Israel Attacks ‘Hamas Metro’

Overnight Thursday around 160 Israeli aircraft attacked a network of tunnels under Gaza City that some refer to as the ‘Hamas Metro’. That network is a “strategic asset” for Hamas enabling them to manufacture and move weapons out of sight of Israeli aircraft. In the largest Israeli strike since the outbreak of fighting on Monday, some 450 missiles were dropped on 150 targets in northern Gaza.

Airstrike on Hamas tunnels under Gaza CityIsraeli missile strikes on Gaza City, 13th May (photo AP/Khalil Hamra)

In addition to that airstrike, Israeli tanks, artillery and infantry on the Gaza border fired at Hamas terrorists who came out to attack Israeli targets. The terrorists were lured into the open by reports that Israeli ground forces had entered the Gaza Strip. The IDF’s spokesman said the whole operation was the result of large amounts of intelligence and careful planning.

More Rockets

The IDF also say that another 190 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel in a period of just 12 hours on Thursday, bringing the total to about 1,750 this week. Out of those, around 300 have landed inside the Gaza Strip, and in at least one case killed some children in a local school.

During one of Thursday’s rocket barrages, an 87-year-old Israeli woman died after falling whilst running to a bomb shelter near Ashdod, bringing the death toll in Israel to nine.

Meanwhile the IDF seems to be preparing for a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. On Thursday 7,000 reservists were called up, and on Thursday evening, Israel’s Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, authorised the call up of an additional 9,000 reservists in accordance with operational needs.

Continued Rioting

Rioting by Arabs and Jews continued on Thursday, leading to the arrest of more than 120 people. Indeed, community violence increased throughout the day, with at least three shootings in Lod, and an IDF soldier being severely injured by an Arab mob in Jaffa.

Videos from the mixed Arab-Jewish neighbourhood of Ramat Eshkol in Lod include the sound of gunfire, and at least one man was wounded.

International Concern

The conflict is clearly of concern to the international community. Norway, China and Tunisia have called for a third meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday 14th May but has been put back to Sunday 16th by the Americans who said “early next week” would be a better time for open discussion at the United Nations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Washington that the United States was not trying to torpedo the meeting altogether,

“We are open to and supportive of an open discussion at the United Nations."
“This [delay], I hope, will give some time for the diplomacy to have some effect."

It seems that the Americans are the only ones taking a stance of real solidarity with the Israel.