Live Updates

Over 400 Gaza Rockets Fired at Israel; One Israeli Killed, Seven Palestinians Said Killed

Rocket fire reaches as far as Be'er Sheva ■ Israel strikes 200 Hamas, Islamic Jihad targets in Strip ■ Schools cancelled across south ■ Source denies cease-fire talks

A house in Ashkelon that was hit by rocket fire from Gaza, May 5, 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

>> Update: After four Israelis and 23 Gazans killed, cease-fire reached between Hamas and Israel

One Israeli was killed by rockets launched from the Gaza Strip amid an ongoing barrage that began Saturday morning, marking a serious flare-up between Israel and the Palestinians a month after Israel held its general election. An additional three Israelis were wounded, one seriously.

Over 250 rockets were launched toward southern and central Israel and dozens have been intercepted, the Israeli military said. 

Six Palestinian, including a pregnant woman and her toddler daughter, are said to have been killed in Israeli strikes. 

>> Read more: Hamas twists Israel's arm right before the Eurovision and Independence Day | Amos Harel ■ Defense sources warned before flare-up: If we don't reach understandings, Hamas will struggle to prevent escalation ■ Gaza factions vowed revenge after four Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes 

A Hamas political source has told Haaretz that the group decided to take serious steps against Israel due to the fact that the Israeli government has been slow in implementing understandings reached between the two parties.

7:04 A.M. Seven Palestinians killed and 47 wounded 

A house in Ashkelon that was hit by rocket fire from Gaza, May 5, 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkowitz

According to Palestinian reports, seven people have been killed in Gaza since the escalation began Saturday morning. The Palestinian count includes the unborn child of Salah Bat Abu Arar, who was eight months pregnant when she was killed in an Israeli strike, and her fourteen month old daughter, Saba Abu Arar. Palestinians report 47 wounded. 

6:41 A.M. 180 rockets fired from Gaza overnight, Israel strikes 60 terror targets in retaliation, IDF says

After 180 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza overnight, Israel struck 60 terror targets in the Strip, according to the Israel Defense Force Spokesperson. Among the targets attacked by Israel are Hamas rocket launch sites in northern Gaza, Hamas weapons manufacturing factories, and a tunnel crossing into Israel from the Strip.

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen in Gaza City, Saturday, May 4, 2019.
Hatem Moussa,AP

Since the escalation began, the Israeli army has identified about 430 rocket launches from Gaza. Israel has attacked over 200 targets in retaliation, and are continuing their assault. 

5:39 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat

After a nearly three-hour lull, rocket sirens sound in southern cities of Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat. Alarms were also activated in the communities of the Lachish, Shafir and the Yoav Regional Council. An IDF spokesperson said of the alarms are being looking into. 

5:32 A.M. Seven different locations where rockets fell identified 

A shrapnel in the window of the house that was hit by a rocket in Ashkelon, May 5, 2019.
Police Spokesperson's Unit

Authorities identify seven different locations where rockets fell including a school and a house which killed a 60-year-old man. 

4:19 A.M. Jason Greenblatt condemns Gaza rockets 

U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt takes to Twitter, backing Israel and condemning rocket fire. 

A picture taken from the Gaza Strip on May 4, 2019 shows missiles being launched toward Israel.
AFP
A video showing the damage of a house that was hit by rocket fire in Ashkelon.

"Hamas & PIJ have engaged in yet another deplorable act of terrorism, indiscriminately firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilian communities. The U.S. stands firmly in support of Israel’s right to self-defense and we call on the international community to do the same."

4:08 A.M. Palestinian media reports death of two Islamic Jihad millitants 

Two Islamic Jihad militants - Mahmoud Issa, 26, and Fawzi Bawadi, 23,- were killed by Israeli strikes near the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

A ball of fire is seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City May 4, 2019.
\ SUHAIB SALEM/ REUTERS

3:59 A.M. Israeli airstrikes targets military positions in Gaza Strip

The Shehab News Agency reports Israeli airstrikes east of Khan Yunis.

2:50 A.M. Israeli killed after rocket hits his residential building in Ashkelon

A 60-year-old Israeli man identified as Moshe Agadi was killed after a rocket his home in the southern city of Ashkelon. The man was evacuated to the nearby Barzilai Hospital after being injured by shrapnel in his chest and abdomen. 

