Gaza terrorists disrupt funeral of 5-year-old victim of rocket attack

Posted May 14, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

IDF said to target homes of senior Hamas commanders as communities in south continue to be bombarded; Shin Bet calls Jewish-Arab violence ‘terror for all intents and purposes’

  • Flames and smoke are seen after an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 13, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
    Flames and smoke are seen after an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 13, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
  • A man inspects damage caused to a building in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, after it was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    A man inspects damage caused to a building in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, after it was hit by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Smoke rises following Israeli missile strikes on Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    Smoke rises following Israeli missile strikes on Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • An IDF artillery unit near the Israel-Gaza border in southern Israel, May 13, 2021. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)
    An IDF artillery unit near the Israel-Gaza border in southern Israel, May 13, 2021. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)
  • Rockets (R) are seen in the night sky fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Iron Dome interceptors rise to meet them. (Photo by ANAS BABA / AFP)
    Rockets (R) are seen in the night sky fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Iron Dome interceptors rise to meet them. (Photo by ANAS BABA / AFP)
  • Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)
    Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)
  • A home in Ashkelon damaged by rocket fire, which left a caregiver dead and an elderly woman badly injured, Tuesday May 12, 2021 (Lazar Berman. Times of Israel)
    A home in Ashkelon damaged by rocket fire, which left a caregiver dead and an elderly woman badly injured, Tuesday May 12, 2021 (Lazar Berman. Times of Israel)
  • Palestinians check the damage caused after a 15-floor building was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
    Palestinians check the damage caused after a 15-floor building was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Friday’s events as they unfold. For a recap of Thursday’s events, click here.

One lightly injured after rocket falls nearby in Beersheba

During the last rocket barrage fired by terror groups in Gaza toward the city of Beersheba, one rocket struck near the Route 40 highway.

One person was lightly wounded, according to medics. Police say part of the highway near Goral Junction has been closed as officers secure the scene.

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Beersheba and surrounding towns

Fresh rockets sirens have been set off in Beersheba and the surrounding towns, sending thousands of Israelis into bomb shelters.

WATCH: Dozens of Lebanese rioters break through border fence, briefly cross into Israel

Lebanese protesters demonstrate along their border with Israel on May 14, 2021. (Scren capture/Twitter)

Lebanese protesters demonstrate along their border with Israel on May 14, 2021. (Scren capture/Twitter)

The IDF says its tanks fired warning shots toward a number of rioters who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory.

The suspects sabotaged the border fence and set a fire in the area before returning to Lebanese territory, the military says.

There are no reports of injuries.

While the IDF speaks of “a number” of protesters, footage from the scene shows dozens crossing into Israel. A handful of the protesters were waving Hezbollah flags.

The incident took place near the Israeli town of Metula.

Gaza terrorists disrupt funeral of 5-year-old victim of rocket attack

As a funeral is held in Kiryat Gat for Ido Avigal — a 5-year-old from Sderot killed Wednesday in a rocket attack — Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fire projectiles at the southern city, forcing mourners to take cover.

The sirens sounded as Ido’s father, Asaf Avigal, finishes a eulogy in which he apologized for not having protected his son, who was killed by shrapnel that pierced through the window of the fortified room where he was sheltering with his mother and sister, both of whom were injured.

Ido Avigal, who was killed in his home in Sderot by a rocket fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021. (Twitter)

The Kan public broadcaster says the timing of the rocket fire was clearly aimed at disrupting the funeral, as Kiryat Gat has not been frequently targeted during the current round of fighting in Gaza, which erupted Monday when the Strip’s Hamas rulers fired rockets at Jerusalem.

Cops arrest 3 suspects after overnight violence in Lod

Police announce the arrests of three suspects over last night’s violence in the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, which the cops say included live fire at officers and the burning of buildings — including synagogues.

“The investigation is continuing,” a police statement says.

More rocket sirens ring out in southern Israeli communities

Rocket sirens sound in numerous communities in southern Israel, including Kiryat Malachi, which the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group earlier claimed to target.

Calling to ‘redeem’ Al-Aqsa, hundreds of Jordanians run toward border with Israel

Hundreds of Jordanians run toward the border with Israel, breaking through a police checkpoint on the Jordanian side, local Jordanian media report.

“With spirit and blood, we shall redeem you, O Aqsa!” the crowd chants, referring to the mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Large numbers of Jordanian security forces appear to be present on the scene.

Thousands of Jordanians also rally in the capital Amman after Friday prayers in protest of Israeli actions in Jerusalem and the current fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers.

IDF said to target Gaza homes of senior Hamas commanders

Israeli aircraft target the Gaza Strip homes of high-ranking Hamas commanders, including the deputy commander of the group’s armed wing, according to Arabic-language media reports.

“Israeli warplanes bombed the homes of the deputy commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Marwan Issa, and commander, Ayman Nofal, in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza City,” Qatar-based Al Araby TV reports.

It is not immediately clear if Issa or Nofal were killed in the strikes.

Gantz urges Facebook, TikTok executives to crack down on social media incitement

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks with executives from Facebook and TikTok, urging them to take a more proactive to removing content that incites violence and terrorism.

“These are measures that will directly prevent the violence that is being intentionally stirred through social media by extremist elements that are seeking to do damage to our country. We are in a moment of social emergency, and we expect your assistance,” Gantz, who is also justice minister, is quoted saying in a statement from his office.

The statement says the executives of the social media firms vowed to “quickly and effectively” address incitement and that they also “relayed their condolences to the Israeli families that have lost loved ones” in the rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.

