Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians erupted further on Tuesday as Palestinian rebels in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, prompting Israel to increase airstrikes on the coastal enclave as violence spread to cities and towns outside of Jerusalem.
According to Palestinian health officials, Israeli bombing raids across Gaza have killed at least 28 people, including ten children, and wounded at least 152 more. In addition, Israel’s military claimed to have killed over 15 militants.
Meanwhile, in Israel, sirens wailed Tuesday continuously in Ashkelon, where two people were killed by rocket fire, an Israeli military spokesman said. At least 50 explosions were heard in the coastal town near Gaza, and rocket fire was also reported in Ashdod. At least 17 Israeli civilians have been treated for rocket-related injuries, the military said. Since Monday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza have launched at least 500 rockets into Israel. The militants say it responds to Israeli police firing stun grenades inside Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque on Monday morning. Hundreds of Palestinians were hospitalized after clashes with Israeli police, the city’s worst violence in weeks. Long-running clashes between Palestinians throwing rocks and Israeli police shooting rubber-coated bullets were captured on video from the compound.
According to Hamas, “as long as the Israeli occupation commits crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas, will react and protect Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Gaza Strip.” The statement continues, “we have the right to respond to Israel’s offensive and safeguard our people’s interests as long as the Israeli occupation escalates.”
On Tuesday, there were no signs of de-escalation over Gaza. Israel activated 5,000 reserve soldiers, and an Israeli military spokesman said the operation in Gaza would be “enhanced” as militants in Gaza increased the range of their rocket fire. The Israeli military had conducted out more than 150 attacks in Gaza on Tuesday afternoon, the spokesperson said.
Numerous fatalities have been recorded in strikes in northern Gaza’s Beit Hanoun neighborhood. Amira Abdel-Fattah, 57, was among those killed in her apartment, along with her special needs son Ibrahim al-Masri, 11, and his brother Marwan, 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israel’s army says it is conducting an investigation.
A Palestinian resident of Gaza told CNN over the phone that the sounds of Israeli attacks during the night, as well as outgoing rocket fire, were “horrifying.”
The guy, who requested anonymity, described an atmosphere of outrage in Gaza following recent events in Jerusalem. “What has enraged people is the fact that Israelis attacked Al Aqsa during Ramadan, when people were praying,” he said. The man continued by stating that Israel’s actions would only strengthen support for Hamas and that militants should continue firing rockets.
Meanwhile, Arab people of Israel protested in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem on Monday evening and Tuesday in the streets of many Israeli cities and villages, including Haifa and Lod.
A 25-year-old Arab-Israeli man was shot and killed in Lod by a 34-year-old Jewish resident who said he was reacting to stones thrown at him. According to police, two people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Israeli police announced that approximately 150 violent demonstrators had been apprehended in a variety of locations. According to police, rioters assaulted vehicles, threw stones at passing cars, blocked highways, and set fire to trees, tires, and a motorcycle.