Israel-Gaza tensions heightened after back and forth missile attacks

World Today

A ball of fire lights the sky above a building believed to house the offices of Hamas chief in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, during Israeli strikes on the Gaza City, on March 25, 2019. – Israel’s military launched strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip today, the army and witnesses said, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit a house and wounded seven Israelis. (Photo by Mahmud Hams / AFP)

All is quiet for now between Israel and Gaza after Hamas claimed Egypt brokered a ceasefire.

Earlier Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to the U.S., after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a house north of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Israel was quick to retaliate with airstrikes targeting Hamas, who responded with more rockets.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

Early Monday, a long-range rocket hit a house north of Tel Aviv, wounding seven Israelis. The Israeli military said Hamas fired the rocket from Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a U.S. visit, vowing a forceful response.

“Israel will not tolerate this. I will not tolerate this. As we speak, Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression. I have a simple message for Israel’s enemies. We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our state. After this meeting, I will return home ahead of schedule to lead the people of Israel and the soldiers of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

By Monday evening, Israel was launching air strikes on what it said were Hamas terrorist targets in Gaza and moving troops and equipment toward the border.

This came after a year of escalating tensions in Gaza with sporadic missile launches into Israel and mass demonstrations protesting poor living conditions. More than 200 Palestinians have died in the protests. Hamas leaders are reportedly in hiding.

At the White House Monday, Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli control of the Golan Heights- reversing long-standing U.S. policy. Israel captured the land from Syria in the Six-Day War in 1967. The U.N. considers it occupied Syrian territory.

“Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria including Hezbollah continue to make the Golan Height a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel,” U.S. President Donald Trump said.

The declaration will likely be seen as a political victory for Netanyahu, who faces a tough election in two weeks.

Avi Bell discusses Monday’s violence in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with law professor Avi Bell about Monday’s escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel.