(RNN) - Ever since Israel killed a Hamas leader via air strike Tuesday, the two groups have delivered constant updates on attacks via Twitter, giving an eerie virtual image of a real war.
The official Twitter account for the Israeli Defense Forces, in English, is @IDFspokesperson. It provides real-time claims about attacks launched on Gaza, missile fire from Hamas on Israel and links to pro-Israeli videos and articles.
Even pictures of alleged bomb sites and casualties are shared with the 108,000 followers. On Wednesday, the IDF tweeted a picture of Ahmed Al-Jabaari, a senior military official in Hamas, along with the word "eliminated."
The same attack also resulted in the death of 11 Palestinian civilians, including children, as well as the 11-month-old son of a BBC journalist, according to the Daily Mail.
The Twitter handle for Al Qassam Brigades - the military wing of Hamas - is @AlqassamBrigade. The group has been using the social media platform to send out its claims of offensives, updates on attacks from Israel, alleged videos of Israeli troops (WARNING: GRAPHIC) abusing Palestinian civilians, and images of dead Palestinians, including babies, that it states are victims of Israeli attacks .
"#Israel's military kills #Palestinian children in cold blood in #Gaza, shelling civilians & populated areas," Hamas tweeted. (WARNING: GRAPHIC)
The sides have engaged in a bit of dialogue with each other as well.
The IDF tweeted, "We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead."
Hamas responded: "Our blessed hands will reach your leaders and soldiers wherever they are (You Opened Hell Gates on Yourselves)."
And each side has created their own hashtags. Israel created #PillarofDefense, an English reference meant to convey the spirit of "Pillar of Cloud" in Hebrew, according to Gawker.
The "Pillar of Cloud" reference is from Exodus 14:19-20:
"Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them,coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long."
In response, Hamas launched "Operation Shale Stones" and the hashtag #ShaleStones.
The "shale stones" is a literal translation from a passage in the Quran that often gets translated in English to "stones of baked clay"
"Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the people of the elephants? Did He not bring their plan to naught? And He sent against them swarms of birds which smote them with stones of baked clay."
The public display of propaganda and threats on a site where anybody can participate has invited a lot of feedback from people on all sides of the conflict.
Nearly every tweet each side sent out had several retweets and vehemently angry responses. But there have also been pleas for both sides to stop the fighting.
Some tweets, including many Israeli ones, have an almost sarcastic, matter-of-fact tone, which seems to invite all kinds of responses.
For example, Israel tweeted: "How did your day begin? Here in #Israel, a rocket fired from #Gaza hit a house."
And later tweeted: "Good morning to our friends in #America. While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house."
This is war in the 21st century.
Tension between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs the Gaza Strip, erupted once again Wednesday, when Israeli forces fired a missile on Al-Jabaari. Israel claimed it was done in retaliation to rockets being fired at southern Israel in recent days.
Israel then continued its assault on Gaza, resulting in at least 13 dead.
Hamas retaliated with its own attacks, killing at least three Israelis. On Thursday, Israel indicated ground operations may begin after Palestinian militants hit the country with more than 200 rockets, according to the Associated Press.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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