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Gaza Flare-up: Thirty-five Killed in Gaza, Five in Israel as Violence Escalates

Israel says it assassinated senior Islamic Jihad, Hamas operatives ■ 35 Gazans, including 12 children, reported killed ■ Direct hit to Israeli houses, dozens wounded, as Iron Dome battery malfunctions

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The bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon after rocket fire, today.
The bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon after rocket fire, today.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
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Haaretz

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Fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated Wednesday in what was the heaviest conflict since a 2014 war in Gaza. Five were killed in Israel and at least 35 in the Strip in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years.

Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza, as Palestinian militants fired hundreds of rockets at central Israel and its south.The fighting prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.

The Israeli military boosted its presence along the border. Authorities called on local residents to remain at home and near bomb shelters until further notice. Violent clashes between police and protesters spread through Arab cities inside Israel, with one man shot dead.

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9:32 A.M. More than 200 patients hae been treated in hospitals

The aftermath in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon following a heavy barrage on Tel Aviv area, today. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Hospitals in the center and south of the country have treated more than 200 casualties in the past day as a result of rocket fire from Gaza or violent incidents that took place Tuesday night.

Seven have been in serious condition, while most of those treated have been experiencing anxiety or were injured while on their way to a shelter.

At Wolfson Medical Center, four patients are hospitalized in critical condition, including a five-year-old girl who was hit Tuesday by a rocket near a bus in Holon.

Rockets are fired from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, toward Israel.Credit: MOHAMMED ABED - AFP

At the Rambam Medical Center, an 84-year-old man in serious condition was injured when a hotel in Acre was set on fire, and a 16-year-old girl who was slightly injured in the face by a stone.

Israeli airstrike on Gaza residential tower

At the Galil Medical Center in Nahariya, four policemen were treated after being injured by stone-throwing during a demonstration in Acre, as well as a municipal inspector who was hit in the head and a young man who was injured in the leg during the demonstration. The hospital also treated a 17-year-old boy and a 76-year-old woman who suffered from smoke inhalation as a result of the hotel in Acre being set on fire. (Haaretz)

9:29 A.M. Mansour Abbas calls on end to violent protests

United Arab List Leader Mansour Abbas called for an end to the violence that has taken place in Israeli cities over the last two days.

He said, "Protests in Arab society are moving in a very dangerous direction, as popular protests have escalated into violence. This is a threat to peace for young Arabs. I call on everyone to behave responsibly and to adhere to the rule of law. I call on our leadership to act accordingly and to call on everyone to calm down and protect public order." (Jack Khoury)

8:45 A.M. IDF intercepted drone crossing from Gaza into Israel

Jerusalem, united in violence, marks bloody anniversary today. LISTEN

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The IDF announced Wednesday morning that they intercepted a drone crossing from Gaza into Israeli territory. (Yaniv Kubovich)

8:44 A.M. Hundreds threw stones at police on Temple Mount, 7 arrested

The police announced Wednesday morning that hundreds of masked men threw stones and objects at police officers, and that seven of them were arrested. The police added that there are thousands of worshippers, and that they are maintaining quiet. (Nir Hasson)

8:43 A.M. Father and daughter killed in Lod had no bomb shelter

Nadine and Khalil Awaad, the father and daughter who were killed during rocket attacks on their village of Dhamas near Lod, had no way of defending themselves from the rocket fire. Like the other homes in their village, they had no bomb shelter. Their relative, Ismail Arafat, lives there as well and has been part of leading the struggle for recognition of the village. 

“We have nowhere to go. We don’t have a bomb shelter here for everyone. For the Thai [migrant] workers they built shelters, but we were not allowed because we are not humans. Nadine and Khalil were in the middle of breakfast before fasting. It seems that he opened the door and that’s how he was hit.” (Bar Peleg)

7:58 A.M. Hamas: airstrikes destroyed all Gaza police buildings

Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip have destroyed all police buildings in the coastal territory, according to Gaza's Hamas-led Interior Ministry.

The buildings were shelled by fighter jets, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday morning. (DPA)

7:50 A.M. Public transportation reduced from Gaza border communities

The Home Front Command announced that public transportation will be reduced from Gaza border communities to central Israel.

7:31 A.M. IDF: 850 rockets fired from beginning of escalation

An IDF spokesman said that since the beginning of the escalation on Tuesday, about 850 rockets had been fired at Israel. Between 85-90 percent of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome.