Meretz MK walks out of TV studio for hosting extremist lawmaker accused of fueling violence

Left-wing Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg walks out of the Channel 12 news studio for hosting extremist MK Itamar Ben Gvir, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing religious bloc who the police chief has blamed for the “internal intifada” in Jewish-Arab cities.

Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharrar says she would also leave the studio but there is no wheelchair ramp.

Hamas claims responsibility for latest rocket volley

The military wing of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group claims responsibility for the latest rocket barrage fired at Israel.

The Al-Qassam Brigades say they targeted the southern city of Kiryat Malachi. However, the most northern location that sirens sounded was Kiryat Gat, some 10 kilometers northeast of Kiryat Malachi.

Defense minister meets with IDF chief, other security officials on Gaza fighting

Defense Minister Benny Gantz holds a situational assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other top security officials “after last night’s attacks and ahead of the continuation of the campaign” in Gaza, his office says.

In this handout photo from his office, Defense Minister Benny Gantz (C), IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi (R) hold an assessment on the ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip, May 14, 2021. (Elad Malka)

Israeli air, ground forces bombard northern Gaza in heaviest strike yet

Posted May 14, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

For 4th night, Hamas fires rockets at central, southern Israel; 87-year-old woman dies after hitting her head while running to bomb shelter; PM vows to exact heavy price from Hamas

An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip early on May 14, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip early on May 14, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces launched a massive bombardment on a large number of targets in the northern Gaza Strip shortly around midnight on Thursday, using both ground and air forces, the military said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to exact a “very heavy price” from Hamas, the Gaza-ruling terror group which has fired some 1,750 projectiles at Israel since Monday afternoon.

After initial confusion on the matter, the IDF clarified that it had not launched a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip during the attack, which reportedly lasted over an hour.

The IDF did not immediately identify its targets in the strike, saying it would do so shortly.

Following the Israeli assault, the Hamas terror group launched multiple waves of rocket attacks on southern and central Israel, firing rockets toward the cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba, Yavne and many surrounding communities.

At least one rocket directly struck a building in the city of Ashkelon, seriously injuring a 60-year-old man, Israeli authorities said. Another landed next to a car, damaging it.

Some of the incoming projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and several landed in open areas, where they caused no damage or injuries.

“I said that we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force,” he said. “The last word has not been said and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore the quiet and security to the State of Israel.

According to the IDF, some 1,750 rockets and mortar shells have been fired toward Israel by terror groups in Gaza since fighting broke out on Monday evening, including 190 projectiles launched between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday. Around 300 of the total projectiles launched landed inside the Palestinian enclave, and in at least one case killed a number of children when the rocket hit a school.

The IDF on Thursday said it had so far bombed upwards of 600 targets in the Strip, over 100 of them in the previous 24 hours.

Earlier in the evening, terrorists in the Strip also launched multiple barrages of rockets toward southern and central Israel, at Ben Gurion Airport and the Shfela region, as well as Tel Aviv. Another barrage targeted Ashdod and Ashkelon, with one rocket landing in the latter city.

A firefighter stands over the impact site of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a building in the city of Ashkelon, injuring a man, on May 14, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)

Another round of rockets aimed at the southern city of Beersheva, with at least three projectiles hitting buildings.

The majority of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system.

During one of the rocket barrages, an 87-year-old woman died after falling and hitting her head while running to a shelter in Shtulim, near Ashdod, Magen David Adom paramedics reported.

The increased death toll came after a number of reports in local Palestinian media of Israeli airstrikes targeting residential areas. Some of those reports claimed entire families were killed in some cases.

Israel maintains that most of those killed in Gaza were terror group members or, in a few cases, died from errant Palestinian rockets.

Earlier Thursday, Hamas operatives fired rockets at the Tel Aviv area and Beersheba and toward Eilat’s airport, in what the terror group said was an act of revenge for its commanders who were killed in Israeli strikes this week.

A few dozen rockets were fired in the attacks, which triggered sirens throughout central Israel and the northern Negev desert.

Earlier in the day, Israel closed Ben Gurion International Airport to incoming passenger flights, diverting them to Eilat’s Ramon Airport. Hamas said it subsequently targeted that airfield as well.

No sirens were heard in the rocket fire toward Eilat, as the projectile landed in an open area far outside the city, where it caused neither injury nor damage.

The military denied Hamas’s claims — widely echoed by Israeli media — that it fired some 100 rockets at central and southern Israel in the afternoon barrage. Rather, the Israel Defense Forces said, the terror group in fact launched 25 to 30 rockets in the attack.

Hamas also said it had launched a number of “suicide drones,” unmanned aerial vehicles carrying explosive payloads, into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The military confirmed downing at least two such drones. Channel 12 news reported that the drones appeared to have primitive capabilities and did not seem to represent a serious danger.

On Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service conducted a large-scale operation targeting a number of top commanders in Hamas, including the head of its Gaza City battalion and several people involved in its weapons production operations in the Strip, the military said.

Following the Thursday afternoon rocket fire, the IDF hit a number of sites in Gaza, including one the military said served as the main command center for Hamas’s surveillance network.

It was not immediately clear how many Hamas members were killed in the strike, which the IDF said occurred as dozens of people were in the building.

The IDF said it also launched strikes on four “operations apartments” of senior Hamas commanders in Gaza: the deputy commander of Hamas’s Jabalia regiment in the northern Strip, as well as three company commanders in northern and central Gaza.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

All the apartments were allegedly used to direct recent rocket attacks at Israeli cities.

