The Israeli military has launched a massive airstrike campaign on downtown Gaza City, hitting targets associated with the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that “we have only started,” and warned the people of Gaza to be on alert. The strikes come in response to hundreds of rockets fired towards Israel by Hamas and other armed groups.
The Israeli strikes have hit homes, offices, and facilities associated with Hamas, as well as other infrastructure. Palestinian officials say the death toll has risen to at least 32, with more than 150 injured. Many of those killed or injured were civilians.
Israel says its airstrikes are a response to indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel, but some critics say the military is using disproportionate force. Senior Palestinian officials have called on the UN and international community to intervene to stop the violence and protect innocent lives.
The strikes are threatening to plunge the region into a major new round of violence, and potentially destabilize the fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that has been in place since 2014.