A house damaged by a Gaza rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.Credit: JACK GUEZ - AFP

The IDF has attacked about 500 targets in the Gaza Strip and over Tuesday night attacked two towers. The IDF intends to attack underground targets. The armor division and paratroopers "are preparing according to the operational plans approved for war in Gaza in the past year."

The IDF also said that during the night, it began arresting senior Hamas figures in the West Bank. (Yaniv Kubovich)

7:09 A.M. Palestinian killed in Ramallah by IDF

A Palestinian was killed by IDF fire in Hebron, the Ministry of Health in Ramallah said. (Haaretz)

6:20 A.M. IDF strikes homes of senior Hamas officials

The Israeli army says it destroyed the homes of three senior Hamas officials in Gaza. (Haaretz)

Some 200 Gaza rockets fired at Israel. A home in the coastal city of Ashkelon suffered a direct hit, this morning.Credit: Ilan Assayag

6:05 A.M. Death toll in Gaza rises to 35

Gaza's health ministry says the total number of those killed in Israeli attacks now stands at 35, including 12 children and teenagers, and three women. The number of wounded is now 233.

5.31: A.M. IDF kills two top Hamas intelligence leaders

The Israeli army says it killed two "key operatives" from the military intelligence wing of Hamas. (Haaretz)

4:49 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Israeli cities near Gaza

Another round of rocket sirens sound in Israeli cities near Gaza, including Rehovot, Ashdod and Gedera. (Haaretz)

Smoke billows from an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip on Monday.Credit: Mahmud Hams / AFP

4:30: A.M. IDF kills two Hamas operatives in Gaza

The Israeli army says it killed two Hamas operatives in an airstrike in Gaza. The two operatives were involved in firing rockets at Israel, according to the army. (Almog Ben Zikri)

Medics carrying the body of a man killed in Israeli airstrikes that hit his apartment building in Gaza City on Tuesday.Credit: Adel Hana / AP

3:50 A.M. Teen and father killed in rocket attack

A 16-year-old girl and her father, 52, were killed in a rocket attack in the city of Lod in central Israel. (Almog Ben Zikri)

3:41 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in central Israel

An Iron Dome air defense system intercepts a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over central Israel, on Monday.Credit: Ilan Assayag

More rocket sirens sound in central Israeli cities of Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion, and Holon. (Bar Peleg)

3:40 A.M. 84-year-old man injured on his way to bomb shelter

An 84-year-old man is being treated by medics after collapsing on his way to a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv. (Ido Efrati)

3:38 A.M. Gaza rocket hits house in Israeli city

A house in the town of Yehud in central Israel was hit directly by a rocket from Gaza. (Bar Peleg)

3:24 A.M. Renewed rocket attacks on Tel Aviv

Rocket sirens sounded in the Tel Aviv area, as well as suburbs of Bat, Yam, Ra'anana, as well as the southern city of Be'er Sheva.

(Haaretz)

00.30 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities

Another round of rocket sirens sounded in Gaza border communities overnight Tuesday, just hours after a barrage of rockets were fired at central Israel. (Haaretz)

TUESDAY

11:36 P.M. Schools close in central Israel after rocket barrage 

Following the rocket barrage from Gaza over central Israel, schools will be closed on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Herzliya, Holon, Lod and a number of other cities. (Almog Ben Zikri)

11:19 P.M. 30 killed and 200 injured in Israeli attacks in Gaza

Gaza's Health Ministry says 30 people have been killed in Israeli attacks, and 200 injured. (Haaretz)

11:00 P.M. Israel resumes flights

Israel has resumed flights after briefly halting all take-offs on Tuesday night over rocket fire by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Airports Authority said. (Reuters)

10:58 P.M. U.S. puts brake on UN statement

The United States is delaying United Nations Security Council efforts to issue a public statement on escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians because it could be harmful to behind-the-scenes efforts to end the violence, according to diplomats and a source familiar with the U.S. strategy.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Washington is "actively engaged in diplomacy behind the scenes with all parties to achieve a ceasefire" and was concerned that a council statement might be counterproductive at the moment.

The Security Council privately discussed on Monday clashes in East Jerusalem around al-Aqsa mosque. The holy city has been tense during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with the threat of a court ruling evicting Palestinians from homes claimed by Jewish settlers adding to the friction.

Before a further upsurge of violence, the 15-member Security Council began discussions on a draft statement that would express concern about the clashes and the potential evictions, call on Israel to cease Jewish settlement activities, demolitions and evictions, and urge general restraint.