The military also said it bombed the “operational apartment” of Samer Abu Daka, the head of Hamas’s drone operations, after the drone launches.

The military said the apartment was used for military purposes. It also said the same apartment was targeted in the 2014 war.

The IDF also said it struck a main Hamas rocket production site and a military post of the Hamas naval force in the central Gaza Strip. In addition, a number of other weapons production sites were struck throughout the day, according to the military.

Also Thursday the IDF said it bombed four Hamas cells preparing to launch anti-tank guided missiles at targets in southern Israel over the course of two hours, striking the teams before they could carry out their attacks. The military said it bombed an anti-tank guided missile launcher that had been positioned on an apartment building in the southern Gaza Strip, accusing Hamas of using the occupants as human shields.

Hundreds of the projectiles fired from Gaza have been intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries, according to the military, which refuses to give precise statistics on the matter as they could be used by terror groups to find ways to outmaneuver the system.

The IDF on Thursday said the air defense system had a roughly 90 percent interception rate of projectiles heading toward populated areas. Terror groups have been launching rockets in massive barrages to try and overwhelm the system.

In the most serious rocket attack overnight Wednesday-Thursday, two people were moderately injured by shrapnel and six others were treated for smoke inhalation after a Hamas rocket from Gaza struck in between homes in Petah Tikva shortly after midnight, sparking a fire. The buildings near the fire sustained moderate damage.

On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Israeli military expanded its targets in the Gaza Strip to include institutions that Hamas uses to rule the Palestinian enclave, notably its treasury and banks, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said.

In addition, the Israeli Air Force bombed Hamas’s internal security headquarters used in counterintelligence operations, destroyed the home of Iyad Tayeb, a battalion commander in Hamas’s military wing, and killed a squad of Hamas’s naval forces, Zilberman said.

Palestinians assess the damage caused by an Israeli airstrike at the Islamic National Bank of the Hamas terror group in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 13, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The IDF’s campaign in Gaza, officially dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls, has so far been conducted primarily by airstrikes, as well as artillery shellings from the ground and the sea, but the military said it was preparing for the possibility of a ground incursion.

Zilberman said plans for a ground invasion would be presented for approval by the IDF General Staff on Thursday, at which point they would be given to Israel’s political leadership for consideration.

The IDF in recent days has deployed additional ground troops — from the Paratroopers Brigade, Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade — to the Gaza border, sending with them tanks and armored personnel carriers, which could be seen being transported by trucks on highways throughout southern Israel.

On Thursday the army said it was canceling all weekend leave for combat soldiers as it prepared for the possibility of a ground operation. Zilberman said the military had called up 7,000 reservists. Roughly half of those were troops from air defense, artillery and medical units, and half serve in administrative and intelligence positions, Zilberman said.

In the evening, Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave the military approval to call up as many as 9,000 reservists if needed, his office said.

The reservists would come from combat units and command center operators, to serve in the Southern Command, Central Command, and Northern Command so that soldiers regularly stationed there could be sent on other missions, according to his office.

Rockets continue to pummel Israel’s south after night of intense fighting

Posted May 14, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

IDF says 2,000 projectiles launched since Monday; bomb shelter requirement lifted for Israelis living near Gaza; 160 aircraft target Hamas tunnels in largest bombardment yet

Smoke rises following Israeli missile strikes on Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Smoke rises following Israeli missile strikes on Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Friday’s events as they unfold. For a recap of Thursday’s events, click here.

Terror groups have fired 2,000 rockets since start of fighting — IDF

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have fired roughly 2,000 rockets and mortar shells toward Israel since the outbreak of fighting on Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The military says that over the course of Thursday night and Friday morning, an additional 220 projectiles were fired from the enclave, with 30 of them failing to cross the border and landing within the Strip.

According to the IDF, dozens of incoming rockets heading toward populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. A number, however, struck within populated areas overnight, one of which seriously injured an Israeli man in his 50s.

Soldier beaten in Jaffa undergoes surgery, still in serious condition

An IDF soldier viciously beaten last night by Arab rioters in Jaffa underwent surgery overnight to treat his serious head injuries, Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital says.

The medical center says three top neurosurgeons were called in to conduct the complex operation and managed to stop the heavy internal bleeding.

The 19-year-old remains hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

IDF says 160 aircraft dropped 450 missiles on Gaza tunnel network

Some 160 aircraft flying simultaneously conducted a massive attack on a network of tunnels dug by the Hamas terror group under Gaza City around midnight in the largest Israeli strike since the outbreak of fighting earlier this week, the military says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, in this air campaign, which lasted nearly 40 minutes, some 450 missiles were dropped on 150 targets in northern Gaza. The military says it is still working to determine the extent of the damage caused to the underground infrastructure, which IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says was a “strategic asset” to Hamas.

In addition to the aerial strike, Israeli tanks, artillery cannons and infantrymen on the Gaza border conducted accompanying barrages at Hamas targets that came out during the assault to attack Israeli targets, Zilberman says, clarifying that the ground troops remain on Israel’s side of the border and did not enter the Gaza Strip, despite earlier claims to the contrary by the IDF.

In total, some 500 artillery shells — some flares and explosives — along with 50 tank shells, were fired during this subsequent bombardment. Palestinians in Gaza report that the Israeli strike lasted over an hour and caused a number of casualties, though an exact tally is not immediately available.

Zilberman says the operation is the result of large amounts of intelligence and careful planning.

