Israel Begins New Gaza Offensive

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GAZA — The Israeli military Monday night began striking the Gaza strip, hours after a Palestinian rocket hit Israeli capital Tel Aviv.

Palestinian militant group Hamas is accused of firing a rocket into Israel from Gaza early on Monday. The rocket hit a house in Moshav Mishmeret, near Tel Aviv, causing minor injuries to seven people. The Israel Defense Forces responded by immediately calling up “thousands” of reserves and mobilizing two armor and infantry brigades.

The attack prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short his trip to the US.

Netanyahu said that Israel “will respond forcefully” to the rocket fire and that he was returning “to manage our operations up close.”

Gaza nightline was lit with explosions but it was not clear how many people were killed.

The Israeli military has sent two infantry brigades and armored forces to Gaza border and is preparing to call up thousands of reservists, including some from the Air Defense Command, the Intelligence Corps and the Home Front Command, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said “any crossing of red lines would be met with a response,” and that this offensive must be faced with “a unified front.”

Islamic Jihad warned the “Zionist enemy against attacking the Strip,” saying they would “respond with force” to any attack. A statement on behalf of the armed groups in Gaza said that if Israel strikes the Strip, “all Israeli targets will be in the range of fire.”

Ashraf al-Qudrah, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said hospitals and medical points across the strip are ready and on high alert.

The health ministry has also called on residents to take precautions as Israel begins to launch strikes across Gaza.

US DECLARES GOLAN ISRAELI

 

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Meanwhile US President Trump on Monday formally recognised Israeli sovereignty over Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

The announcement came as Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House.

“This was a long time in the making. Should have taken place many decades ago,” Trump said as he signed the presidential proclamation on Monday.

The decree formalised Trump’s statement on March 21 saying it was time for the US “to fully recognise” Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.

He also declared that the relationship between the two nations has “never been stronger”.

Netanyahu heaped praise on Trump and declared that “this is truly an historic day”.

Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and then effectively annexed it in 1981, a move that was never recognised by the international community.


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