Israeli forces have bombarded the Gaza Strip with unprecedented air strikes as maps show the extent of rocket attacks on Israel from the Hamas militants in Gaza.
Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas after its fighters stormed through Israeli towns on October 7, killing at least 1,300 people in the worst attack on civilians in the country’s history. Palestinian deaths number around 2,200, according to Reuters.
In its daily update on Friday, the independent Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study War (ISW) produced maps showing how Hamas had continued its rocket attacks into Israel. However, these came at a lower rate of fire compared to previous days as Hamas sought to conserve its rocket stockpile and prepare for a prolonged war.
On Friday, Hamas had targeted northern, central, and southern Israel. Its military spokesman said that the group had fired 150 rockets at Ashkelon, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv; 50 rockets at Sderot, just over half a mile from the Gaza Strip at its nearest point; and also bombed the international Ben Gurion Airport in central Israel. Newsweek has been as yet unable to verify these figures independently.
One ISW map outlined how Hamas’ military wing Al-Qassam Brigades said it had fired an Ayyash 250 rocket more than 120 miles into Israeli territory towards its northern border with Lebanon. The graphic also showed explosions near the cities of Beersheba, Ramla and Tel Aviv. Another graphic from ISW showed how Lebanese Hezbollah said it had attacked four Israeli positions in northern Israel.
The map also depicted clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli security forces across the West Bank. The ISW said this was “consistent with Hamas’ call for escalation.” There were 32 recorded instances of small armed combat between locals and Israeli security forces or Israeli settlers on Friday, the think tank added.
It comes as the IDF said on Friday that 6,000 rockets have been launched from Gaza. The ISW has said that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have used up around a third of their rocket arsenal since the start of the war.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the north of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have been told by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to head south, amid anticipation of an invasion by Israel’s armed forces. Hamas has urged Palestinians to ignore the warning.
IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that Palestinians will have two safe routes to move south; one along the coast, and the other down the centre of the Gaza Strip.
There are growing international concerns of a humanitarian disaster there. The enclave is under siege, and shortages of fuel, vehicles, food and electricity have made it difficult for Palestinians to heed the Israeli order.