Hamas ministry says 115 Palestinians dead since start of fighting

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 115 Palestinians have died in the enclave since fighting started Monday.

It adds that 600 have been injured.

Israel maintains that most fatalities are either members of terror groups or killed by errant Hamas rocket fire that landed inside the Strip.

Fresh rocket alarms heard in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot

Rocket sirens blare in Ashdod, Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev region after a night of intense fighting.

Reports say it is a heavy barrage.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or casualties.

IDF lifts order to residents of Gaza-adjacent communities to stay in bomb shelter

The Israel Defense Forces removes a requirement for anyone within four kilometers (2.5 miles) of the Gaza border to remain in a bomb shelter.

This comes five and a half hours after the directive was issued.

The military says people in this area no longer need to remain in bomb shelters, but should stay in close proximity to a protected space, so they can quickly enter if there’s an attack.

IDF shoots down Hamas drone

The IDF says its air defenses have shot down a Hamas drone that crossed into Israel.

“The airforce tracked the drone until it was downed,” the army says.

The incident comes a day after an F-16 shot down an armed Hamas “suicide drone” that tried to enter Israeli airspace.

Heavy barrage hits Tel Aviv, Beersheba; Hamas calls it revenge for slain leaders

Posted May 13, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Child hurt running to shelter; terror group says it used long-range missile in failed attack on Eilat, and launched new ‘suicide drones’; IDF hits four anti-tank missile teams

Rockets are launched towards Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Rockets are launched towards Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas operatives fired large fusillades of rockets at the Tel Aviv area and Beersheba and toward Eilat’s airport on Thursday afternoon, in what the terror group said was an act of revenge for its commanders who were killed in Israeli strikes this week.

Dozens of rockets were fired in the attacks, which triggered sirens throughout central Israel and the northern Negev desert. A 60-year-old woman was lightly injured by shrapnel in the town of Kiryat Gat in southern Israel, along with a 7-year-old boy and 40-year-old woman who were injured while running to bomb shelters, medics said.

Earlier in the day, Israel closed Ben Gurion International Airport to incoming passenger flights, diverting them to Eilat’s Ramon Airport. Hamas said it subsequently targeted that airfield as well.

“By the order of the commander of the Qassam Staff Abu Khaled Muhammad al-Deif, rockets were launched towards Ramon Airport with the 250 Ayyash missile with a range of 250 kilometers,” Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claimed in a statement, referring to an allegedly new Hamas rocket with a far greater range than ones previously known to be in the terror group’s arsenal.

No sirens were heard in the rocket fire toward Eilat, as the projectile landed in an open area far outside the city, where it caused neither injury nor damage.

Hamas also said it had launched a number of “suicide drones,” unmanned aerial vehicles carrying explosive payloads, into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The military confirmed downing at least two such drones. Channel 12 news reported that the drones appeared to have primitive capabilities and did not seem to represent a serious danger.

Obeida said the attacks were “part of our response to the assassination of our heroic leaders and engineers,” adding that the rockets used were partially developed by those who were killed.

On Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service conducted a large-scale operation targeting a number of top commanders in Hamas, including the head of its Gaza City battalion and several people involved in its weapons production operations in the Strip, the military said.

Israelis take cover in a shop in Bat Yam as a siren rings during a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on May 13, 2021 (Gil COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

On Thursday afternoon Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan sent a letter to the Security Council calling on the top UN body to strongly condemn the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza and uphold Israel’s right to defend itself.

“The indiscriminate rocket fire constitutes a double war crime,” Erdan wrote. “It is clear that Hamas premeditated this escalation in violence and terrorism and is happy to pay the price of casualties on both sides in order to strengthen itself politically.”

Also Thursday the IDF said it bombed four Hamas cells preparing to launch anti-tank guided missiles at targets in southern Israel over the course of two hours, striking the teams before they could carry out their attacks. The military said it also bombed an anti-tank guided missile launcher that had been positioned on an apartment building in the southern Gaza Strip, accusing Hamas of using the occupants as human shields.

According to the IDF, over 1,500 rockets and mortar shells have been fired toward Israel by terror groups in the Gaza Strip since fighting broke out on Monday evening. Roughly a fifth of those landed inside the Palestinian enclave, and in at least one case killed a number of children when the rocket hit a school.

Hundreds of the incoming projectiles have been intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense batteries, according to the military, which refuses to give precise statistics on the matter as they could be used by terror groups to find ways to outmaneuver the system.

The IDF on Thursday said the air defense system had a roughly 90 percent interception rate of projectiles heading toward populated areas. Terror groups have been launching rockets in massive barrages to try and overwhelm the system.

In the most serious rocket attack overnight, two people were moderately injured by shrapnel and six others were treated for smoke inhalation after a Hamas rocket from Gaza struck in between homes in Petah Tikva shortly after midnight, sparking a fire. The buildings near the fire sustained moderate damage.

On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Israeli military expanded its targets in the Gaza Strip to include institutions that Hamas uses to rule the Palestinian enclave, notably its treasury and banks, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said.

In addition, the Israeli Air Force bombed Hamas’s internal security headquarters used in counterintelligence operations, destroyed the home of Iyad Tayeb, a battalion commander in Hamas’s military wing, and killed a squad of Hamas’s naval forces, Zilberman said.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

In one case in the predawn hours of Thursday morning, the IDF destroyed a Hamas bunker that had been built under a school “and in proximity to other civilian buildings.”

