GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his country on Monday to be “ready for a prolonged campaign” after Hamas militants reportedly used a tunnel to get into Israel where they began firing on Israel Defense Forces.
The Huffington Post reported that as Netanyahu stood beside Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, he said on Monday “We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children.”
In a telephone message to Gaza militants on Monday the Israeli military said, “What is coming will be worse.”
Hamas struck back in response to warnings from Netanyahu and the Israel Defense Forces., spokesman Sami Au Zuhri was defiant.
“His threats do not scare Hamas or the Palestinian people and the occupation will pay the price for the massacres against civilians and children,” Zuhri said.
With both sides digging in their heels before a ceasefire, Israel is demanding the Gaza Strip be demilitarized by stripping Hamas of its rockets and launching systems. Hamas is asking Israel and Egypt to open the borders to Israel which will allow Palestinians to travel more freely and improve their finances. The border from the Gaza Strip into Egypt was opened in 2013 for approximately 17 days.
Meanwhile the residents in the Gaza Strip say they have nowhere to go or anywhere to hide for safety. The Gaza Strip is located up against the Mediterranean Sea and is fenced in by the Israel-Gaza barrier wall to keep Palestinians out of Israel and Egypt with miles and miles of a wall that separates the Palestinians from Israel.
Sufian Abed Rabo says his family that includes 17 family members try to seek safety beneath a stairway where they live. “God help us. We have nothing to do but pray,” Rabo said. “Maybe in the morning we will evacuate, if we are still alive.”
At least 170,000 Palestinians have had to flee their homes as reportedly over 500 houses have been the target of Israeli airstrikes which has turned their neighborhoods into nothing but rubble.
Under intense pressure from the international community for the high loss of life among Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military says they continue to urge residents to evacuate ahead of airstrikes by dropping leaflets and banging on doors in their neighborhoods.
The death toll in the Gaza Strip continues to soar after airstrikes in the Gaza Strip hit their main hospital and a playground on Monday bringing the total to 1,050 Palestinians and 52 Israeli soldiers and three civilian Israeli’s.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, that is part of the International Red Cross, Israel tank shelling is continuing through Monday night reporting that at least six people were killed along the eastern and southern territories of the Gaza Strip.