Such statements have to be agreed by consensus. But diplomats said the United States, a close ally of Israel, told council counterparts that the body should not issue a statement at the moment. (Reuters)

10:56 P.M. Netanyahu, Gantz warn Gaza groups, say campaign 'will take time'

"Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid – and will pay – a heavy price for their aggression," Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu said in a statment Tuesday. "It will take time. We’ll restore security for the citizens of Israel," he added. 

Benny Gantz, who spoke after Netayahu, said: “We have the right and the duty to act” against violations of our sovereignty."

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi added: "We are ready to expand the fight as much as needed. We are determined to hurt the terror groups in a very serious way." (Haaretz)

10:51 P.M. Head of Hamas' political bureau 'Gaza must respond for the protection of Jerusalem'

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas' political bureau, has said Tuesday night: "Gaza must respond for Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and for the protection of Al-Quds."

Haniyeh also praised Israeli Arabs who clashed with police throughout Israel in recent days. (Jack Khouri)

10:44 P.M. Senior U.S. Officials Speak With Israeli, Palestinian Counterparts in Gaza Deescalation Bid

Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have spoken with Israeli officials in a bid to de-escalate the latest round of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday that Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman have each spoken with their Israeli counterparts, as well as Palestinian officials, over the past 72 hours. Price declined to identify which specific Palestinian officials participated in the conversations. (Ben Samuels)

>> Click here to read full report.

10:43 P.M. One foreign worker, one house in south Israel hit after mass rocket shooting

One house in the Israeli communities around the Gaza border sustained a direct rocket hit in a recent barrage. No casualties were reported.

A foreign worker was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva with moderate wounds, following the same barrage. (Almog Ben Zikri)

9:55 P.M. German foreign minister condemns rocket attack on Israel

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned on Tuesday rocket attacks on Israel, saying they must end immediately after Gaza's Islamist ruler Hamas said it had fired over 130 rockets toward Tel Aviv in response to an Israeli air strike.

"The rocket attack on Israel is absolutely unacceptable and must end immediately. Israel has in this situation the right to self-defence. This escalation of violence can be neither tolerated nor accepted," Maas tweeted. (Reuters)

9:53 P.M. White House condemns ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel

The White House on Tuesday condemned ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups against targets in Israel and said Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself.

"Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith around the world, must be a place of co-existence," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. She said the primary U.S. focus is on de-escalation. (Reuters)

21:37 P.M. Israeli woman dead, eight injured after heavy rocket barrage to central Israel

Israeli woman killed in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Leziyon following a direct rocket hit to a residential building.

Eight Israelis were reported injured after the heavy barrage to central Israel. Four in the central city of Holon and four in the Tel Aviv subrub of Givatayim. (Haaretz)

9:35 P.M. Israel closes off airspace

The Israel Airports Authority said it had halted take-offs at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport "to allow defence of (the) nation's skies." (Haaretz)

9:23 P.M. Two rockets land about 100 km north of Gaza

Two rockets landed in the Israeli Arab city of Qalansawe and the nearby community of Porat, about 100 kilometers (more than 60 miles) north of the Gaza Strip. There was no immediate reports of damage or casulaties. (Josh Breiner)

9:21 P.M. Sderot house takes direct hit; no casualties

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in the border community of Sderot, the municipality said, reporting damage but no casualties. (Almog Ben Zikri)

9:12 P.M. Police report direct hit in Tel Aviv suburb

Israeli police reported a rocket hit the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Leziyon. There was no immediate report of damage or casulaties. (Bar Peleg)

9:10 P.M. Four Israelis wounded in Tel Aviv suburb

Medical emergency teams reported four Israelis were wounded, two in serious condition after a rocket hit a bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon. A 50-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman and a 5-year-old girl in serious condition were taken to hospital. (Bar Peleg)

9:10 P.M. Hamas says more than 130 rockets fired at Tel Aviv

Hamas said it had fired over 130 rockets toward Tel Aviv on Tuesday night in response to an Israeli air strike that had flattened a tower block in the Strip.

"We are carrying (out) now our promise (by) launching a massive rocket strike against Tel Aviv and its suburbs, with 130 rockets, in response to the enemy's targeting of residential towers,” Hamas's armed wing said in a statement. (Reuters)

8:49 P.M. Sirens sound in Tel Aviv

Sirens warning of incoming rocket fire blared in Tel Aviv and central Israel on Tuesday night, Reuters witnesses said.

