Passenger chaos as rockets fire at Israel airport
WARNING – DISTRESS IMAGES: The death toll is rising as the fighting escalates in a decades-long conflict in the Middle East, which threatens to further destabilize the region.
Hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militant groups erupted on Tuesday (local time), pushing the death toll in two days to 32 Palestinians, including 10 children, according to the health ministry, while around 200 were injured.
Meanwhile, three women in Israel were reportedly killed by rocket fire and dozens injured.
Israel carried out several airstrikes in Gaza, an autonomous Palestinian territory, which saw a 13-story residential building collapse after being hit by an Israeli airstrike, one of hundreds that Israel said it carried out against targets of the militant group Hamas. .
Hamas repeatedly fired missile bursts at Tel Aviv as Palestinian rockets rained almost continuously on parts of the country on Tuesday evening (local time), the Associated Press reported.
As sirens sounded across Israel, images of those on the ground showed the destruction caused by the bombing.
On social media, footage from Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport showed panicked travelers rushing through terminals, apparently out of fear of a rocket hit as sirens sounded in the background.
Air traffic to and from Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport has been suspended, with flights being hijacked, after rockets were seen intercepted in nearby airspace.
“During the massive rocket fire … the flights were stopped to protect the skies of the country,” air authorities spokesman Ofer Lefler told AFP.
Countries heading for ‘full-scale war’
It’s the most intense fight between the two bitter enemies since 2014, with international observers warning that it shows no signs of slowing down.
The UN envoy for peace in the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, has warned that Israel and Hamas are heading towards “full scale war”.
“Stop the fire immediately. We are heading for full-scale war. Leaders on all sides must take responsibility for de-escalation,” he tweeted on Wednesday morning.
“The cost of the war in Gaza is devastating and is paid by ordinary people.”
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Wednesday said the government was “deeply concerned about the violence in East Jerusalem” and called on the leaders to restore calm.
“All parties must focus on returning to genuine peace negotiations to define a just, lasting and resilient peace agreement,” she said.
Israeli PM: “This campaign will take time”
In another sign of growing unrest, protests erupted in Arab communities across Israel, where protesters torched dozens of vehicles during clashes with police. Israel has declared a state of emergency to help police deal with the riots.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas is the most intense since a 50-day war in the summer of 2014. In just over 24 hours, the current wave of violence, sparked by religious tensions in the disputed city of Jerusalem, looked like more and more to this devastating war. .
In a nationally televised speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas and the smaller militant Islamic Jihad groups “have paid, and I tell you here, will pay a heavy price for their aggression.”
He claimed that Israel had killed dozens of militants and inflicted heavy damage on hundreds of targets.
“This campaign will take time,” he said.
“With determination, unity and strength, we will restore the security of the citizens of Israel.”
In a televised speech, exiled Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Israel was responsible for the violent unrest that had escalated.
“It was the Israeli occupation that set Jerusalem on fire and the flames reached Gaza,” he said.
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