Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Palestinian Sisters Cry Out for Missing Mother after Gaza Airstrike

 Palestinian woman mourns her child, Mahmoud Essa, 12, who was killed during Israeli bombardment, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. (SAHER ALGHORRA/AP)
Palestinian woman mourns her child, Mahmoud Essa, 12, who was killed during Israeli bombardment, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. (SAHER ALGHORRA/AP)
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Palestinian Sisters Cry Out for Missing Mother after Gaza Airstrike

 Palestinian woman mourns her child, Mahmoud Essa, 12, who was killed during Israeli bombardment, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. (SAHER ALGHORRA/AP)
Palestinian woman mourns her child, Mahmoud Essa, 12, who was killed during Israeli bombardment, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. (SAHER ALGHORRA/AP)

After another airstrike pulverised Gaza, the two al-Breim sisters realised their mother Amira was missing and rushed to the scene, crying out her name and frantically sifting through rubble for any sign of her.

"It is like we're in a nightmare. It is as though we are in a dream. A dream," sobbed Samar al-Breim amid piles of collapsed concrete and twisted cables.

"I pray to God that I wake up and find out that it was only a dream and that it is not true," she added. "What did they do to deserve this?"

Children were also sleeping at the site of the airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, she said. "The children were asleep, they are innocent, they were torn to pieces."

Her sister Sahar said their uncles, along with their families, had perished, adding that she also should have been staying at her mother's house overnight but had been unable to come due to a lack of transport, Reuters reported.

"My mother is stuck underneath here," she added, gesturing to the mounds of rubble. "There is nowhere safe in all of Gaza."

Thousands of Palestinians are believed to be buried under rubble after relentless airstrikes in an Israeli offensive that has killed more than 36,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities, and laid waste to the densely populated enclave.

The war began when the Palestinian group Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and dragging more than 250 people back to Gaza, according to Israeli tallies, creating a hostage crisis for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right government.

"We hope to God there will be a ceasefire because we have lost a lot - we have lost all our loved ones. We have nothing left," said Sahar, continuing to call out her mother's name.

Mediators have failed to clinch a permanent ceasefire despite months of negotiations. Netanyahu on Monday reiterated that Israel's top priority in Gaza remained the destruction of Hamas as well as the recovery of the hostages held by the group.

Samar al-Breim clutched at a few random items amid the mounds of rubble.

"They (the Israelis) want to annihilate us...," Samar added. "Despite the pain, the death, the destruction they have caused, we will be victorious, God willing... and we will be stronger than before."

 

 

 

 

 



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Israel-Hezbollah War... More Severe than ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’

An Israeli firefighter aircraft drops flame retardant on fires smoke after rockets fired from southern Lebanon hit an area in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel on July 4, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
An Israeli firefighter aircraft drops flame retardant on fires smoke after rockets fired from southern Lebanon hit an area in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel on July 4, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
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Israel-Hezbollah War... More Severe than ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’

An Israeli firefighter aircraft drops flame retardant on fires smoke after rockets fired from southern Lebanon hit an area in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel on July 4, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
An Israeli firefighter aircraft drops flame retardant on fires smoke after rockets fired from southern Lebanon hit an area in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel on July 4, 2024. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

In conflicts, both sides often set traps for each other. Yet today, in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, it appears both sides are falling into their own traps.

In the current Israel-Hezbollah conflict, despite denying interest in widening the war, both are moving towards escalation.

Israel continues military drills for expansion, supported by polls showing public backing, though decreasing recently. This support concerns Tel Aviv’s military leaders, who fear the public underestimates the war’s consequences.

Former Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata warns such a war could devastate parts of Lebanon and cause significant harm in Israel, potentially resulting in around 15,000 deaths.

The Terrorism Research Institute at Reichman University conducted a study with 100 military and academic experts on potential war scenarios with Hezbollah.

Their findings were alarming: they warned that such a conflict could quickly escalate across multiple fronts, involving Iranian militias in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, alongside Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.

The study predicted that Hezbollah could launch a daily barrage of 2,500 to 3,000 rockets for 21 days, targeting military bases, cities like Tel Aviv, and critical infrastructure such as power plants, gas fields, desalination plants, airports, and weapon depots.

This onslaught would likely cause widespread chaos among Israelis.

Furthermore, Hezbollah might employ its strategy of sending “Radwan” units to infiltrate Israeli borders and occupy towns, similar to Hamas’ actions during operation Al-Aqsa Flood on Oct. 7.

The “Gaza-style destruction” scenario was initially floated to dampen calls for the army to invade Lebanese territory.

The Israeli military, wary of right-wing political pressures and their own hesitations about war, countered by publicizing plans indicating serious readiness.

Leaked drills suggest they are preparing for a large-scale ground invasion, aiming to occupy southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, possibly further to the Zahrani River.

They state that if Hezbollah rejects a political deal to stay away from borders, the military will enforce this with force.

They detail that the war could start with intense airstrikes, similar to Gaza, followed by a ground invasion.

Military sources reveal Israel has received delayed US weapons, including smart bombs, set to be used in airstrikes on southern Beirut suburbs and the Bekaa region at least.

The Litani River lies four kilometers from the border at its closest and extends 29 kilometers at its furthest, covering 1,020 square kilometers. It includes three major cities: Tyre (175,000 residents), Bint Jbeil, and Marjayoun, housing half a million people, with over 100,000 displaced.

Occupying this entire area won’t be easy. Hezbollah is stronger than Hamas, with a more extensive tunnel network and advanced weaponry. They’ve long been prepared for this war.

If Israel plans a short 21-day war, nothing guarantees that timeline, risking entanglement in Lebanon’s challenges once again.

The Israeli military is gearing up for a long war, preparing emergency reserves in hospitals, factories, government offices, and shelters.

They fear Hezbollah could launch thousands of rockets and drones, targeting key infrastructure like power plants, water desalination facilities, and gas wells.

Recent drills also factor in possible direct Iranian involvement, which could disrupt Red Sea shipping and possibly lead to strikes on Cyprus. This means all of Israel could face serious threats.

The Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies reports that Hezbollah has already fired over 5,000 projectiles from Lebanon, causing 33 deaths and extensive damage to both civilian and military targets in Israel.

There’s growing concern about the future of northern Israel, including 28 evacuated settlements and the city of Kiryat Shmona, whose residents are uncertain when they can safely return home.