Paramedics who attended to the man said he was unconscious after being hit in the chest. "We gave him life-saving treatment and quickly evacuated him to a hospital while continuing to treat him when his condition was critical," medics Moti Shov, Ben Tetro and Israel Lugasi said.

Missiles fired from Israel's Iron Dome defense system to intercept incoming rockets, Sderot, May 4, 2019.
AFP

Israeli police said the rocket hit the yard of the man's home and further damage was caused to nearby houses. Police sappers came to examine the scene incident.

Ashkelon mayor Tomer Glam said in response to the death: "This is a difficult time for the city of Ashkelon, and we are all mourning, hurt and broken by the tragedy of one of the oldest and most well-known families in Ashkelon. I send from here my best wishes for a speedy recovery and complete healing for the wounded from the last rocket barrage toward the city."

According to Agadi's family, he did not go into the safe room of his home before the rocket hit. 

"He was a good man," his brother-in-law Shimon Almoelem said. "There were alarms, I hopped up and came to run in that direction. I heard him yell and we called an ambulance. There was no noise, no interruptions, there were constant alarms." 

Agadi leaves behind his wife and four children. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with army officials, including Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi, May 4, 2019.
Kobi Gideon/GPO

2:20 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in southern communities including Sderot and Ashkelon

Alarms were activated in the southern cities of Sderot, Ashkelon and Kiryat Malakhi as well as in nearby settlements in the regions of Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council. 

1:46 A.M. Alarms activated in Kiryat Gat, Ofakim and nearby settlements

Rocket sirens sound in southern areas of Kiryat Gat, Ofakim communities of the Yoav Regional Council and Merhavim Regional Council. 

1:43 A.M. 58 Israelis have received medical treatment, MDA reports

A piece of a rocket in front of the house it hit in Nahal Oz, May 4, 2019.
Michal Aharon

Magen David Adom reports 58 civilians as having received medical treatment, including 45 with anxiety since 10 A.M. on Saturday. MDA also reports ten Israelis having been injured following rocket sirens. 

Three have been injured by shrapnel including an 80-year-old woman in Kiryat Gat who was seriously wounded, suffering injuries to her face and legs. A 50-year-old man was moderately injured and a 45-year-old man in the northern Bedouin village of Laqiya was mildly injured in the leg. All three were evacuated to nearby hospitals for treatment. 

1:36 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Kiryat Gat and Yoav Regional Council 

Rocket sirens blare in the southern areas of Kiryat Gat and Yoav Regional Council. 

1:24 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Kiryat Malakhi and Beer Tuvia Regional Council

The scene of the rocket strike in Kiryat Gat, May 4, 2019.
Almog Ben Zikri

A red alert was activated in Kiryat Malakhi near Ashkelon and the Beer Tuvia Regional Council near Israel's southern coastal region. 

1:13 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Eshkol Regional Council 

Rocket sirens go off in Eshkol Regional Council near the Negev. 

1:05 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council

A red alert sirens were activated in the cities of Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The IDF says details are under review.

The house hit by a rocked in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, May 4, 2019.
Israel Police Spokesperson's Office

12:57 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Eshkol Regional Council and Ashkelon 

Rocket sirens alarm in southern communities of Eshkol Regional Council and Ashkelon. In IDF spokesperson says details are under investigation. 

12:57 A.M. Resident of southern Bedouin town says the village underestimates alarms and must take situation more seriously 

A resident of the southern Bedouin town of Laqiya, Imad Abu Bader, told Haaretz that not all the houses in the village have shelters. "We heard an alarm, we are not such people who go to shelters, we went to the roof to see where it falls," he added. "Suddenly I heard a loud boom and saw the fall."

Abu Bader added that there is a problem of easing the alarms in his town. "We underestimate when there is an alarm and we have to take the situation seriously," he said, estimating that many residents will not stay overnight in their homes. "After the fall there were three alarms and everyone ran away, you know what will happen at night."

A rocket from Gaza that landed on Highway 4 near Ashkelon, May 4, 2019.
Almog Ben Zikri

12:32 A.M. Courses in southern Israeli universities cancelled 

The Open University in Lachish announced that there will be no classes on its campuses in Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Rahat and Segev Shalom in addition to the community college in Beit Yatziv in Be'er Sheva. The Achva Academic College in the Negev region has also canceled studies for Sunday.