The sounds of multiple explosions were also heard, just minutes after Gaza militants Hamas and Islamic Jihad vowed to respond to an Israeli air strike on a residential tower in the Strip earlier in the night. (Reuters)

8:43 P.M. Islamic Jihad to fire rockets at Tel Aviv at 9 P.M.

A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad military wing said the militant group will fire rockets at Tel Aviv at 9 P.M. in response to an Israeli strike that took down a 13-story building in Gaza City, used by Hamas leadership. (Jack Khoury)

8:28 P.M. Israeli strike hit residential building in Gaza, army says

Israeli airstrike hit an apartment building in Gaza, the army confirmed on Tuesday.

The tower, which collapsed following the airstrike, houses an office that is used by the political leadership of Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas.

"We expect that this powerful attack on the high-rise building, which shook all of Gaza, will lead to extensive shooting toward Israel," the IDF spokesperson said. (Haaretz, Rueters)

8:17 P.M. Gaza residential tower collapses in Israeli airstrike, witnesses say

A 13-story residential tower in the Gaza Strip was hit by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday night and soon after collapsed to the ground, witnesses said, amid a surge of fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.

Residents of the tower and people living nearby had been warned to evacuate the area around an hour before the air strike, witnesses said. It was not immediately clear if the building had been fully evacuated, or if there were casualties. (Reuters)

8:12 P.M. Red Cross urges all sides in Gaza conflict to step back

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on all sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas-run Gaza on Tuesday to de-escalate the violence that has killed at least 30 people and reminded them of the rules of war.

The ICRC regional director for the Middle East, Fabrizio Carboni, said in a statement sent to Reuters that international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks against civilians, any attack must be proportionate, and all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties. (Reuters)

7:47 P.M. UN working to de-escalate tensions between Israel, Palestinians

The United Nations is urgently working to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is saddened by "the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said

"Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centers is unacceptable," Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday. (Reuters)

7:45 P.M. Nearly 500 rockets fired at Israel

Approximately 480 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel so far in the current flare-up, including 150 that fell inside the Strip, the Israeli army spokesman reported. Israel's Iron Dome missile-interception system has intercepted 200 rockets, the spokesman's office added. (Haaretz)

7:19 P.M. Hamas says would target 'skyscrapers in Tel Aviv' if Israeli strikes persist

A spokesman for the Hamas military wing warned in a statement the group would target “skyscrapers in Tel Aviv” should Israel “continue its aggression,” in the form of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The attack, Abu Ubaida added, “will be much worse than what happened in Ashkelon,” where two women were killed earlier on Tuesday after a house took a direct hit. (Jack Khoury)

7:10 P.M. Egypt begins mediation between Israel, Gaza groups, Al Arabiya reports

Egyptian mediators are in talks with armed groups in the Gaza Strip in a bid to secure a cease-fire, sources told Al Arabiya network. According to the report, Cairo has asked Israel to stop its airstrikes in the Hamas-controlled Strip, and Israel conveyed a demand to halt all rocket fire at its territory. Sources said indirect negotiations are ongoing. (Haaretz)

6:46 P.M. Iron Dome battery covering Ashkelon malfunctioned

An Iron Dome air defense battery covering the southern city of Ashkelon experienced malfunctions for several hours. During that time, rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip targeted the city and killed two residents after a direct hit to a house. (Almog Ben Zikri)

6:28 P.M. Israeli military says it killed Hamas' anti-tank unit chief

The Israeli military said it started a "massive wave" of strikes, targeting dozens of locations from which rockets were fired from within the Gaza Strip.

According to the Israeli military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman, about 150 targets were hit. One of the strikes, according to Zilberman, killed the head of Hamas' anti-tank unit in Gaza City. The Gazan group did not confirm the claim by Israel that identified the Hamas operative as Iyad Sharir.

Zilberman said rocket launchers were placed by Gazan militants in residential areas, saying "it is possible" civilians would be affected. (Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury)

6:00 P.M. Israeli defense officials rejected int'l mediation

Israeli defense officials rejected international mediation offers over the past day, but some officials say indirect talks on restoring calm between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza could start as early as Wednesday. 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz told a press briefing that Israel aims to “deal a hard blow to Hamas, and I believe we can achieve it.”

