The Beginning of Sorrows? Over 700 Rockets Hit the Holy Land of Israel

One dead, five injured as Gaza rockets strike near Tel Aviv

A woman was killed and and a person was critically wounded in Rishon Lezion after terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets in the direction of Tel Aviv late Tuesday night setting off sirens throughout the center of the country.

The barrage came hours after Hamas warned Israel that it would fire missiles into Tel Aviv if the IDF continued to strike buildings in the Gaza Strip.
Another rocket struck a bus in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv. Four people were injured in Holon including the driver of the bus who was critically injured. Another three people were in moderate condition after being injured in the attack, including a five-year-old child.

Earlier in the day, two women were killed in Ashkelon on Tuesday as barrages of rockets struck the southern city and the IDF continued to target Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist sites throughout the Gaza Strip.

One of the women was identified as Soumya Santhosh, an Indian national who worked as a caregiver for an elderly woman in Ashkelon. Santhosh was killed in the strike while the elderly woman sustained serious injuries.

The rockets fired at Tel Aviv set off sirens in Herziliya, Ra’anana and the Sharon region. The barrage came after Israel bombed a 13-story building in Gaza.
Over 700 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Monday, including 150 that fell inside the Strip and another 200 that were intercepted by the Iron Dome, the army said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the intensity and rate of attacks will increase following a visit to the IDF’s Southern Command headquarter.
“We are in the midst of a campaign,” he said. “Since yesterday, the IDF has been attacking hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad sites in Gaza. We have neutralized commanders, we have hit many of their quality targets. Hamas will be struck in ways that it did not expect.”

The Israelis were killed – one woman in her 60s and the other in her 80s – when rockets slammed into their homes in Ashkelon. Minutes later the IDF reported that it had killed two top PIJ commanders responsible for rocket fire in Gaza.

Over 100 Israelis have been injured as close to a dozen buildings in Ashdod and Ashkelon were hit by rockets, according to Israel Police. One of the buildings was a school.
Israel has also begun taking out commanders, Zilberman said, including the commander of Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile unit, Iyad Fathi Faik Sharir, who has carried out a number of attacks against Israel in the past.
“The ATGM unit in Gaza City was prepared to carry out anti-tank guided missile attacks at the time of the strike,” the military said.
One of the Palestinian terrorists killed was identified as Samah Abed al-Mamlouk. The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said that he was attacked in a hideout together with a number of additional Islamic Jihad operatives. Mamlouk, the IDF said, was in charge of PIJ’s rocket arsenal.
In another strike, Hassan Abu al-Atta, deputy commander of Islamic Jihad’s Gaza Brigade, was also killed when the IDF struck an apartment in an eight-story building in Gaza’s Rimal neighborhood. He was the brother of Baha abu Al-Ata who was killed in an Israeli targeted killing 2019.

Earlier Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the call-up of 5,000 reservists as the IDF prepared for a large-scale offensive in the Gaza Strip as rocket attacks against southern Israel continued.
“For every day of shooting at the citizens of Israel – we will send [Hamas and PIJ] back years and hit them hard,” Gantz said at an operational assessment with Southern Command officers and heads of local municipalities in the South.
The 101st Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade and the Egoz commando unit were called up to southern Israel and the 202nd Battalion was called up to the West Bank on Tuesday morning.

“We will not stop until calm returns. We will not stop until we achieve long-term calm and severe damage to the terrorist infrastructure,” Gantz went on to say on IDF operations in the coming days.
Gantz said Tuesday evening that he anticipates Hamas will make a “victory speech,” but that the reality is they will suffer a “very serious blow.”
“We are less than a day since the start of the operation, carrying out a massive wave of attacks in a campaign that began in Jerusalem. We have embarked on a campaign that will hurt Hamas seriously.”
At a briefing later in the day, the former chief of staff warned “We will not stop until calm returns. We will not stop until we achieve long-term calm and severe damage to the terrorist infrastructure.”
Speaking to reporters in the south next to an Iron Dome battery, Gantz said that “the purpose of the operation is to strike Hamas hard, to weaken it and to make it regret its decision.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi also ordered the reinforcement of the Gaza Division with infantry and armored brigades along with the continued redeployment of intelligence and air units.
Kohavi ordered the continued striking of Hamas and PIJ weapons and storage sites as well as the expanding of the strikes to other targets including operatives of the terror groups.
“The IDF will continue to act resolutely to restore security to the residents of the South, and all commanders must prepare for the expansion of the campaign, with no time limit,” the IDF said in a statement.
The IDF struck over 130 targets throughout Gaza overnight Monday as southern Israel was bombarded by over 480 rockets since Monday afternoon, injuring over 90 Israelis.
Approximately 150 failed rocket launches fell back into the Gaza Strip and Air Defense Artillery combat soldiers intercepted approximately 200 rockets.

