Israel has bombarded downtown Gaza City and expanded a massive mobilization of reservists, vowing punishing retaliation against the Hamas militant group that increasingly left residents of the tiny Palestinian territory with nowhere to go
JERUSALEM — Israel bombarded downtown Gaza City on Tuesday and expanded a massive mobilization of reservists, vowing punishing retaliation against the Hamas militant group that increasingly left residents of the tiny Palestinian territory with nowhere to go.
Four days after Hamas militants stormed into Israel, bringing gunbattles to its streets for the first time in decades, Israel’s military said Tuesday morning that it had regained effective control over its south and the border.
The war has already claimed at least 1,600 hundred lives on both sides — and perhaps many hundreds more. Israel has also said that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza are also holding more than 150 soldiers and civilians hostage.
The conflict is only expected to escalate from here. Israel expanded the mobilization of reservists to 360,000 on Tuesday, according to the country’s media.And one major question is whether it will launch a ground offensive into Gaza — a tiny strip of land wedged among Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean that is home to 2.3 million people and has been governed by Hamas since 2007.
While U.N. agencies appealed for a humanitarian corridor to bring in food and medical supplies, the Israeli military said it struck hundreds of targets overnight in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, an upscale district that is home to ministries of the Hamas-run government, as well as universities, media organizations and the offices of aid organizations.
Palestinian Civil Defense forces pulled Abdullah Musleh out of his basement together with 30 others after their apartment building was flattened by the airstrikes.”I sell toys, not missiles,’’ the 46-year-old said, weeping. “I want to leave Gaza. Why do I have to stay here? I lost my home and my job.”