According to Zilberman, the IDF has destroyed most of Hamas’s domestic rocket production capabilities, bombing a large number of weapons production and storage facilities. However, he said that the military will struggle to continue striking significant weapons caches, which are spread throughout the Strip. “If there were any warehouses with 100 rockets, they were destroyed in the first day of the operation,” Zilberman said.

The IDF on Thursday said it had so far bombed upwards of 600 targets in the Strip, over 100 of them in the previous 24 hours.

Palestinians assess the damage caused by an Israeli airstrike at the Islamic National Bank of the Hamas terror group in Khan Younis , in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 13, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The IDF’s campaign in Gaza, officially dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls, has so far been conducted primarily by airstrikes, as well as artillery shellings from the ground and the sea, but the military said it was preparing for the possibility of a ground incursion.

Zilberman said plans for a ground invasion would be presented for approval by the IDF General Staff on Thursday, at which point they would be given to Israel’s political leadership for consideration.

The IDF in recent days has deployed additional ground troops — from the Paratroopers Brigade, Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade — to the Gaza border, sending with them tanks and armored personnel carriers, which could be seen being transported by trucks on highways throughout southern Israel.

On Thursday the army said it was canceling all weekend leave for combat soldiers as it prepared for the possibility of a ground operation. Zilberman said the military had called up 7,000 reservists. Roughly half of those were troops from air defense, artillery and medical units, and half serve in administrative and intelligence positions, Zilberman said.

A total of seven people have been killed in Israel, including four people who died on Wednesday, among them a soldier killed by an anti-tank missile and a 5-year-old boy hit by shrapnel in Sderot.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said the death toll there rose to 72 Palestinians, including 16 children, Thursday. The IDF said dozens of those killed were members of terrorist groups, some of whom were actively preparing to launch attacks on Israel when they were hit.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven of its members, while Hamas acknowledged that a top commander and several other members were killed. Israel and a Palestinian human rights group, Defense for Children, have said that several of the civilians were killed by Hamas rockets falling short inside Gaza, not by Israeli attacks, though Defense for Children does claim at least some of the children were killed by Israeli strikes.

The Israeli military also claims the number of terrorists killed so far is much higher than Hamas has acknowledged.

Israel in chaos: 10 Border Police units called up to quell Arab-Jewish violence

Posted May 13, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Riots have spread across several cities throughout Israel with mixed Arab and Jewish populations.

Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021.  (photo credit: RONI OFER/FLASH90)
Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021.
(photo credit: RONI OFER/FLASH90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the emergency call-up of 10 companies of Border Police and for them to deploy throughout the country in an attempt to curb the Arab-Jewish violence and riots that has marred Israel’s streets in recent days.Some 374 people were arrested throughout Israel following intense Jewish-Arab violence and riots that erupted across the country on Wednesday, amid the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.A Jewish citizen in his 30s was in critical condition after he was attacked by a mob of Arab demonstrators near Egged Square in the city of Acre. Police said he was attacked in his car by Arab Israeli protesters armed with sticks and stones.

On Thursday morning, two police cars were set on fire in the Israeli-Arab town of Kafr Kassem. In Acre, a hotel was set on fire, which spread to a nearby building. In Lod, where these riots began, a Jewish man was reportedly stabbed by an Arab Muslim near a mosque.

Magen David Adom staff evacuated him to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya unconscious, in serious condition and suffering from a head injury.

Senior MDA medic Firas Reis said: “We were near the area when we saw the wounded man lying unconscious and suffering from a bleeding head injury. We immediately began life-saving medical treatment that included bandaging and breath support and evacuated him in stable condition for further treatment at the hospital.”Biden: Israel has right to defend itself from Gaza rocket terrorism

In another incident, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, Jewish extremists marched down main streets, smashing Arab-owned businesses and attacking passersby. One motorcyclist – identified as an Arab – was grabbed in the middle of the street and beaten on live television. Four of the alleged attackers were arrested while chanting “death to Arabs” and “may your village burn.”

Police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where violence erupted this week between Jews and Arabs. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)Police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where violence erupted this week between Jews and Arabs. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Kan News reported that a Jewish man in his 30s was lynched by protesters who mistook him for an Arab. He was evacuated to the hospital and his condition is classified as serious, but stable.

Bat Yam Mayor Tzvika Brot said of the riots that “the acts were organized by provocateurs who came from outside the city. This is not our way.”Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis, appealed for restraint in response to the violence, saying: “We must not be dragged into provocations and inflicting harm on people or property.

“The Torah of Israel grants no license for taking the law into one’s hands and acting violently,” he added.

In Haifa, a 26-year-old man was injured after being run over by a car near the demonstrations in the city. He was evacuated to Rambam Medical Center in the city in light-to-moderate condition. The 20-year-old driver fled the scene, but was apprehended and detained by police.

On Hagiborim Street in Haifa, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a police car, setting fire to the vehicle. No injuries were reported.

Right-wing extremist rioters were also seen in Tiberias and Lod, and more are expected to show up in other cities with a largely mixed Arab and Jewish population.

The Tiberias municipality released a statement condemning the riots, saying that “We ask everyone to stop the practice of unnecessary demonstrations that do not contribute anything. These demonstrations can cause unnecessary harm to people and even be life threatening.
“It’s time to calm down and help the people of the South as much as possible,” the statement added.

Due to the severe violence seen in Lod on Monday and Tuesday, the Border Police established a task force headquarters in the city on Wednesday, with a force of some 500 Border Police personnel, including tactical border police, detectives, investigators and other law enforcement personnel.

