Press TV: A smoke plume from a raging fire at a petrochemical depot billows at an oil storage facility hit by Hamas rockets the previous day, near the Rutenberg power station (unseen) in Ashkelon on May, in the south of the Israeli-occupied territories, May 12, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
A senior Hamas leader says the Gaza-based resistance movement has not yet used its “main assets” in its campaign against the Israeli regime’s acts of aggression targeting Palestinians in the occupied territories and Gaza, and that it is still using its old defense equipment only to “get rid of” them.
Hamas deputy leader, Saleh al-Arouri said that the rockets that have been fired by the group’s military wing — Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades — towards the Israeli-occupied territories are the old ones.
“We want to get rid of them (the old rockets). Qassam’s main assets have not been unveiled yet,” the Palestinian official said, in an indication that more surprises may yet be awaiting the Israeli enemy in the latest flare-up between the two sides.
Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories have been simmering with rage in the past weeks over the regime’s scheme to expel dozens of Palestinians from their homes in the volatile Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds as part of a long-running scheme to Judaize Palestinian lands.
The anger further intensified earlier this month with Israeli attacks on Palestinian worshipers in the al-Aqsa Mosque complex during the fasting days of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Amid the tension, Israel has launched yet another brutal aerial campaign against mainly civilian targets in Gaza. So far, at least 73 Palestinians, including women and children, have lost their lives and more than 480 others have been wounded as a result of Israel’s air raids.
The Israeli military has been under fire globally over its crimes against Palestinians, especially those residing in Gaza, which has already been under a crippling Israeli siege.
On social media, heart-wrenching photos and footage of the bloodbath in Gaza have been circulating under hashtags such as ‘Palestine under attack’ and ‘Gaza under attack,’ prompting anti-occupation users to renew solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian nation.
Meanwhile, the resistance movements in Gaza have not been sitting idly by in the wake of all the brutalities. Appearing noticeably stronger than before, the resistance fighters took Israel by surprise with massive barrages of rockets that they have fired toward many cities in the occupied territories over the past days.
Since Monday evening, Hamas has fired around 1,500 rockets from Gaza, according to the latest estimate by Israel’s army.
Israeli medical officials say seven people have been killed in the panic-stricken occupied lands, suggesting that the regime’s much-publicized “Iron Dome” missile system has miserably failed in the face of the massive rocket fire.
Hamas strikes the heart of Tel Aviv and fires rockets well beyond the city in response to the Israeli regime’s deadly aggression.
Elsewhere in his comments, the Hamas official said the enemy has failed in all of its plots to seize control of al-Quds, and that the issue revolving around the occupied city is at the top of the resistance’s priorities.
“The enemy should not imagine that the martyrdom of resistance commanders can weaken us. The path of resistance continues and it is getting stronger every day,” Arouri emphasized, referring to the martyrdom of two Hamas commanders in the Israeli raids on Tuesday.
More attacks await Israel if it keeps up aggression: Haniyeh
Meanwhile, the head of the political bureau of the Gaza-based Hamas movement has warned Israel that more retaliatory attacks await the Tel Aviv-occupied territories as long as the regime keeps up its aggression.
Speaking to the Doha-based Al Jazeera TV channel late on Wednesday, Ismail Haniyeh underlined the need for an immediate end to the Zionist regime’s aggression on the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Referring to the heavy rocket attacks by the Palestinian resistance factions on different parts of the occupied lands, he said, “The occupying regime saw something new from us, and if it wants to continue its raids, we will conduct more attacks.”
“Resistance responds to the crimes committed by the occupying regime in al-Quds, the Gaza Strip and everywhere,” he added.
Haniyeh also said the Zionist regime destroys residential towers and kills civilians in its airstrikes on Gaza.
Hamas officials discussed al-Quds with various parties in the region, who all agreed on the need to stop the Israeli measures, he noted, urging the US government to prove its neutrality in the issue of Palestine.
Hamas rockets hit heart of Tel Aviv, fly far beyond to Haifa, Nazareth
Hamas continues its resolute response to the Israeli regime’s unbridled and deadly aggression against the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian resistance movement is located, with rockets reportedly striking the heart of Tel Aviv and flying well beyond.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced starting a fresh round of retaliatory attacks in early Thursday, Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network reported.
