Gaza Neighborhood Turned To Rubble, Rockets Rain On Tel Aviv (Updated)

As the war enters its fourth day, the casualties are mounting with Israel bombarding Gaza and Hamas firing rockets at Israeli cities.

byHoward Altman|
Rimal, a fashionable neighborhood in Gaza City, was flattened by Israeli bombardment.
(Photo by BELAL AL SABBAGH/AFP via Getty Images)
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The tony Rimal district of Gaza City, an important gathering spot for Hamas leaders, has been reduced to rubble by Israeli air strikes while the sleek city of Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport came under a large-scale Hamas rocket barrage on Tuesday.

“The main strike conducted last night targeted the Rimal area in Gaza,” Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said in a briefing on Tuesday. “The area is a symbol of luxury in the center of Gaza and has very significant meaning to senior Hamas leaders and operatives.”

Hamas unleashed rockets north toward Israel’s metropolitan center on the Mediterranean. They also claimed an attack on the airport, though it is unclear how much, if any damage was inflicted in either case.

“Al-Qassam Brigades bomb Tel Aviv in response to targeting civilians,” Hamas said Tuesday on its Telegram channel. It offered the same message about the airport and promised to wipe out the coastal city of Ashkelon about seven miles north of the Gaza border.

"If the occupation does not stop the policy of displacing civilians, the Qassam Brigades will continue to demolish the city of Ashkelon until it is displaced, then it will move on to displace another city," Hamas vowed.

As this latest Israel-Hamas war careened into a fourth day, there were other strikes by both sides as Israel continued its preparations for a massive incursion into the densely populated Gaza Strip. To the north, the border area with Lebanon is once again a hotspot, sparking fears of a wider conflict with Hezbollah.

"In response to the launches identified from Lebanese territory toward Israeli territory, IDF soldiers are currently responding with artillery fire," the IDF reported on its Telegram channel shortly before 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. eastern).

Following the initial report regarding launches in northern Israel, "approximately 15 rockets were launched from Lebanese territory," the IDF said. "The IDF Aerial Defense Array successfully intercepted four rocket launches. 10 launches fell in open areas."

In response, "IDF tanks struck two observation posts belonging to the Hezbollah terrorist organization. The IDF is prepared for all scenarios in all arenas, and will continue to operate in order to protect the civilians of the State of Israel."

"Sirens sounded in the border communities of Metzuva, Betzet, Shlomi, Hanita, Achziv and Liman in the western Galilee area," the Jerusalem Post reported. "A rocket was reported to have fallen in Shlomi, but no injuries or damage were reported."

Today marked the third day in a row that there was an exchange of fire at the Israel-Lebanon border. Yesterday, after an incursion into Israel by a small group of militants, Israel responded with artillery and helicopter attacks. Hezbollah responded with a limited exchange of fire and later said four of its fighters were killed by Israeli shelling. You can read more about this in our initial reporting here.

On Sunday we told you that the Navy was sending the Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean in response to the Hamas attacks. Now it appears that the Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group may join it, according to The Wall Street Journal.

That would mark "an escalation of the U.S. military effort to deter regional powers from joining the war between Hamas and Israel," the publication reported.

The Eisenhower strike group was scheduled months ago to sail this week for the Middle East. They are expected to reach the Middle East in roughly two weeks, defense officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. last had two carriers in the region in 2020 after a deadly rocket attack on Camp Taji in Iraq killed two American troops and one British service member.

On the southern front, the IDF said it has "more or less" restored full control over the border fence with Gaza.

Israel has shifted “to a different counterattack method and is striking in waves,” Hagari said. “Tens of [Israeli Air Force] IAF aircraft have struck aerially every four hours over the past 36 hours. These strikes on thousands of terrorist targets using thousands of munitions. We are using every piece of intelligence to maximize damage to meeting spots for terrorists planning to invade Israel, houses belonging to senior Hamas commanders, terrorist operational centers and headquarters and terrorist infrastructure.”

After striking Rimal, the IDF “struck further targets in Khan Yunis, including terrorist intelligence infrastructure, apartments used for operational purposes and a spot where terrorists have been gathering before attacking Israeli territory,” Hagari said. “Hundreds of Hamas terrorist organization operatives have been neutralized during these strikes.”

The Israeli Navy is also engaging Hamas. 

“Terrorist operatives have attempted to dive, swim and utilize boats to attack through Israel’s Zikim Beach,” Hagari said. “They have failed. There are tens of neutralized Hamas terrorists from the Hamas’ naval force on the Beach or on boats.”

The Israeli Navy is also striking targets beyond the coastline with naval gunfire and Spike missiles, as seen in the video below.

Israel also bombed Gaza's Rafah border entry point into Egypt, one of the few ways in and out of the strip.

Though the IDF initially suggested that was one way for Gaza residents to escape the bombardment, Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, a spokesman, amended that.

As Israel pounds Gaza, the death toll is rising. The Palestinian Health Ministry on Tuesday said that 765 citizens have been killed and 4,000 others wounded.

The number of Israelis killed from the Hamas attack Saturday and ongoing bombardment is also increasing, with at least 900 Israelis, killed, most of them civilians. Another 2,600 were reported wounded, ABC News reported Tuesday

A report Monday by Israel's I24 News showed one of the most devastating results of the Hamas attacks, as Israeli authorities removed upwards of 200 bodies from a kibbutz near Kvar Aza in southern Israel.

Israeli soldiers at the scene reported that they found decapitated babies and families gunned down together.

Several refrigerator trucks were on hand to take the remains to take the bodies to a forensics institution for identification before the families are notified.

Israeli authorities got some good news about nearly three dozen people who had not been heard from since the initial Hamas attack.

