Palestinians across the occupied territories marked the first of a three-day Eid celebration amid continued Israeli bombing on Gaza. On Thursday, May 13, five days after the attacks started, the death toll went up to 119 people including at least 31 children. Over 830 people were also reportedly injured in the attacks.
Israeli air strikes have destroyed a large part of residential areas inside the densely populated Gaza strip forcing Palestinians to look for alternative shelters. Various civilian locations inside the southern Rafah city in Gaza were hit on Thursday. Palestinian Wafa New Agency reported that the sole power generating plant in central Gaza strip ran out of fuel on Thursday as Israel shut down the only commercial border crossing.
The power outage will increase the hardship for the Palestinians as it can cripple the health services making treatment of the wounded difficult. It can also disrupt the supply of essential services.
Meanwhile, Israel continued its preparations for ground offensive with thousands of its troops gathering at the Gaza border with heavy artillery and weapons. Several Gaza residents posted on social media about people fleeing the border areas fearing imminent Israeli attack.
It is a hill now , thousands are escaping the border areas toward Gaza city, which is under heavy strikes. It seems the ground operation is about to start as it did in 2014. I don't know what to say. I am starting to get very scared. There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/Pq0m22Te4C
— Omar Shaban (@omarthink) May 13, 2021
Israeli Defence Forces’ twitter handle reported the beginning of the ground offensive on Gaza in the early hours of May 14 creating more panic among the Palestinians living near the border. However, later, Israeli media clarified that no ground offensive has been launched yet.
IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 13, 2021
According to Israel’s government, at least 7 people, including one Indian nurse, have died inside Israeli territories due to rockets fired by Hamas on cities such as Ashkelon and Tel Aviv.
Demonstrations and violence in Israel and occupied territories
Several protests were carried out against Israeli aggression on Gaza in occupied territories and inside Israel. The Israeli Communist Party and other left groups in the country organized anti-war demonstrations in Tel Aviv and in several other cities asking Israel to stop the violence.
Tel aviv left wing groups are protesting tonight again against war, massacre and escelation pic.twitter.com/bjLsXCFVC8
— זו הדרך (@zoha_org_il) May 13, 2021
Protesters in Jaffa, Lod and Ramle were attacked by Jewish settlers. In Lod, which has seen large-scale anti-Arab violence unleashed by settlers, fresh protests broke out on Thursday. Jewish far right activists were accompanied by security forces in their attacks on Arab houses.
Israeli far right groups were seen mobilizing for attacks on Palestinian Arabs inside Lod and Ramle. They also reportedly beat up Israeli journalists in Tel Aviv.
In several other places inside Israel, Jewish settlers entered Arab residential areas and beat up people and vandalized property.
Gangs of Jewish youth attacking Palestinians. Settlers working in tandem with cops. A government that is doubling down and threatening to arrest Palestinian citizens w/o trial. Ruthless pounding of Gaza.
And people still have the gall to wonder why Palestinians hate Zionism?
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) May 13, 2021
In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli forces and settlers continued to use heavy force against protesting Palestinians. Incidents of raids and arrest of Palestinians were reported by local media on Thursday. At Hebron, illegal Jewish settlers were recorded attacking Palestinian houses.
Calls for fresh demonstrations on Friday were given by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Thursday.