He added that airstrikes on Gaza “will continue over the next hours and days.” (Yaniv Kubovich)

5:55 P.M. Rocket hits state-owned energy facility in southern Israel 

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a strategic facility near the city of Ashkelon, belonging to Petroleum & Energy Infrastructures (PEI), Israel’s state-owned national fuel and energy infrastructure corporation.

According to the company, the rocket hit a fuel tank that caught on fire, but said that firefighters put it out. The fire caused only minor damage to the facility. (Almog Ben Zikri)

5:44 P.M. Gaza authorities: 28 dead over past two days, 8 today

Gaza authorities revised the number of deaths in Israeli strikes in the past two days up to 28, eight of them on Tuesday. The deaths reportedly include 10 children and a woman.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, 152 Palestinians were wounded. (Jack Khoury)

5:32 P.M. Jordan Foreign Minister: 'Israel is playing with fire'

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi commented on the escelating violence between Israel and Gaza, saying that "Israeli aggression and arrogance will have consequences for Jordan-Israel relations." 

"Israel is playing with fire and pushing the region into instability," he added. (Jonathan Lis)

5:15 P.M. Renewed Israeli strikes targeting Hamas structures, reports say

Palestinian media reported renewed Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, targeting at least 14 structures used by Hamas in the northern Strip.

Moments earlier, it was reported that the Israeli military warned residents of the Hamas-controlled enclave to stay away from buildings used by the militant group. (Haaretz)

4:58 P.M. Erdogan reaching out to Muslim leaders regarding Israel

The office of Turkey's president says he is engaged in intense telephone diplomacy in a bid to end Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians.

Since late Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken to Malaysia’s king and the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, as he seeks a strong stance by Muslim nations against Israel, according to Erdogan’s office.

The Turkish president, who has strongly denounced Israel’s actions against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the fast month of Ramadan, has also spoken to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief, Ismail Haniyeh.

The latest round of fighting comes as Turkey has reportedly been seeking to restore ties with Israel. The two countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2018, after the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking mass protests by Palestinians.

Late on Monday, thousands of protesters marched to Israel’s embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul to protest Israel, ignoring Turkey’s COVID-19 restrictions. (AP)

4:24 P.M. Gantz: Hamas, Islamic Jihad will suffer a serious blow

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that he has held a series of discussions and situation assessments with defense officials and the regional leadership of Israeli communities near the Gaza border.

He emphasized that the IDF has and will continue to deal heavy blows to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. "For every day that they shoot at Israeli citizens, we will send them back years," he said. (Haaretz)

4:21 P.M. Netanyahu: Israel will step up Gaza strikes

Israel will step up its Gaza strikes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday after a surge in cross-border Palestinian rocket launches killed two women in Ashkelon.

"At the conclusion of a situational assessment, it was decided that both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased," he said in video statement. (Reuters)

3:52 P.M. Sirens sound in Sderot, Gaza border communities

Rocket alert sirens sounded in the city of Sderot and other towns in the border region near the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)

3:40 P.M. Ashkelon Hospital treating 61 injured from rockets

Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon announced that it is treating 61 wounded following the rocket attacks in Ashkelon, of which 32 patients are in the emergency room.

Of the patients, one is in serious condition, one is moderately injured, and the rest are are lightly injured or suffering from anxiety.(Almog Ben Zakri)

3:26 P.M. Israeli army kills senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative

The Israeli army assassinated the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, Samah Abed al-Mamluk, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security agency said in a joint statement.

“The IDF and Shin Bet carried out an attack on a hiding place where a number of senior militants of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization were."

“As a result of this operation, the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, Samah Abed al-Mamluk was killed. Other senior activists of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s rocket force were killed in the attack. The militants killed were commanded many terror attacks carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including in the current escalation.” (Haaretz)

3:16 P.M. Two women killed during Gaza rocket fire in Ashkelon

A caregiver was killed and an elderly woman was seriously wounded after a rocket fired from Gaza directly hit a residential area in Ashkelon.

Another woman was killed by a separate direct hit to a house in Ashkelon. Five more people were mildly wounded by shrapnel. (Haaretz)

2:49 P.M. Rivlin tells ambassadors that no other country would accept this situation

President Reuven Rivlin met today with ambassadors from the European Union regarding the violence going on in Gaza.