Posts on social media by settler activists stated that at least 30 Jewish youths from the Yitzhar region in the Samaria district of the West Bank traveled to Lod on Tuesday night and engaged in clashes with Arab rioters.In the Bedouin town of Hura, rioters set fire to a community police headquarters, Ynet news reported. No injuries or arrests were reported. At the entrance of Rahat, also in the Negev, police arrested five suspects for throwing stones and burning tires along routes 310 and 264.

In Sheikh Jarrah, the flashpoint of Jewish-Arab tensions in Jerusalem, ten people were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and causing property damage, Ynet also reported. Two ultra-Orthodox men in the east of the neighborhood were also injured.

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in the neck after accidentally entering the city of Tamra early Thursday as well, Ynet news reported.
The man was rescued from a lynching by a local ambulance crew after they noticed the violence. He was later transferred to Rambam Hospital in Haifa.Police were called to Agrippas Street in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda early Thursday after an employee of a nearby establishment sustained a stab wound to his upper body. He is in critical condition, according to medical sources, and was transferred to the hospital for further treatment.

A policeman was injured early Thursday from live fire in the Arab village of Umm al-Fahm amid riots in the town. Rioters also threw Molotov cocktails at policemen standing near the city’s police station.
Upon searching for the perpetrators, police came under fire and a border police officer was moderately wounded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke late Wednesday on the rioting and attempted lynchings taking place Wednesday in Israeli cities, saying that he intends to return law and order.
In a statement to the media, Netanyahu said that “Nothing justifies lynching Arabs among Jews, and nothing justifies lynching Jews by Arabs. We will not accept this. It is not us to use this violence. We will return the control and governance to the cities of Israel. In all cities, in mixed cities, in Jewish cities – everywhere.”
“Let us unite together to do the task we need to do as citizens of our country: to restore governance, eliminate this anarchy and preserve and restore the security and peace we all deserve,” he said.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi also said at a meeting of the cabinet early Thursday that he opposes using soldiers to restore order in Israeli cities, noting that the military is a “people’s army” and not suitable for civilian unrest, Ynet news reported.

Jewish-Arab violence rolls through cities like wildfire, with police overwhelmed

Posted May 13, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Leaders horrified as hooligans fill streets, burning, beating, shooting, smashing; Netanyahu says may send army into towns; Bat Yam mob assault on Arab man decried as ‘un-Jewish’

  • Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
    Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
  • A man beats someone lying prone on the ground in the Israeli city of Bat Yam amid interethnic violence across Israel, May 12, 2021. (Screenshot)
    A man beats someone lying prone on the ground in the Israeli city of Bat Yam amid interethnic violence across Israel, May 12, 2021. (Screenshot)
  • Israeli police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where last night synaogues and cars were torched as well as shops damaged, by Arab residents rioted in the city, and ongoing this evening. May 12, 2021. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ??????
???
????
?????
???
    Israeli police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where last night synaogues and cars were torched as well as shops damaged, by Arab residents rioted in the city, and ongoing this evening. May 12, 2021. Photo by Yossi Aloni/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ?????? ??? ???? ????? ???
  • An injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
    An injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
  • An injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
    An injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
  • Screen capture from video of a crowd of Jewish protetors pulling an Arab man from his vehicle in Bet Yam, May 21, 2021. (Twitter)
    Screen capture from video of a crowd of Jewish protetors pulling an Arab man from his vehicle in Bet Yam, May 21, 2021. (Twitter)
  • Israeli riot police face off with a Jewish man as clashes erupted between Arabs, police and Jews, in the mixed town of Lod, central Israel, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
    Israeli riot police face off with a Jewish man as clashes erupted between Arabs, police and Jews, in the mixed town of Lod, central Israel, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
  • A car is set on fire during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
    A car is set on fire during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021 (Roni Ofer/Flash90)
  • Wednesday experienced its worst night of internal Jewish-Arab chaos for many years, amid the ongoing armed conflict with Gaza, as scenes of unrest, rioting, hate rallies and growing social chaos spread throughout numerous cities, some of which were once seen as symbols of coexistence.

Violent confrontations erupted in Lod, Acre, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bat Yam, Tiberias and many other locations, with people injured, some of them seriously, leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce he was looking at deploying the military inside towns to restore order.

Perhaps the most shocking scene of the night, and one that elicited expressions of disbelief and horror from Israeli leaders, was footage of hundreds of Jewish extremists in Bat Yam vandalizing Arab property and then assaulting an Arab driver in his car, dragging him out of the vehicle and beating him savagely.

In Jerusalem, an Arab was stabbed by Jews and seriously injured at the Mahane Yehuda market.

“Death to Arabs” was heard in many locations of Jewish rallies.

Meanwhile, in Acre, a Jewish man was assaulted by Arab rioters and hit with rocks and iron bars, and was hospitalized in critical condition.

Despite two previous days of ever-expanding unrest, and a call-up of reinforcements for both police and Border Police, law enforcement once again seemed woefully unequipped to handle the scope of the chaos, and many scenes of violence went ahead with little police interference.

In Lod, which had been at the center of unrest for the two previous nights — with Arab mobs torching synagogues, stores and cars overnight Tuesday-Wednesday — a curfew had been declared between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Yet gangs prowled the streets and vandalized unimpeded for hours, with police containing some events but failing to effectively control the crowds. There were reports that two people had been shot and lightly to moderately injured, though their identities weren’t immediately clear.

In Tamra, a Jewish man was stabbed and assaulted by an Arab mob, Channel 12 reported, with an Arab paramedic saying the attackers almost burned the man inside his car before he helped evacuate him to safety.

