in the south and center of the country. In Beer Sheva, two houses were damaged; in Ashkelon, a man was seriously wounded by a shrapnel in the stomach. The 50-year-old victim was taken to hospital in critical condition. Another man. 90 years old, was injured while rushing to the shelter. In Moshav Shtulim, a 87-year-old woman was injured, she later died.
A meeting of the UN Security Council dedicated to the settlement of the Middle East conflict is scheduled for Sunday, May 16.
The situation escalated after the Israeli authorities showed their intention to forcibly evict several Palestinian families from East Jerusalem. Riots broke out there, in which hundreds of Palestinians were injured.
The last Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip was carried out in the summer of 2014. It was named "Unbreakable Rock". Air and artillery attacks on Gaza began on 7 July. The troops entered the gas only two weeks later. Their main task was to destroy the tunnels dug by Palestinian militants. The operation ended on 26 August with an agreement on an indefinite ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. During the hostilities, the militants fired more than four thousand rockets from the Gaza Strip. According to the UN, 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed during the operation, one third of whom were children. Six civilians were killed in Israel, about 1.6 thousand people were injured. In the Gaza Strip, over 60,000 residential buildings and more than 5,000 businesses and commercial establishments were destroyed or damaged.