Today as thousands of people were ranting on social media about Lady Gaga’s ‘dazzling’ half-time performance at the Superbowl and the New England Patriot’s ‘thrilling victory’ over the Falcons, the Israeli army was launching airstrikes and tank shellings in one of the most densely populated places on earth – i.e. the Gaza Strip.
According to the AFP news agency, two Hamas outposts were targeted by Israeli tank fire as air strikes struck targets in northern Gaza. Later on in the day, Gaza City was hit by at least five airstrikes, while another strike hit the southern city of Khan Yunis.
The attacks are said to have injured at least three civilians in Gaza, according to Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry.
Hamas spokesman Abdulatif al-Qanou stated in a press statement that the movement holds Israel responsible for the current escalation taking place in the Gaza Strip,
“The occupation is trying to export its internal corruption crisis to the Gaza Strip. Therefore,” he said, “the role of the ‘Palestinian resistance’ is to defend our people from this aggression.”
Two days later, Palestinian civilians Hussam Hamid al-Sufi, aged 24, and Muhammad Anwar al-Aqraa, aged 38, were martyred during an airstrike in Rafah as five other civilians were injured.
The occupational army has claimed that these airstrikes were in response to an attempted rocket attack in the Ashkelon region in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, which failed to harm anyone.
The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has expressed concern that the Israeli military may be leading up to another wide-scale military offensive in Gaza.
During Israel’s last major offensive in the Gaza strip in 2014, known as Operation “Protective Edge,” over 2,100 Palestinian civilians were killed – at least 500 of those civilians were children, and nearly 300 were women. The Palestinian Ministry of Health states that 11,100 Palestinians were wounded, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women, and 410 elderly. Studies show that over 160,000 children are estimated to need continuous psychological support following the 2014 hostilities.