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Source: Jerusalem Post


Israel to ramp up deadly airstrikes on Gaza as rockets rain down and deaths mount on both sides

An Israeli firefighter walks next to cars hit by a missile fired from Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, May 11, 2021. ARIEL SCHALIT/AP
An Israeli firefighter walks next to cars hit by a missile fired from Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, May 11, 2021. ARIEL SCHALIT/AP

Israel’s armed forces and Palestinian militants exchanged rocket fire on Tuesday as days of fighting centered around one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims, Jews and Christians snowballed into another deadly flare-up in a decades-long conflict. The bloodshed was likely to get worse, as both sides indicated that they would escalate their attacks.

The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, a tiny parcel of land run by the Hamas group but with borders strictly controlled by Israel, said on Tuesday that at least 26 people had been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the territory, including nine children.

Israel’s military said it was targeting Hamas militant leaders in retaliation for a steady volley of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel — more than 400, and climbing fast.

A salvo of rockets hit homes in the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod on Tuesday, but many of the projectiles launched either fell short and landed in Gaza or were intercepted by Israel’s advanced “Iron Dome” missile defense system.

Israeli emergency response officials said two women were killed in the barrage on Tuesday afternoon and at least one more was left in critical condition. Earlier authorities said at least 10 people had been treated for unspecified injuries in Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, claimed to have launched 137 rockets at the two southern Israeli cities within just five minutes on Tuesday, adding in a menacing message online: “We’ve still got more up our sleeves.”

The Israeli military’s response to the rocket attacks began swiftly on Monday, and officials said 15 militants were killed in the air and drone strikes carried out in Gaza.

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Source: CBS


Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates

Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A confrontation between Israel and Hamas sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem escalated Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets. The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least three Israelis.

The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and airstrikes into the territory continued almost nonstop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war. The fire was so relentless that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system seemed to be overwhelmed. Columns of smoke rose from many places in Gaza.

By late Tuesday, the violence extended to Tel Aviv, which came under fire from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. A 50-year-old woman was killed. The outgoing volleys set off air raid sirens across the city, and the main international airport quickly closed.

Hamas said it launched a total of 130 rockets, its most intense strike so far, in response to Israel’s destruction of a high-rise building in Gaza earlier in the evening. The sound of the outgoing rockets could be heard in Gaza. As the rockets rose into the skies, mosques across Gaza blared with chants of “God is great,” “victory to Islam” and “resistance.”

One rocket struck a bus in the central city of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv. Medics said three people, including a 5-year-old girl, were wounded and the bus went up in flames.

Since sundown Monday, 28 Palestinians — including 10 children and a woman— were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, health officials there said. The Israeli military said at least 16 of the dead were militants.

Two women were killed by rockets fired from Gaza that hit their homes in the southern city of Ashkelon — the first Israeli deaths in the current violence. At least 10 other Israelis have been wounded since Monday evening.

After those deaths, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said officials decided to “increase both the strength and rate of the strikes” against militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian officials said they were trying to broker a cease-fire, but the cycle of violence was gaining momentum. Even before the two Israeli deaths, the Israeli military said it was sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border, and the defense minister ordered the mobilization of 5,000 reserve soldiers.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, told reporters that Israel was beefing up defensive forces on the border to prevent possible infiltrations and increasing its offensive forces as well, primarily in the air.

He said the objective was to send a “clear message” to Hamas.

The barrage of rockets and airstrikes was preceded by hours of clashes Monday between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, including dramatic confrontations at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a sacred site to both Jews and Muslims. The current violence, like previous rounds, including the last intifada, or uprising, has been fueled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, which is at the emotional core of the long conflict.

In a sign of widening unrest, hundreds of residents of Arab communities across Israel staged overnight demonstrations denouncing the recent actions of Israeli security forces against Palestinians. It was one of the largest protests by Palestinian citizens in Israel in recent years.

In the central Israeli town of Lod, police fired tear gas and stun grenades after mourners threw rocks at officers during the funeral of an Arab man allegedly shot to death by a Jewish resident the night before. Thousands took part in the funeral, and police said the crowd set fire to a patrol car, a bus and a motorcycle. Two police officers were injured.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and numerous skirmishes since the militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007. Recent rounds of fighting have usually ended after a few days, often helped by mediation by Qatar, Egypt and others.

