Israel Launches Airstrikes Against Hamas In Gaza, Having Declared "Hamas Will Pay"
Following the discovery of the bodies of three murdered Israeli teens, Israel launched a series of airstrikes against Hamas targets Tuesday morning. According to NBC News, the Israeli military said it hit 34 targets and injured four Palestinians. Six rockets also struck a region in northern Israel, but no damage or injuries were reported there. It's unclear whether or not these airstrikes against Palestinian regions are in direct retaliation for the abduction and murders of three Israeli teens.
According to Voice of America, the Israeli military said the dozens of strikes are in retaliation for 18 Palestinian rockets that were launched against Israel.
WBUR reported that the Israeli military killed a man associated with Hamas in a raid carried out early Tuesday morning. The raid was conducted in part to capture the two Palestinian suspects reportedly behind the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers. NPR's reporter in Jerusalem said the young Palestinian man was killed after he attempted to throw a grenade at the Israeli military. According to reports, the man is between 16 and 20 years old.
CNN added that the homes of the two suspects identified by the Israeli military were destroyed. However, the two suspects aren't in custody.
The attacks on the Hamas-controlled territory comes as the state of Israeli is mourning the death of the three Israeli teens, whose bodies were found in a shallow grave on Monday. The teens disappeared nearly three weeks ago as they were hitchhiking home from the Jewish seminaries near Hebron, a West Bank City.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have made it known that the Jewish state will fight back against Hamas and Palestine for the murders of the Israeli teens. On Monday, Netanyahu blamed Hamas for the murders, saying: "Hamas will pay."
According to CNN, Netanyahu told the teens' families: "The entire nation weeps with you."
Although the Israeli government claimed Hamas is responsible for the murders, Hamas officials denied any involvement, according to The Times of Israel. "The story of the disappearance and killing of the three settlers is based on the Israeli narrative only,” said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri. "The Israeli occupation is trying to refer to this narrative in order to justify its wide-scale war against our people, against the resistance and against Hamas."
Abu Zuhri added in a post on his Facebook page: "If Netanyahu launches a war against Gaza, the gates of hell will open on him."
To prepare for future attacks, Palestinian President convened an emergency meeting on Monday between Palestinian officials. Palestinian leadership is expected to continue their meetings on Tuesday.
As Israel continues to mourn and battles rage on in the Gaza Strip, the three Israeli teenagers will be buried together on Tuesday evening in Modiin, a city halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.