south front on gaza, continued

Israeli Military Raises Gaza To The Ground. Another Tower Fell
South Front, May 14 2021

The Israeli military counties to strike what it claims to be “legitimate military targets” in the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire. On May 14, Israeli warplanes wiped out another tower in Gaza city which used to host a branch of the Production Bank. In an attempt to justify the attack, the Israeli Air Force claimed that the bank was supporting Hamas.

No human losses were reported as a result of the attack. However, a nearby hospital sustained damaged, according to Palestinian sources. Since the outbreak of the battle on May 10, Israel has destroyed a number of towers in Gaza city in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate the locals and subdue Palestinian factions. The Production Bank was only one of many targets hit by Israeli warplanes on May 14. The other targets were allegedly rocket launchers and tunnels of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

The Israeli military’s Navy Special Forces also struck three posts of Hamas naval forces with what appears to be Spike NLOS stand-off missiles.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 122 people, including 31 children and 20 women, have been killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, so far. More than 900 others were injured. Despite Israel’s extensive strikes, Palestinian factions are still launching rockets and even drones from Gaza. So far, the Israeli military has failed to achieve its goals.

Israeli Military Killed Hezbollah Fighter On Separation Line With Lebanon
South Front, May 14 2021

Israel and Lebanon may be heading to a serious confrontation after the killing of a Lebanese citizen by the Israeli military. The victim, Mohamad al-Tahan from the southern Lebanese town of Aadloun, was protesting along with hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians against Israeli’s ongoing attack on the Gaza Strip on the separation line with Israel. According to Lebanese sources, the Israeli military opened fire at al-Tahan and his comrades when they attempted to cross the separation fence. Al-Tahan was badly injured. Within a few hours he was pronounced dead. In an official statement, Hezbollah confirmed that al-Tahan was a reserve fighter in his ranks. The group didn’t provide any further details. The incident may spark a serious military confrontation between Israel and Lebanon. In the past, Hezbollah responded to Israeli attacks on its personnel in Lebanon and Syria. Any move by the group could provoke a full-on Israeli offensive on Lebanon. A day earlier, three rockets were launched from southern Lebanon at Israel. Later, an alleged Israeli strike hit a vehicle moving weapons for Hezbollah inside Syria (below – RB). Hezbollah will likely act carefully due the fragile situation in Lebanon, where a major economic crisis plunged over half the population into poverty over the last year.

Gaza Conflict Spillover: Israeli Army Struck Syrian-Lebanese Border
South Front, May 14 2021

Early on May 14, an Israeli warplane targeted a vehicle near a Syrian town located next to the border with Lebanon, according to Lebanese and Israeli sources. The vehicle, a pickup, was targeted near the Syrian town of al-Juntliyah in western Homs. Israeli sources claimed that the vehicle was about to move a weapons shipment from the Syrian town, where Hezbollah is known to be present, to Lebanon. An explosion caused by the strike was reportedly heard by locals on the Lebanese side of the border. No human losses were reported. Some sources on social media claimed that the vehicle’s driver was warned by the Israeli military via a phone call before the strike. The Syrian Ministry of Defense and the state-run news agency have not commented on these reports, yet. Usually, Damascus acknowledges Israeli strikes. The Israeli military carried out similar strikes on the Syrian-Lebanese border before. However, the al-Juntilyah strike, if confirmed, would be a serious escalation as it came amid a heated battle in the Gaza Strip between Palestinian factions and the Israeli military. Prior to the alleged strike, three rockets were launched from southern Lebanon at Israel. The Israeli military said the rockets fell in sea without causing any damage. Hezbollah denied responsibility for the attack, which may have been carried out by local gunmen in support of Gaza. These developments, even if very minor, indicate that the ongoing battle in Gaza may spill over to Syria and Lebanon in a way or another.

Israel Initially Confirms, Then Denies Ground Troops Entered Gaza
South Front, May 14 2021

Beginning from the evening of May 13, there’s been conflicting reports of whether a ground invasion is going on in Gaza. Initially, the IOF have confirmed there are “troops on the ground.”

Then, it was denied that the troops were in Gaza, but rather simply along the border fence, carrying out strikes on various locations in the West Bank. Israeli army spokesman John Conricus said the country was “prepared … for various scenarios”, describing a ground offensive as “one scenario.”

The IOF is carrying out heavy airstrikes and artillery bombardment.

Essentially, IOF attempted to walk back on some initial statements, claiming they were mistranslated to the AFP, confirming that “ground troops” are now involved in operations at the border but that the “invasion” has yet to begin inside the Gaza Strip. The IOF’s “air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel ministry of military affairs tweeted late Thursday. Hamas had earlier warned Tel Aviv of a “heavy response” in case it launched such incursion following many days of airstrikes against the enclave. Gantz though sent 9k reservists to the border with Gaza in an “exceptional call-up,” the AP reported. It had earlier been reported that 5k reservists had been dispatched to the border area. It was not clear if there was any overlap between the two numbers. Amid Hamas’ warning, however, the IOF later denied having moved into Gaza. According to the Times of Israel, it said:

There are currently no IOF ground troops inside the Gaza strip. IOF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza strip.

So far, according to latest reports, at least 132 Palestinians, including 32 children, have been killed in the Israeli attacks (latest figures inserted from today’s Guardian story – RB). Many world leaders have condemned the violence and urged restraint, and a visit by Egyptian security officials was a significant development in international efforts to bring about a ceasefire. The officials have held separate meetings with Hamas and the Israelis, AP cited two Egyptian intelligence officials as saying. Israel rejects any ceasefire attempts and continues its offensive, possibly preparing a ground invasion. The UNSC will publicly discuss the worsening violence between Israel and Palestinian militants on Sunday, diplomats said after the US earlier objected to a meeting on Friday.

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