Rivlin said that "Yesterday Jerusalem was attacked. Since rockets have been shot at our cities, and thousands of children are with their parents in bomb shelters. No country in the world would accept this situation. We will take all necessary steps to defend our citizens.” (Haaretz)

2:57 P.M. One seriously injured and one critically injured by Gaza rocket fire 

An Israeli woman was seriously injured and a man was critically injured after a house was directly hit by a rocket fired from Gaza.

(Haaretz)

2:45 P.M. Arab League to meet to discuss the growing violence

The Arab League is set to meet, at the request of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, to discuss the spiraling violence in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. (Jack Khoury)

2:30 P.M. IDF orders Ashkelon residents to stay in shelters until further notice

The IDF Spokesperson has told the residents of the southern Israel city of Ashkelon to remain in sheltered areas until further notice.

Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam also urged residents not to leave their homes, and to stay in protected areas. (Almog Ben Zikri)

2:17 P.M. Hamas says 137 rockets fired at Israel in five minutes

Abu Obeida, the spokesman for Hamas' military wing, said the Islamist group fired 137 rockets at Ashkelon and Ashdod over a five-minute period and warned that it has “many more.” (Jack Khoury)

2:03 P.M. Twenty-six killed, 122 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza, Palestinian Health Ministry says

1:51 P.M. Gaza rocket hits empty Israeli school in Ashkelon

An empty school in Ashkelon was directly hit by rocket fire on Tuesday, the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority reported.

Firefighters are searching the building to ensure that nobody is trapped under the rubble. (Almog Ben Zikri)

1:30 P.M. Israeli military chief says ready for 'indefinite' escalation

At Tuesday's situation assessment, Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said all IDF units must prepare for a wider campaign of an indefinite duration. He ordered that attacks continue on Hamas and Islamic Jihad facilities for weapons manufacturing and storage – and for the onslaught to be expanded to additional targets.

Kochavi said attacks must also continue on "every Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorist" wherever they are – he ordered the Gaza Division to be reinforced, including infantry and armored brigades, alongside higher preparedness for air defense, intelligence and air force units. 

The effort would continue so that residents of the south can live in safety, Kochavi said, adding that after the one-day Shavuot holiday that ends Monday evening, the IDF will consider whether to resume the Chariots of Fire training exercise that was suspended. (Yaniv Kubovich)

1:29 P.M. Islamic Jihad operatives killed in Israeli attack on Gaza, report says

Three senior Islamic Jihad operatives were killed Tuesday in an Israeli strike on an apartment building in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood.

Eight others were wounded in the attack. According to reports, one of the dead was Mohammed Abu al-Ata, a senior commander in Islamic Jihad’s rocket division, and the brother of Baha Abu al-Ata, who was killed by Israel in 2019 along with Kamal Karike and Sameh al-Mamluk.

1:19 P.M. Israeli home suffers direct hit amid heavy rocket fire

A rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in Ashkelon. Magen David Adom is treating four people who were lightly injured by shards of glass. There were also 17 people being treated for trauma. (Haaretz)

1:17 P.M. Hamas says operatives killed in Israeli strike

Hamas announced Tuesday that several Hamas operatives had been killed and some were missing following an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip. According to reports, the attack took place on a tunnel where a number of Hamas operatives were stationed.

1:10 P.M. Gaza rocket fire expands beyond border communities 

Sirens have sounded in many Israeli towns as rocket fire from Gaza expanded well beyond the border fence. 

This included Ashdod, Ashkelon and Bnei Ayish. Sirens were also heard at the kibbutzim of Hatzor Ashdod, Zikim and Yad Mordechai, as well as the moshavim of Netiv Ha'asara and Be'er Tuvia. (Haaretz)

12:16 P.M. Two killed in attack on apartment building in Gaza

Two people were killed and eight were wounded in a strike on an apartment building in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City.

The attack reportedly targeted Islamic Jihad operatives.

(Jack Khoury)

12:05 P.M. Hamas: Attacks to continue until Israel changes policies

Hamas said Tuesday that "resistance to the occupation will continue regardless of the extent of the sacrifice, and until Israel changes its policies."

Hamas said it would respond with force to every attack. "Israel planned to attack the homes of innocent civilians, and the number of casualties attests to the scope of their crimes," it said. (Jack Khoury)

11:56 A.M. Gantz authorizes IDF to call up 5,000 reservists

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has authorized the IDF to call up 5,000 reserve soldiers in an unusual call to several units including the Southern Command, the Home Front Command and the Operations Directorate.

