Throughout the night of March 9 and into the morning of March 10, 2012, Israeli warplanes attacked targets across the Gaza Strip, with a death toll of at least 12, and 20 injured.
On the afternoon of March 9, Zuheir al-Qaysi, secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), was assassinated during an Israeli raid on Gaza City, along with his assistant Abu Ahmad Hanani. Hanani was originally from Nablus and was deported to Gaza as one of the prisoners freed in the prisoner swap deal a few months ago.
In retaliation, Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip fired rockets into Israel, with no casualties. Israel came back with severe airstrikes that shook Gaza and left 12 martyrs altogether, identified by Ma'an News Agency as Muhammad al-Ghamry, Fayiq Saad, Muatasim Hajjaj, Ubeid Gharabli, Muhammad Hararah, Hazim Qureiqi, Shadi Sayqali, Zuheir al-Qaysi, Mahmoud Hanani, Muhammad Maghari, Mahmoud Najim, and Ahmad Hajjaj. Some reports are now saying that 15 people have died.
Gaza's netizens have responded to the attacks on Twitter:
@MaathMusleh: 15 were murdered in Gaza till now, No WORRIES they're just Palestinians!! #GazaUnderAttack
@ectomorfo: Pray for the people of Gaza. No lights, little medicine, no gas. And now they're being bombarded from all sides by #Israel. #GazaUnderAttack
@Omar_Gaza: 18 minutes with no explosions! Cautious silence? is it over? or should I keep holding my breath? #GazaMassacre #GazaUnderAttack
@najlashawa: i dont know how i am still typing that was LOUD! #GAzaUnderAttack
@imNadZ: Welcome to #Gaza. Where sunshine is explosions. Where birds are F16s.
This attack comes at a time of shifting regional and political alliances. Last week, in light of increasing prospects of an American-Israeli war on Iran, two top Hamas officials announced that Hamas would not get involved and support Iran in case of an Israeli attack. Hamas has also declared its support of the Syrian people in their struggle against Assad.