A truck burns at the entrance of the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where a state of emergency has been declared following civil unrest, on May 12, 2021 (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The key event of the night came when hundreds of extremist Jews, in a rally organized on social media hours prior and explicitly defined ahead of time as having violent intentions, marched along the Bat Yam promenade, smashing Arab property as they headed toward neighboring Jaffa, with police doing little to stop them.

At a certain point, the mob identified a driver on the road as Arab and began attacking his car.

Participants in the protest told Kan news that the man had deliberately tried to run them over, but footage and reports from the location indicated the driver panicked and attempted to drive away as he was accosted.

Video shared on social media showed the car approaching the crowd, then rapidly reversing away but colliding with a vehicle behind it. The car then sped into the crowd, apparently without hitting anyone, and attempted to pass a line of traffic in the way but crashed into another car before coming to a stop.

The driver was then pulled out and beaten by dozens of rioters before eventually being left alone. He was taken to Ichilov hospital, which said he was in serious but stable condition.

In an incident in Haifa, an Arab driver found himself in the midst of a mob chanting “Death to Arabs.” As he was pelted with stones, the driver turned the vehicle around to escape but hit one of the rioters, 26, causing him moderate injuries. The driver, 20, sped away but was later detained by police.

Disgusted condemnation from politicians

The well-documented incident in Bat Yam brought on expressions of disgust from politicians, from the prime minister to far-right Knesset members. In a video from his office, Netanyahu told the public that such incidents were “intolerable.”

“I don’t care if your blood is boiling. So it’s boiling. It’s irrelevant. You can’t take the law into your own hands,” he thundered. “You can’t come to an Arab civilian and try to lynch him, just as we can’t see Arab citizens do so to Jewish citizens. This will not stand.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid decried the “total loss of control.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned that Israeli internal divisions were “no less dangerous than Hamas.”

Yamina chief Naftali Bennett called the scenes in Bat Yam “un-Jewish, immoral, inhuman.” His No. 2 Ayelet Shaked decried the “moral bankruptcy” of such an attack.

New Hope’s Gideon Sa’ar warned the country could be sliding toward civil war.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef put out a statement imploring Jews not to turn violent against Arab citizens.

“Innocent Israeli civilians are attacked by terror organizations, the blood runs hot and our hearts are outraged, the scenes are difficult to watch. But we mustn’t be dragged to provocations and to hurting people or harming property,” he said.

He added that the Torah does not permit one to take the law into one’s own hands. “The work of restoring order must be left to police,” he said. “We must be a light unto the nations, and not, God forbid, the opposite.”

Head of the Religious Zionism party Bezalel Smotrich gives a press statement in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, April 4, 2021. (Olivier FItoussi/Flash90)

The far-right leader of the Religious Zionism party, Bezalel Smotrich, long accused of stoking racial and religious tensions, said he was “shocked and ashamed to the bottom of my soul” by the attack on the Arab man. “We are in difficult days, under attack, frustrated… but damn it, how can Jews be so cruel?! Terrible,” he tweeted.

Netanyahu slams ‘anarchy’ of Arab rioters

Politicians also expressed a fair share of criticism toward Arab violence, with Netanyahu bemoaning the “anarchy” of Arabs rioters “setting synagogues alight, setting cars alight, assaulting police, attacking peaceful innocent civilians. We can’t accept it.”

He said he would give full backing and more powers and resources to police to enforce the law, and said he was also looking at sending military forces into cities to the extent that the law allows it. “If need be, we’ll legislate further [to do so],” he said.

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said Arab attacks on Jews were unacceptable, as were Jewish attacks on Arabs. “Violence mixed with hatred should be condemned outright,” he said. “We have no other country. We must live here together.”

In an uncustomary phone interview with Channel 12, President Reuven Rivlin implored Israelis of all ethnicities and religions to stop the “madness” unfolding on the streets of Jewish-Arab cities.

President Reuven Rivlin meets with the Yesh Atid party at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, April 5, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“I am very worried,” he said, adding that he was “crying out” for internal peace.

“I call on and beg of all local leaders, religious leaders, on citizens, on parents. Do all you can to stop this terrible thing that is happening before our eyes,” he said. “We are dealing with a civil war between us without any reason. Please stop this madness… I beg of you. This country belongs to all of us. Desist.”

Joint List chair Ayman Odeh and Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas both condemned the violence on Arabic-language radio, while asking Arabs not to leave their homes so as not to be attacked by Jewish mobs.

The two Arab Israeli political leaders also stressed the need for Arab youth not to respond with violence against people or property.

Odeh also attacked Ohana, who he accused of giving support to Jewish rioters in “taking the law into their own hands” after he spoke in support of Jews suspected of shooting Arab rioters earlier this week, and said “civilians carrying weapons are helpful to authorities in immediately neutralizing threats or dangers.”

“The madness must be stopped,” Odeh said.

At TV studios, anchors and pundits were despondent, with many describing the night’s events as unlike anything they’d ever experienced, and as signifying a breakdown of social cohesion that could take years to mend.

Only around midnight did police state that they had managed to bring most hotspots under control, with at least some 400 people arrested, among them several who were suspected in the Bat Yam attack. Police said 36 cops were hurt during events.