The Brigades said the fresh reprisal was a response to the regime’s striking civilian structures in Gaza.
Three Israelis were injured while trying to escape into shelters after hearing the rocket sirens in Tel Aviv, where three buildings were also seriously damaged by the resistance’s projectiles, the network said.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, five Israelis were injured after a resistance rocket struck a building in Tel Aviv. Israeli media outlets said a great fire also erupted after the strike and the area’s power was cut.
The Israeli strikes began after Gaza rose in protest against the regime’s brutalities in the Tel Aviv-occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, especially the holy city of al-Quds.
Palestinian resistance movements then started retaliating by flying hundreds of rockets towards the occupied territories.
This was followed by even further escalation in the Israeli offensives. So far, a total of 67 Palestinians, including 17 children and six women, have been martyred in the Israeli assaults, and 388 others wounded in Gaza.
Israeli media outlets also verified that the Palestinian reprisal had set off rocket sirens throughout the central parts of Tel Aviv and the Ben Gurion International Airport in its outskirts. Israeli correspondents also reported hearing several explosions in the city’s suburbs, including at the airport itself.
Reports by some Arab media outlets said all flights destined for the airport had been redirected amid the situation, including one from Brussels that was loitering over Tel Aviv after failing to land at the terminal.
Unprecedented resistance achievement
According to various reports, for the first time during the resistance’s struggle against the Israeli occupation, the Palestinians’ rockets overflew well beyond Tel Aviv, reaching as far as the cities of Haifa and Nazareth that are situated in the north of the occupied territories.
Israeli journalists also reported that several buildings had been stricken in the city of Rishon LeZion in the north-central part of the occupied territories.
The head of the political bureau of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned Israel against escalating tensions in the besieged Gaza strip, saying the resistance front is ready for any scenario and remains steadfast in fighting crimes by the occupying regime.
The entire situation began after the regime started to prevent Muslims from gathering and performing their religious duties across the West Bank, especially in al-Quds, following the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
On one occasion, it assaulted thousands of Palestinians, who had gathered for prayers on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in al-Quds’ Old City. On another, Israeli forces attacked al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, trying to forcibly evict its residents.
So far, around four other Palestinians, including one child, have also died as a result of the regime’s atrocities across the West Bank.
US blocks anti-Israeli bid at UN despite spike in Palestinian toll
The US has, meanwhile, blocked a UN Security Council statement against the appalling spike in the Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
Up until Wednesday, the administration of United States President Joe Biden had been invited three times to negotiations, proposed by Norway and Tunisia, that could lead to the statement’s release. It turned down the offer in all the cases.
Washington has alleged that it was seeking to resolve the escalation through diplomatic intervention, claiming that such a statement could derail its efforts.
A potential statement on the part of the Security Council would ask Tel Aviv to halt its brutality against the two Palestinian territories.
The US’s non-cooperation with the bid came, although, Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the efforts that focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warned on Twitter, “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war.”
“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people,” he added. The regime has so far staged three wholesale wars against the coastal enclave, killing thousands of Gazans in each.
UNRWA alarmed at Israeli infanticide
The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the earlier killing of four children, two siblings and two cousins, during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza.
It said the victims were under the age of 12 and went to schools in the territory sponsored by the agency.
“Our hearts go out to their families and friends in communities that have been so cruelly affected by this latest escalation.”
Knesset, the Israeli parliament, has, nevertheless, greenlighted further intensification of the Gaza strikes.
The Israeli military has specified its most recent targets as “a number of strategically significant buildings belonging to Hamas,” including the movement’s naval units, its “main bank,” and “counterintelligence infrastructure.”
Russia asks Israel to respect al-Quds’ status quo
On Wednesday, Sergei Vershinin, a Russian deputy foreign minister, told the Israeli regime that the “status quo of sacred sites” in al-Quds had to be respected — a reference to Tel Aviv’s efforts to interfere with Muslims’ religious activities in the holy city, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
He also called on Tel Aviv to “immediately” stop all settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, apparently referring to Israel’s violations in Sheikh Jarrah.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov separately called for a quick meeting of the group known as the Middle East Quartet that gathers the United Nations, the European Union, and the US apart from Moscow, to help defuse the situation.
Lavrov said holding such meeting was “the most acute task now.”