The goal is to continue the current effort, Operation Guardian of the Walls, and strengthen the defense of the home front. (Yaniv Kubovitch)

11:41 A.M. Gantz holds situation assessment with IDF officials 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has held a situation assessment on the situation in Gaza with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior defense officials.

Gantz instructed the IDF to continue with its gradual but powerful attacks against Hamas and approved the IDF’s recommendations for continued operations.

Gantz told the military to support and prepare the home front, also  telling the IDF to prepare to rebut false claims by the Palestinians.

He also approved the request of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana for eight companies of Border Police as reinforcements.

(Yaniv Kubovich

11:27 A.M. Over 30 sent to Ashdod hospital after rocket attack

As of Tuesday morning, 31 people had been admitted to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashdod after sustaining wounds as rockets rained down from Gaza.

Of the 31, one person was in serious condition, one was moderately wounded and 21 were lightly wounded.

Among the wounded are four members of one family from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, and five children. (Almog Ben Zikri)

10:36 A.M. Rocket barrages fired at southern Israel

Rockets have been fired from Gaza at southern Israel, with warning sirens sounding in communities in the Ashkelon and Western Negev regions.

Three rocket barrages were fired at Ashkelon, the Eshkol region and the Hof Ashkelon region. Two more barrages were fired at the Sha’ar Hanegev region. Another round was later fired at the Sha’ar Hanegev region and the city of Sderot.  (Haaretz) 

10:26 A.M. Israeli military strikes Hamas' missile launchers

The Israel Defense Forces reported that it hit a cell of anti-tank launchers belonging to Hamas on Tuesday. (Yaniv Kubovich)

9:50 A.M. Ashkelon hospital updates injury count to 19

The Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon reported that one person in its care is in a serious condition, another in a moderate condition, with 17 more patients lightly injured following the rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Seven more people are being treated for trauma, the hospital added. (Haaretz)

9:35 A.M. Sirens sound again in Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon

The southern city of Ashkelon has been put on red alert once again on Tuesday morning in anticipation of rockets from the Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)

8:59 A.M. Israeli Arab students announce solidarity strike with Gaza, Jerusalem

Israel's Arab citizens across the country will strike on Tuesday in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza, following the violent escalation on Monday night which left 24 Palestinians dead in the strip and hundreds more injured in both locations. 

Classes in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will also take place online in light of the security situation. (Yanal Jbareen)

8:47 A.M.  Israel's police commissioner, minister to send major reinforcements to demonstrations

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai will send eight additional companies of Border Police to shore up the situation, with demonstrations spreading across Israel.

On Monday evening, protests took place in major cities across Israel in solidarity with Jerusalem and Gaza, with some turning violent. In Lod, one Arab man was shot and killed by a Jewish resident after 200 masked protesters began burning trashcans and hurling stones. (Josh Breiner)

8:30 A.M. IDF Spokesperson says attacks will intensify in coming days

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman warned that the Israeli army has its “foot on the gas” and that attacks on the Gaza Strip are likely to intensify in the coming days.

Zilberman said that the Israeli army killed 15 Hamas operatives and struck 140 targets. This included sites manufacturing and storing rockets, training and military complexes, as well as two underground tunnels and the home of a battalion commander. He estimated that the round of violence will continue for "days." 

"There is one address in Gaza: it is called Hamas," Zilberman said, and said the army intends to attack it "with great force." (Haaretz)

7:54 A.M. Gaza Health Ministry reports 24 dead 

Gaza's Health Ministry updated its death toll on Tuesday morning to 24, including 9 children, following a night of Israeli strikes. The ministry also added that 103 people were injured in the Strip. (Haaretz)

6:53 A.M. Four of seven injured in Ashkelon rocket attack are couple and their two children

Four of the seven people injured after rockets hit two buildings in Ashkelon are members of the same family. The father, 40, is in moderate-to-serious condition and sustained a blow to the head; the mother (39) is in moderate condition; and the two children, ages 6 and 12, were lightly injured.

A 63-year-old man and 82-year-old woman were lightly injured. (Almog Ben Zikri)

6:30 A.M. IDF: Israel hit 130 Gaza targets, about 200 rockets fired from the Strip

Since the latest Gaza operation began Monday night, the Israel Defense Forces say it struck 130 targets in the Strip and hit 15 militants who fired rockets into Israeli territory. Among the targets were weapons factories and depots, training facilities belonging to Hamas and other groups and a Hamas intelligence control room in southern Gaza.