12:28 A.M. Fire breaks out in Negev after rocket hits area 

A small fire broke out in the Merhavim Regional Council in the western Negev after a rocket fell in an open area. 

12:06 A.M. Islamic Jihad says they will surprise Israel with retaliation 

Iron Dome anti-missile projectiles intercept rockets that were fired from Gaza, above the Israeli city of Ashkelon, Israel May 4, 2019.
REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Islamic Jihad's military wing in Gaza says they will surprise Israel with retaliation for strikes on the Strip. 

11:32 P.M. 45-year-old hit in the leg by shrapnel

A 45-year-old man was hit by a shrapnel in his leg after a rocket struck near his house. There was also damage to the resident's home. 

A MDA spokesperson said that paramedics provided medical treatment to the man. 

11:25 P.M. Alarms sound in Gedera and Lachish Region Council

Israeli military forces near the Gaza border, May 4, 2019.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Rocket alarms sound in the central town of Gedera and the southeastern district of Lachish Region council.

11:10 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in southern Israeli communities

Multiple rocket sirens alarm in southern cities of Be'er Sheva, Omer, Ashkelon and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council. 

10:48 P.M. Fourth Palestinian man said killed by Israeli strikes 

A fourth Palestinian man was reported killed by Israeli strikes Saturday night. The man, identified as Khaled Abu Khalik, died in an Israeli strike on the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza's Health Ministry said. According to the ministry, four people died in Israeli strikes in Gaza on Saturday, and eight more died on Friday. 

10:21 P.M. Israeli army has identified 250 rockets fired from Gaza

The Israeli army said that 250 rockets have been fired toward Israel since Saturday morning. According to the military's spokesperson's unit, the Iron Dome has intercepted dozens of rockets.

8:56 P.M. European Union calls for an end to rocket fire

The European Union released a statement calling for an end to the rocket fire from Gaza. "A de-escalation of this dangerous situation is urgently needed to ensure that civilians' lives are protected. Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace, security and dignity," the statement said. "Only a political solution can put an end to the violence. Efforts by Egypt and the UN to calm the situation have the European Union’s full support."

8:47 P.M. Schools close in Israel's south as rocket barrage continues

Schools and college's in Israel's south will not hold classes on Sunday as rocket fire continues.

8:37 P.M. 120 terror targets struck by Israeli army throughout Gaza 

The Israeli army's spokesperson's unit said that the army struck over the past hour dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror targets throughout the Strip. 

Among the sites targeted are a Hamas weapons manufacturing site dedicated to the creation of rockets. A Hamas military command was also struck, as well as a Hamas military compound used by the group's naval forces for training. 

The Israeli military also attacked two military compounds shared by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. 

8:13 P.M. New round of rockets launched toward south

Rockets were fired at the southern city of Sderot and the Eshkol industrial area. 

8:10 P.M. Pregnant mother of baby killed in Gaza dies

Salah Bat Abu Arar, 37, was confirmed dead Saturday evening. Abu Arar was critically injured in an Israeli airstrike. She was 8 months pregnant. Her infant daughter, Saba Abu Arar, fourteen-months-old, was also killed.

8:03 P.M. French envoy to Israel expresses solidarity with traumatized residents of south

France's Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal tweeted her support of Israel following Saturday's escalation. "Solidary with the people of southern Israel, who are suffering from rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. More than 150 rockets were fired since this morning," she wrote. 

7:39 P.M. Political source says cease-fire is not being discussed

A political source said that there are currently no discussions of a cease-fire.

7:33 P.M. Danny Danon demands UN support Israel's right to self defense and recognize Hamas as a terror organization

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, wrote a letter to the UN Security council and UN Secretary General  Antonio Guterres demanding that the UN "act against terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and support the State of Israel's acts of defense."

"The State of Israel has an obligation and a right to defend its citizens and its sovereignty at any price and not to suffer terrorist actions aimed at our country," Danon wrote. Danon called upon the council to "take this opportunity to support Israel's actions and to condemn terror against it and recognize Hamas as a terror organization immediately."

6:49 P.M. One-year-old Gazan baby said killed in Israeli airstrike

Saba Mahmoud Abu Arar, a fourteen-month-old baby girl, was killed in an Israeli air strike in the eastern Gaza Strip, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

According to the report, the child's mother and sister were wounded in the same attack. According to sources in Gaza, the mother is in serious condition.

