Speed Reads

Israel and Palestine

'Major military escalation' in Gaza Strip expected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he has ordered "massive strikes" in the Gaza Strip following the escalation of tensions between Israel and Hamas over the last two days. The violence resulted in the deaths of nine Palestinians and three Israelis. Five more Palestinians and three Israelis were killed on Sunday.

In addition to the increased number of strikes, Netanyahu also instructed Israeli forces stationed around the Gaza Strip to "be stepped up with" enhanced tank, artillery, and infantry forces, saying that Hamas is "paying a heavy price" for its own strikes against Israel. Israel's military said Hamas fired more than 450 rockets into southern Israel, many of which were intercepted by Israel's missile defense system, the Iron Dome. Israel said it has hit 220 targets belonging to militant groups in Gaza.

Hamas, in turn, vowed to "extend its response," especially if Israel acts with aggression.

Al Jazeera writes that this could lead to a potentially "dangerous and long, major military escalation." Senior defense sources reportedly said they expect the fighting to last several days.