Palestinian resistance fighters managed to break out of the fences separating Gaza and illegally occupied territories for the first time in years.
Qatar said it holds the Israeli occupation “solely” responsible for the ongoing flare up on Saturday, following the largest Palestinian military operation against Israel in years.
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry expressed “deep concern” on developments in Gaza and called on “all parties” to halt the escalations and “exercise utmost restraint”.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel alone responsible for the ongoing escalation due to its ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which is the repeated raids on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police,” the statement said.
Qatar also stressed the need for urgent international action “to oblige Israel to stop its blatant violations of international law”.
The Gulf state further urged the international community to force Israel “to prevent these events from being used as a pretext to ignite the fire of a new unequal war against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
Doha reiterated its unwavering stance on the Palestinian cause and its support for the rights of the Palestinian people as well as “the establishment of its independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Iconic Palestine operation
The statement on Saturday came hours after Hamas launched the largest Palestinian military operation on Israel in years, which saw resistance fighters infiltrate into occupied territories by air, land and sea. ences separating Gaza and illegally occupied territories.
Palestinian fighters were able to capture the city of Sderot near Gaza from Israeli forces.
‘Operation Al-Aqsa Storm’ was first announced in the early hours of Saturday by the commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades—Hamas’s armed wing—Mohammed Deif, who said Palestinian fighters managed to capture a number of Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF).
One of the members includes top Israeli Commander Nimrod Aloni.
“We have already warned the enemy before. The occupation committed hundreds of massacres against civilians. Hundreds of martyrs and wounded died this year due to the crimes of the occupation,” Deif said in a rare public statement.
He added: “We’ve decided to say enough is enough.”
Deif also confirmed the resistance group fired rockets that targeted “enemy positions, airports, and military fortifications” using more than 5,000 missiles and shells.
Footage shared online showed dozens of Israeli settlers running from occupied areas in a desperate attempt to flee to Ben Gurion airport.
The IOF separately confirmed that Palestinian resistance fighters captured more than 35 of its soldiers and declared “a state of war” on Gaza.
At least four Palestinians have been killed during the latest Israeli raid on the besieged Gaza Strip, as per a report by Palestine’s news agency (Wafa).
Home to more than two million Palestinians, Gaza has been under an illegal Israeli siege since 2007. On Saturday, footage shared online showed Gazans celebrating while driving captured Israeli vehicles.
The latest developments come following intensified Israeli attacks on Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza as well as the repeated storming of the holy Al-Aqsa mosque by settlers.
Last week, hundreds of settlers heavily protected by the IOF broke into the compounds of the Al Aqsa Mosque to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Such violations at Palestinian holy sites are frequent under Israel’s system of apartheid as well as its wider attempts at changing the status quo of holy Muslim and Christian places of worship by judaizing them.
Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in a bloody war in 1967, widely known as “the six-day war” or the Naksa, which translates to the “setback”.
Within six days, the Zionist state captured the majority of Palestine while forcibly displacing at least 300,000 Palestinians.
By 2005, Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza and imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on the city two years later, turning it into what has been widely described as the world’s “largest open-air prison”.