6:22 P.M. Palestinian factions in Gaza take responsiblity for rockets, threaten to escalate aggression

Palestinian factions in Gaza announced that they are claiming responsiblity for dozens of rockets that were fired toward Israel on Saturday, a statement from a joint situation room shared by Hamas and Islamic Jihad said.

According to the statement, the rocket fire came in response to Israeli aggression and intentional targeting of Palestinian fighters and protesters. "If the aggression continues, our response will be a lot stronger and more serious," they threatened.

6:18 P.M. Israeli army has identified 200 rockets fired from Gaza

The Israeli army said that 200 rockets have been fired toward Israel since Saturday morning. According to the military's spokesperson's unit, the Iron Dome has intercepted dozens of rockets.

5:42 P.M. Israel strikes Islamic Jihad tunnel into Israel

The Israeli army said that it struck an Islamic Jihad tunnel crossing into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip. 

"A short time ago, we attacked a tunnel belonging to Islamic Jihad that crossed into Israeli territory from the southern Strip," the army spokesperson said. "Over the last few weeks Islamic Jihad has invested much effort into the tunnel, in order to use it to attack Israeli territory. We are currently still in the process of the destroying the tunnel."

The army spokesperson added that following discussions with the chief of staff and political leadership, the army will continue attacking Gaza. "We attacked targets today that we were certain had people inside. Islamic Jihad and Hamas are coordinating from a joint situation room, and we see that they are planning to continue these events," he said. "Because I know the army's plans, I can assume that we will see continued rocket fire [from Gaza] throughout the day," he added.

5:04 P.M. Ashkelon's mayor visits sites of rocket strikes

Mayor of Ashkelon, Tomer Glam, visited the sites of rocket strikes throughout the city.

"I wish a quick healing process and a full recovery to those who were injured in Ashkelon and elsewhere, and ask the city's residents not to move around the city and to avoid gathering, we're speaking about a real danger to people's lives," he said, "Teams have been dispatched by the city to the locations [of the three strikes]," he added.

A rocket landed in the Israeli community of Nirim near Gaza, no injuries reported, May 4, 2019.
Eshkol Regional Council Security

4:35 P.M. Security cabinet to convene Sunday

The Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying that the security cabinet is receiving live updates on the situation in Gaza and is expected to convene on Sunday. UN Special Envoy Nickolay Mladenov is in contact with both Israeli and Gazan officials.

4:30 P.M. Israel closes Gaza crossings and cancels permitted fishing zone for Gazans

Israel announced that it was closing the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings as well as revoking the permission it gives Gazans to fish in a defined fishing zone. The move comes as a retaliation for the ongoing rocket fire. 

4:08 A.M. Palestinian media reports death of two Islamic Jihad millitants 

The Shehab News Agency reports the that the Al-Quds Brigade, the military arm of the Islamic Jihad organization, announced the death of two of its fighers- Mahmoud Subhi Issa and Fawzi Bawadi- who died in Israeli shelling near the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. 

4:01 P.M. Rocket hits home in south

A rocket hit a house in the Negev Regional Council, the council's spokesman said. No injuries were reported. 

3:59 A.M. Israeli airstrikes targets military positions in Gaza Strip

The Shehab News Agency reports Israeli airstrikes east of Khan Yunis.

3:53 P.M. Israeli man moderately wounded after rocket hits Ashkelon

A 49-year-old Israeli man was moderately wounded after shrapel from a rocket that fell in Ashkelon hit his arm and leg. A Magen David Adom paramedic recounted that "when we arrived a the scene we saw a fully conscious man with injuries from shrapnel, we gave him medical care and evacuated him to a hospital in moderate and stable condition."

3:44 P.M. Home Front Command issues security warning

The Israeli military's homefront command has issued security warnings according to which gatherings of more than 300 people are not allowed, and bigger gatherings are only permitted to take place in closed spaces within reach of bomb shelters.

3:26 P.M. Rocket alerts blare in south

Rocket alerts sounded in the southern city of Ashkelon and in the Negev Regional Council.

3:22 P.M. Israeli woman seriously wounded after rocket hits high school in south

An 80-year-old woman was seriously wounded following a direct rocket strike to a high school in Kiryat Gat, near Ashkelon. 

Magen David Adom said the woman was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and is being treated for shrapnel wounds to the head and arm. She is in serious but stable condition.

