Two Grad rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, striking empty fields within Israel. The missiles caused no injuries or damage, but were enough for Israeli media outlets to claim the single strike was a “steady shower of missiles” and for the Israel Defense Forces to initiate a “retaliatory measure” overnight which equated to a massive escalation of their ongoing airstrikes against Palestinian targets.
Just one day prior to this event, Israel’s public Security Minister called for a full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip to prevent future missile firings. No group has claimed responsibility for the rockets. It is important to note that the dominant Hamas political party has been negotiating deals with smaller factions in the strip to abstain from firing missiles, though the supposed al-Qaeda affiliate in Gaza does not recognize the legitimacy of Hamas’ government.
In Iraq, at least nine people were killed and 13 were wounded as a pair of back-to-back bombings blasted central Ramadi on Wednesday evening. It looks like the first strike was meant to lure more targets for the second. Provincial council head Jasim al-Halbusi says al-Qaeda “and other armed groups” were to blame even though no one has taken responsibility for the attacks.
Officials in Anbar Province claim the attacks were targeting police but so far only one of the slain has been confirmed to be a police officer. Wednesday saw a series of similar attacks across Iraq that reportedly claimed the lives of 21 people.
Tumult in Syria is growing. As military forces captured Hama’s town center on Wednesday via tank assault, at least 45 people were slain. Violence in the city has claimed the lives of at least 200 hundred civilian protesters over the course of a four-day-long “massacre”.
The UN Security Council voted to condemn the Syrian government’s crackdowns against protesters this week, expressing “grave concerns at the deteriorating situation in Syria.” In its official statement on Syria, the UN cited a “widespread violation of human rights” and called on the Assad government to cooperate with the Human Rights Commission and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country. The UN is asking for the Syrian officials to hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities.
Syrian state media insists the reports of violence are “rumors” spread by “armed terrorist groups.”