Israel carried out dozens of airstrikes, including two that targeted high-rise apartment buildings where militants were believed to be hiding.

One strike demolished a 12-story building in Gaza City that housed the offices of top Hamas officials. Israeli drones fired a series of warning shots at the roof to give people time to leave the building before it was destroyed. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

At midday, an airstrike hit a building in central Gaza City, sending terrified residents running into the street, including women and barefoot children. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed that the strike killed three of its commanders.

Another strike hit a high-rise as people were conducting dawn prayers, killing a woman, her 19-year-old disabled son and another man, residents said. Health officials confirmed the deaths.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 28 people, including 10 children and the woman, have been killed and 152 wounded. Ashraf al-Kidra, a spokesman for the ministry, said Israel’s “relentless assault” was overwhelming the health care system, which has been struggling with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The escalation comes at a time of political limbo in Israel.

Netanyahu has been caretaker prime minister since an inconclusive parliamentary election in March. He failed to form a coalition government with his hard-line and ultra-Orthodox allies, and the task was handed to his political rivals last week.

One of those rivals is Israel’s defense minister, who is overseeing the Gaza campaign. It was not clear whether the political atmosphere was spilling over into military decision-making, though the rival camps have unanimously expressed support for striking Hamas hard.

The support of an Arab-backed party with Islamist roots is key for the anti-Netanyahu bloc. But the current tensions might deter the party’s leader, Mansour Abbas, from joining a coalition for now. The sides have three more weeks to reach a deal.

The current violence in Jerusalem coincided with the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in mid-April.

Critics say heavy-handed police measures helped stoke nightly unrest, including a decision to temporarily seal off a popular gathering spot where Palestinian residents would meet after evening prayers. Another flashpoint was the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where dozens of Palestinians are under threat of eviction by Jewish settlers.

Over the weekend, confrontations erupted at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.

Over several days, Israel police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at Palestinians in the compound who hurled stones and chairs. At times, police fired stun grenades into the carpeted mosque.

On Monday evening, Hamas began firing rockets from Gaza. From there on, the escalation was rapid.

Gaza militants fired more than 500 rockets at Israel, with about one-third falling short and landing in Gaza, Conricus said.

At midday, a barrage of some 10 rockets whizzed above the southern city of Ashdod, filling the skies with streaks of white smoke.

A rocket that hit an apartment building in Ashkelon injured six people, according to Israeli paramedic service Magen David Adom. A building in Ashdod was also hit, lightly wounding four, Israeli police said.

The military hit 130 targets in Gaza, including two tunnels militants were digging under the border with Israel, Conricus said. He did not address Gaza Health Ministry reports about the dead children.

In Gaza, most of the deaths were attributed to airstrikes. However, seven of the deaths were members of a single family, including three children, who died in an explosion in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. It was not clear if the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike or errant rocket.

Dozens of mourners took part in the funeral of Hussein Hamad, an 11-year-old boy who was among the dead.

Israel struck scores of Gaza homes in its 2014 war with Hamas, arguing it was aiming at militants, but also killing many civilians. The practice drew broad international condemnation at the time. Israel’s latest tactics in Jerusalem have drawn angry reactions from leaders from the Arab and Muslim world.

___

Federman reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Karin Laub in the West Bank, Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed.


Israel: Hamas launches rocket attack on Tel Aviv

Hamas has launched a rocket attack on Tel Aviv, with a direct hit on a building leaving at least one person dead, Israeli media reports.

Transport authorities closed Israel’s main Ben Gurion airport as explosions broke out across the city on Tuesday evening.

Residents ran for shelter as hundreds of rockets exploded and warning sirens blared throughout Tel Aviv.

Hamas said in a statement it had fired 130 towards the city and its suburbs as weeks of tensions with Israel escalated into some of the most violent scenes since the war of 2014.

The attack on the building took place in the suburb of Holon, killing a 50-year-old Israeli woman, according to local medics.

An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attack in Tel-Aviv
Image:An Israeli app that monitors rocket fire shows the extent of the attack in Tel Aviv

Two Israeli women had already been confirmed dead in airstrikes on two houses in the city of Ashkelon, near the Gaza strip.

The deaths came after Israeli fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones hit more than 130 “Hamas military targets”, including the home of a Hamas commander, according to the Israeli military.

Twenty-six Palestinians, including nine children, died as a result.

The airstrikes were a retaliation for a barrage of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza on Monday, including six rockets which landed near Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday his forces would launch larger attacks.

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Source: Sky News

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