The assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari on Wednesday was the beginning of Israel’s military operation against the Gaza Strip. The operation, Pillar of Defense, was not a reaction to five days of military escalation on the Gaza border, but a premeditated offensive prepared several months ahead by the Israeli army and General Security Services (GSS) .
The Israeli offensive came despite signs that Egypt has managed to broker a truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions that would have ended a surge in violence over the past week.
During the week preceding the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, Israel’s air force attacked civilian facilities as well as several training sites of the Palestinian resistance. In addition, Israeli forces killed six Palestinian civilians, including three children, and two members of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip. That same week 53 civilians, including 12 children and 6 women, were wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza.
On November 8, Israeli forces killed a child during an incursion into ‘Abassan village, east of Kahn Yunis. At approximately 8am that day, Israeli forces moved east of the al-Qarara village, located northeast of Khan Yunis, leveling lands amidst indiscriminate shooting. The leveling operation moved southwards to the‘Abassan village a few hours later as Israeli soldiers continue to fire indiscriminately. An Israeli helicopter gunship, which assisted Israeli troops, also fired at the area.
At approximately 16:30, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting, 13-year-old Ahmed Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen when he was playing football with his friends in front of his house.
Mohammed Abu Daqqa, 14, who was playing with Ahmad, says that Ahmad was wearing sports clothes and he played as a goalkeeper. Mohammed adds that they felt safe despite the Israeli military incursion “because we were relatively far from the affected area.”
“At four thirty I saw a bullet hitting the door of Ahmed’s house. I soon saw Ahmed falling onto the ground. He then stood up, putting his hands on his abdomen and was screaming.”
Ahmed Abu Daqqa died as a consequence of his injuries as he was evacuated to hospital.
Palestinian mortar shells lightly injured an Israeli soldier along the border later in the day.
The next day, on November 9, Palestinians fire an anti-tank missile at an Israeli jeep on patrol along the Gaza border, wounding four soldiers. Immediately afterwards, tanks fired into the al-Shoja’iya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, killing five Palestinians, two of them children, and wounding 38. Palestinians later fire a number of Kassam rockets into southern Israel. One of the wounded died on November 13.
On November 11 2012, a member of the Palestinian resistance was killed in a drone attack. One civilian was wounded when Israeli forces fired artillery shells at Gaza International Airport, southeast of Rafah.
On November 13, 11 civilians, including five women and two children, were wounded when Israeli forces fired two artillery shells at Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis. One Palestinian combatant, a fighter with the Al Quds brigades, was killed in the northern Gaza Strip when an Israeli drone attacked a number of members of the al-Quds Brigades (the armed wing of Islamic Jihad) in the northern Gaza Strip.
Later in the day Egypt managed to mediate a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian factions, guaranteed by Hamas. Both sides conditioned their silence on the other side’s halting of attacks.
In the Gaza Strip Mohammed Jabari, Hamas military chief, instructed his troops to thwart attempts to fire missiles on Israeli territories.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warns of future strikes, saying “I am responsible for choosing the right time to exact the highest possible price – and so it will be.”
The next day, November 14 in the afternoon, Israel assassinates Mohammed Jabari, starting a major offensive on the Gaza Strip. Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Bara claims “Wednesday’s strikes mark the beginning, not the end, of military operations.”