Cross-posted from WSWS
Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish a fire after an Israeli air strike on the building of Hamas' Ministry of Interior in Gaza City
(Image by REUTERS/Mohammed Salem) Details DMCA
The Israel Defense Forces moved tanks and artillery units towards Gaza, positioning them in advance of any order from the cabinet to invade the densely populated enclave, with nearly two million people crammed into an area of less than 200 square miles. The IDF also called up an undisclosed number of reservists for duty.
The military mobilization was the largest on the border of Gaza since Israel's last major attack on the Palestinian territory, eight days of bloody bomb and missile strikes in November 2012.
An Israeli military spokesman claimed the sites targeted by bombs and missiles were linked to Hamas, the Islamic party that has ruled Gaza since it won elections in 2006. The Israeli government has declared Hamas responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, although that territory is controlled by the secular Palestinian party Fatah, with Israeli support.
The killing of the three teenagers, whose bodies were found on June 30 outside Hebron, is being used as a pretext by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to escalate tensions with Hamas and threaten an invasion or re-occupation of the Gaza Strip. Israeli military forces and settlers were withdrawn from Gaza in 2005.