12:42 P.M. Rocket hits house in south

A rocket hit a house in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, resulting in no injuries. Another rocket landed in the Israeli community of Nirim and another landed on Highway 4 near Ashkelon, as the city announced it was opening its bomb shelters. Two more rockets struck Ashkelon and Nahal Oz, respectively, and no injuries have been reported.

Sirens have been sounded as far north as Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem.

Earlier Saturday, the Israeli army continued striking the Strip from the air and with tanks, saying it hit over 30 "terror targets."

The military said its air force attacked two rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip and a tank struck a Hamas post east of Khan Yunis after rockets were launced at multiple Israeli towns, including Ashkelon and Ashdod in the south as well as central Israeli towns near Modi'in and Rehovot, while residents reported hearing blasts.

'As soon as there are Palestinian casualties, we respond with rockets'

Haaretz' Amos Harel explains that the unusual rocket barrage has to do with the Palestinians' growing frustration given the delays in implementing the understandings reached through Egyptian mediation during the time of the Israeli election in early April.

A diplomatic source in Gaza told Haaretz that "Israel cannot shirk its responsibility for the situation we are in," warning against an escalation caused by delays in implementing the understandings.

"Israel asked for calm and got it but in the Strip we felt no improvement and so we made a decision to return to the harsh steps of popular resistance, such as nighttime protests and airborne incendiary balloons. Israeli is responding with attacks from tanks and from the air and the resistance forces will not agree to this. As soon as there are Palestinian casualties, we respond with rockets."

Islamic Jihad spokesperson warned in response that "The Zionist enemy will be very surprised by the response the Palestinian resistance if Israeli aggressiveness continues," saying that "hell is the fate that awaits Israelis if the aggressiveness continues."

The military wing of Islamic Jihad released a video threatening to expand the range of their rocket fire. The video specifically shows the port of Ashdod, Ben Gurion Airport, the nuclear reactor in Dimona and the refineries in Haifa as being within range of their rockets.

The Popular Resistance Committees spokesperson said that Israel is trying to create a reality in which it can attack and not expect a response, but that this will not happen. "We and the other factions will continue to defend the Palestinian people everywhere and we will remain united against the enemy. If it increases its aggressiveness, so will we."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held security consultations with the IDF chief of staff and the head of the National Security Council. 

Kahol Lavan lawmaker Zvi Hauser criticized the prime minister for not convening the security cabinet despite the deterioration on the Gaza Strip. Kahol Lavan chair Benny Gantz slammed Netanyahu as well, blaming the flare-up on "lack of policy" and "response to Hamas' extortion over the past year."

Earlier Saturday, the Israeli military said a rocket landed in near the border fence in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage.

On Friday, an Israeli airstrike on a Hamas outpost in the southern Gaza Strip killed two Palestinians and two others were killed by live Israeli fire in protests along the border, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

The Israeli military struck the Strip Friday after two soldiers were wounded by Palestinian gunfire near the border fence.

The two soldiers, one of whom is an officer, were wounded moderately and lightly and evacuated for further treatment. 

Israeli tanks opened fire on Palestinian protesters east of al-Bureij camp, according to Palestinian sources. Gaza's Health Ministry added that aside from the two Palestinians who were killed, 51 people were wounded by Israeli fire in the weekly demonstration Friday.

The two Palestinians killed are Raed Abu Teir, 19, who was shot by live Israeli fire in a protest east of Khan Younis, and Abdullah Mahmoud Abu Malouh, 33, who was shot in the central Strip.

In addition, the two Palestinians killed in the Israeli airstrike have been identified as Abdullah Abu Malouh, 33, from Nuseirat refugee camp and Alaa al-Bubli, 29, from al-Maghazi refugee camp, both affiliated with Hamas' military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

The joint operations room for Hamas and other Gaza factions announced it is on high alert and preparing a response to the killing of Palestinians. 

The Israel Defense Forces' spokesman said Saturday that some roads and sites along the Gaza border, including the Zikim beach, would be closed off after Friday's incident, which come as Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials are in Egypt in an attempt to bring about a calm in the border.

Islamic Jihad is said to be aware that Israel is avoiding a substantial response ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Palestinian protesters try to climb the border fence with Israel during clashes following a demonstration along the border east of Gaza City on May 3, 2019.
AFP