In a dramatic escalation of tensions in the Middle East, the skies above Israel became a canvas of fear and retaliation as rockets soared across from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.
Rockets Rain Down on Israeli Soil
Late Sunday evening, the serenity of Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas was shattered as sirens blared, signaling the arrival of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israeli police, this aggressive strike prompted hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in bomb shelters, marking a significant intensification in the conflict. The "Yedioth Ahronoth" newspaper detailed one such incident where a rocket landed in an open area within the town of Rishon Lezion, dangerously close to the bustling city of Tel Aviv.
The incident did not stand alone; as residential areas braced for impact, the Al-Qassam Brigades — the military wing of Hamas — claimed responsibility, asserting that the barrage was in response to what they termed "the bombing of civilians in the Gaza Strip."
A Barrage from the North
Compounding Israel's security concerns, the northern front was also compromised.
Israel's Channel 12 reported distressing scenes from Kiryat Shmona, where a home was left in ruins, the aftermath of a missile fired from southern Lebanon. This attack, involving at least 10 missiles targeting northern settlements, was claimed by Hezbollah, who stated it was a reprisal for the deaths of civilians in southern Lebanon, including three children and a woman.
As the night unfolded, the Israeli army announced a severe response, stating that the Gaza Strip had been effectively severed into two segments, north and south. This military strategy has been seen as a bid to weaken Hamas' operational capabilities.
However, Hamas representatives have accused Israel of conducting intensive bombings near hospitals in Gaza after disrupting telecommunication networks. They vehemently denied Israeli accusations of hospitals being used as shields for military activities.
Amidst this barrage of fire and fury, the telecommunications situation in Gaza has deteriorated sharply. Paltel, the telecommunications company, lamented that for the third time since October 7, the Gaza Strip was left without internet and phone services, attributing the blackout to Israel's shutdown of servers.
The Palestinian Journalists' Union expressed grave concerns over what they perceive as preparations for "widespread atrocities" by Israel, citing the enforced silence of Gaza's internet and phone lines as a harrowing prelude.