Israel and Gaza launch air strikes after killing of Palestinian teen
Air strikes ramped up overnight. Israel defense forces reported hitting around 50 targets, including militant houses and military compounds. Meanwhile, Hamas claimed responsibility for 70 more rockets fired into Israel from Gaza. The escalation of military action follows the death of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Even his cousin Tariq has been caught up in the violence.
“I can’t believe it happened. Unfortunately, it did happen and it is real,” stated Tariq’s and Mohammed’s aunt Sanah Abu Khdeir.
Videos emerged showing men dressed in Israeli security forces uniforms, holding down and pummeling 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir amid protests over his cousin’s murder. Still recovering from his injuries and currently under house arrest, the Palestinian-American is expected to return to the United States in the next few weeks.
“I just want Tariq home. I want him home now on American soil. He is an American teen. Doesn’t know what war zone, war crimes, all this – he hasn’t had to ever deal with that.”
Mohammed Abu Khdeir was abducted and burned to death in Jerusalem. Police have said there’s a strong indication the killing was in response to the deaths of three Israelis in the West Bank last week.
“What we need is to stop this terrible cycle of violence which is taking innocent children – Israelis and Palestinians on both sides – and causing a lot of damage,” said family lawyer Hassan Shibly.
Police say they’ve questioned six suspects about Abu Khdeir’s murder, but the arrests haven’t done anything to slow the flare-up in tensions between Israel and Hamas, as the rocket attacks and air strikes continue.