Monday night at about 9 p.m. local time, Israeli authorities managed to locate and rescue 30 people considered missing at Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha in southern Israel, the IDF said Tuesday on its Telegram channel.

“...a distress call was received at the situation room regarding a group of missing civilians. The situation room verified the details of the incident, and using coordinates were able to locate the missing persons. At 9:52 p.m. IDF tactical squads arrived at the kibbutz and managed to rescue the 30 missing persons who were there,” the IDF reported.

Intense video emerged of Israeli soldiers being attacked by Hamas using a stolen bulldozer.

Yesterday we told you that the White House could not corroborate The Wall Street Journal claiming Iran "helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday."

Today, Amwaj Media says that Iran's Supreme Leader also denies his nation's involvement in the planning of that attack.

"Iran’s supreme leader has strongly rejected any involvement in the Hamas movement’s surprise attack on Israel. The public maneuvering, which involved Ayatollah Ali Khamenei strikingly repeating his rejection of an Iranian role three times in a 90-second span, follows controversial claims in US media that Tehran helped plan the Oct. 7 blitz."

New video emerged of Hamas fighters training to breach the fence surrounding Gaza. That included using explosives-filled tubes along the lines of the Bangalore torpedoes used as a breaching tool during the First and Second World Wars.

CNN reporter Clarissa Ward and her crew scrambled to seek cover from a Hamas rocket barrage while she was doing a live broadcast. The video below shows the challenges of reporting from this war zone.

Former head of Israel's Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency Ami Ayalon gave an exclusive interview to the French La Figaro newspaper, talking about the problems inside Israel's political, military and intelligence communities that allowed Hamas to carry out its attack.

"Q: Do you think the events of the weekend would have been avoided if the Palestinian question had been resolved with the creation of a Palestinian state?

“A: Yes, of course. Look at our concept of security in Israel. Until the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago, we preferred land to peace, because peace was not important to us. Our goal was security. It wasn't until the shock of the Yom Kippur War that we came to the conclusion that to have security, you need peace. We only made peace with Egypt because of the trauma of Yom Kippur, and we only started negotiating with the Palestinians in Madrid, and then in Oslo, because of the first Intifada. Finally, we left Lebanon only because of Shiite terror and suicide bombings. We withdrew from Gaza only because of the second Intifada. The international community played a major role in all these cases. Today we are living through a tragedy and nobody cares. We can't blame anyone. No one can save us in spite of ourselves."

This is a developing story. We will update this post when more information becomes available.

Update: 2:55 PM EST -

In a forceful speech at the White House, President Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed continued support for Israel and increased security for Jewish citizens at home in the wake of Saturday’s terror attacks by Hamas.

Here are some key highlights:

  • “More than 1,000 civilians [were] slaughtered in Israel. Among them, at least 14 American citizens [were] killed.”
  • “From the moment this crisis began, we are surging additional military assistance [providing] ammunition and [Tamir] interceptors to replenish [the] Iron Dome [air defense system]. We are going to make sure that Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend cities and its citizens.”
  • “We now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas and I directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts, hostage recovery and recovery efforts. As President, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world.”
  • In addition to already sending the Gerald R. Ford carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean, Biden said, “we stand ready to move in additional assets as needed.”
  • “We're also taking steps at home in cities across the United States of America. Police departments have stepped up security around centers of Jewish life. The Department of Homeland Security [and] Federal Bureau of Investigation are working closely with state local law enforcement and Jewish community partners to identify and disrupt any domestic threat that could emerge in connection with these horrific attacks.”

Update: 3:51 PM EST -

The IDF says that a number of unspecified "launches" were detected from Syria.  

"Some crossed into Israeli territory and presumably fell in an open area," the IDF said on its Telegram channel. "IDF soldiers are responding with artillery and mortar shells toward the origin of the launching in Syria."

The IDF says that in the last hour, its soldiers, backed by a helicopter and drone, “conducted an exchange of fire with a number of terrorists in the Ashkelon Industrial Area. The soldiers killed three terrorists and are continuing to conduct searches in the area. A fire broke out in the area during the incident, and fire forces are on their way to the scene.”

Ashkelon is about seven miles north of the Gaza border and, as we reported earlier, Hamas promised to level it in response to ongoing Israeli airstrikes.

The IDF said it engaged in a firefight with Hamas in Ashkelon, about seven miles north of the Gaza border. (Google Earth image)

Video is emerging on social media purporting to be a clash at the Leonardo Hotel in the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod, about 10 miles north of Ashkelon.

The incident has not been confirmed by official sources yet and the extent of the damage or injuries sustained is unknown at the moment.

Boeing accelerated deliver of 1,000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) to Israel in wake of the Hamas attack, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

The delivery is part of an existing 2021 contact, Bloomberg reported.

From our previous reporting: “The SDB was designed from the outset as a low-collateral-damage weapon and also one small enough that multiple examples can be carried, boosting the ‘magazine depth’ of fighter aircraft. SDB provides a standoff ‘fire and forget’ precision attack capability, again using inertial and GPS guidance. Depending on launch height and speed, the SDB can hit fixed targets as far as 60 miles away.”

Update: 4:29 PM EST -

The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea “to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. 

“The forces that have arrived include the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), with its eight squadrons of attack and support aircraft, aircraft, the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), as well as the Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80)."

“Efforts to augment U.S. posture continue, including the rapid movement into theater of U.S. Air Force F-15s, F-16s, and A-10s, to augment existing fighter squadrons in the region.”

"The arrival of these highly capable forces to the region is a strong signal of deterrence should any actor hostile to Israel consider trying to take advantage of this situation," said Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, commander U.S. Central Command.

Contact the author: howard@thewarzone.com

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