The IDF says it also struck two tunnels on the border with Israel and hit the home of a Hamas commander in a multi-story building. Gaza's Palestinian Health Ministry reported 22 Palestinians killed in the strikes, including nine children and a woman, and 106 injured.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told journalists on Tuesday that the military increased the number of Iron Dome batteries in central Israel in preparation for more rocket strikes.

Thus far, about 200 rockets have been fired into Israeli territory. About a third of the rockets that Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired landed in the Gaza Strip. (Yaniv Kubovich)

6:12 A.M. Seven injured in rocket strikes on Ashkelon

Two buildings in Ashkelon were hit by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Seven people were evacuated to the hospital following the strikes, in light to serious conditions. (Almog Ben Zikri)

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5:47 A.M. Hamas: 'If Israel continues to attack, we will turn Ashkelon into hell' 

The spokesman of Hamas' military wing, Abu Ubaidah, claimed responsibility for the heavy rocket barrage on Ashkelon and Gaza border communities overnight. "We fired rockets at Ashkelon following an Israeli strike that hit a house west of Gaza City. If Israel continues to attack, we will turn Ashkelon into hell," he said. (Jack Khoury)

5:44 A.M. Palestinians: two killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that two more people were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza overnight, raising the death toll to 22. It added that 106 people were wounded in the attacks. (Jack Khoury)

5:43 A.M. Rocket barrages fired at Ashkelon 

Sirens sound in Ashkelon and Gaza border communities as heavy barrages are fired from Gaza. (Almog Ben-Zikri

3:34 Rockets fired at the south

Rockets were fired at Sderot and the Gaza border communities after sirens sounded. (Almog Ben-Zikri

1:33 Rocket sirens sound in the south

After a short lull, rocket alert sirens sounded once again in Sderot and other Gaza border communities in southern Israel. (Almog Ben-Zikri

1:01 A.M. Hamas: Israel has until 2 A.M. to clear forces from Al-Aqsa Mosque

The spokesman of Hamas' military wing, Abu Ubaidah, issued an ultimatum shortly after midnight that if Israel does not stop its "seige" of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas will respond within two hours. (Jack Khoury)

12:12 A.M. IDF names Gaza operation

The Israeli military announced that the latest operation in Gaza is called Guardian of the Walls. (Yaniv Kubovich)

12:04 A.M. Rocket hits home in southern Israel

A home in the Gaza border community of Nir Am sustained a direct hit by a rocket fired from the Strip. No casualties are reported, but the home and property were damaged in the strike. (Almog Ben Zikri

MONDAY

11:50 P.M. Kerem Shalom crossing closed

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Gen. Ghassan Alian, announced after a security assessment that the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which goods are transferred to the Gaza Strip from Israel, be immediately closed until further notice.  

11:22 P.M. Army says 150 Gaza rockets fired at Israel

Some 150 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip throughout the day, the Israeli military said in a statement.

Air defense systems intercepted dozens of them, the military added. (Yaniv Kubovich)

11:06 P.M. Five Tel Aviv-area suburbs call off school Tuesday

Five major Tel-Aviv suburbs have called off all school classes on Tuesday amid the recent escalation and fear of rocket fire. In a joint statement, the five mayors said: "we are not compromising when it comes to the safety of our inhabitants, children and teaching staff."

The towns, which are south of Tel Aviv itself, are Rishon Letzion, Bat Yam, Holon, Nes Tziona and Rehovot. )Bar Peleg)

10:52 P.M. Israeli army strikes Hamas tunnel, killing militants

Israeli army jets attacked a Hamas tunnel Monday evening, the Israeli army said in a statement.

The tunnel, according to the army, was to be used to help militants carry out attacks in Israel. Several Hamas militants were killed in the attack, the army added. (Yaniv Kubovich)

10:38 P.M. Gaza rocket causes damage to property in south Israel

A rocket that landed in the Israeli town of Sderot on the Gaza border, caused minor damage to a nearby building. No casualties were reported. (Almog Ben Zikri)

10:32 P.M. Blinken says rocket attacks on Israel must stop 'immediately'

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel should stop "immediately," and he urged all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation.

"I am deeply concerned about the rocket attacks," Blinken said in brief remarks ahead of his meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department. Safadi also said the focus was to ensure the escalation stopped. (Reuters)

For previous updates click here

Israeli bomb disposal officer carrying a rocket shrapnel, today.Credit: Emil Salman

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