Other incidents of note:

  • In Tiberias, a mob of Jewish protesters assaulted an Arab driver who required treatment for light injuries. A police officer was also injured as he tried to protect a woman who was a passenger in the car. Four people were reportedly arrested in connection with the incident.
  • An Arab man, 30, was seriously injured during violence near Or Yehuda, close to Tel Aviv, Hebrew media reported.
  • Clashes broke out around Lod’s central mosque, which was apparently targeted by Jews who threw rocks at the building and confronted local Arabs, Kan news reported. Police moved to intervene and disperse the crowds that also attacked Arab homes in the city. Skirmishes also broke out between Arab residents and cops. A police patrol car was set on fire.

A police patrol car on fire in the city of Lod, May 12, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel ordered a massive boost earlier Wednesday to police forces deployed in cities with Jewish and Arab populations. The move came hours after the state of emergency was declared in Lod.

The rare emergency declaration in the central Israeli city prompted the urgent dispatching of several Border Police companies to work to restore order.

Violence between the Jewish and Arab communities spiraled from confrontations in Jerusalem surrounding the month-long Muslim month of Ramadan and clashes on the Temple Mount, and came to a head as Israel engaged in an increasingly escalating clash with terrorist groups firing rockets into Israel from Gaza.

6-year-old critically hurt, 5 others wounded by direct rocket hit on Sderot home

Posted May 12, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Multiple people wounded as fresh violence erupts in Jewish-Arab cities, curfew begins in Lod; 1,200 rockets fired from Gaza; 6 killed in Israel, 65 in Gaza

  • The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)
    The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)
  • Rescuers and people gather amidst the rubble in front of al-Shourouk tower that collapsed after being hit by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, on May 12, 2021 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
    Rescuers and people gather amidst the rubble in front of al-Shourouk tower that collapsed after being hit by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, on May 12, 2021 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
  • IDF artillery seen firing into Gaza near the Israeli border with the Strip on May 12, 2021, following heavy rocket and missile barrage fired into Israel, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    IDF artillery seen firing into Gaza near the Israeli border with the Strip on May 12, 2021, following heavy rocket and missile barrage fired into Israel, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep north of the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep north of the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Relatives walk out of the damaged home of Nadine, 16, and Khalil Awaad, a father and daughter who were killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in their village of Dahmash, May 12, 2021. (AP Photos/Heidi Levine)
    Relatives walk out of the damaged home of Nadine, 16, and Khalil Awaad, a father and daughter who were killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in their village of Dahmash, May 12, 2021. (AP Photos/Heidi Levine)
  • An Israeli man walks past the remains of a rocket fired by the Palestinian Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, on May 12, 2021 in Ashkelon (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    An Israeli man walks past the remains of a rocket fired by the Palestinian Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system, on May 12, 2021 in Ashkelon (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep went up in flames, injuring 2 and killing one, following a direct hit by a missile fired from Gaza, in Netiv Ha'asara, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep went up in flames, injuring 2 and killing one, following a direct hit by a missile fired from Gaza, in Netiv Ha’asara, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • A young girl is comforted by her father next to a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Yehod, central Israel, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
    A young girl is comforted by her father next to a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Yehod, central Israel, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
  • Man carries a Torah scroll from a torched synagogue in the central Israeli city of Lod, following a night of heavy rioting on May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Man carries a Torah scroll from a torched synagogue in the central Israeli city of Lod, following a night of heavy rioting on May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for rocket fire, Gaza City, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for rocket fire, Gaza City, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Truck driver shelters during a rocket siren near Ashkelon, May 12, 2021 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
    Truck driver shelters during a rocket siren near Ashkelon, May 12, 2021 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Wednesday’s events as they unfold. For a recap of Tuesday’s events, click here.

Young Arab man said shot and moderately wounded in Lod

A young Arab man is shot and moderately wounded in Lod, Channel 12 reports.

It is not clear who shot him. He has been taken to hospital.

Jewish man seriously hurt in ‘lynch’ in Acre; Jewish-Arab violence in Haifa, other cities

Violence is once again spreading through Jewish-Arab towns this evening, despite the massive deployment of police and Border Police in such cities to maintain the peace.

In Acre, a Jewish man aged around 30 has been seriously wounded after being pelted with rocks by Arab rioters in what has been described as a lynching. He suffered a head injury.

Meanwhile, Jewish protesters in the city march and call out “Death to Arabs.”

In Haifa, Jews pelted an Arab man in a car with rocks, reports indicate. He accelerated and hit one of the rioters, wounding him.

In Lod, a police car has once again been set alight by rioters. Some unrest has been reported despite the curfew that entered in effect at 8 p.m.

Channel 12 reports Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to send soldiers into cities to keep the peace, but that Defense Minister Gantz is opposed.

At least 20 wounded by rockets in Ashkelon

At least 20 people are wounded in Ashkelon this evening due to rocket attacks, according to multiple reports.

Chief rabbi pans Jewish violence: ‘We must be light unto nations, not opposite’

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef puts out a statement imploring Jews not to turn violent against Arab citizens.

“Innocent Israeli civilians are attacked by terror organizations, the blood runs hot and our hearts are outraged, the scenes are difficult to watch. But we mustn’t be dragged to provocations and to hurting people or harming property,” he says.

He adds that the Torah does not permit one to take the law into one’s own hands. “The work of restoring order must be left to police,” he says. “We must be a light unto the nations, and not, God forbid, the opposite.”

Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak, on March 29, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Blinken calls Netanyahu, affirms support; Russian FM seeks Quartet meeting

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm America’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.

The State Department says he also repeated US calls for a de-escalation of violence and the Biden administration’s belief that both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safety and security.

According to the State Department, Blinken also told Netanyahu that as he and President Joe Biden have said in the past, the administration believes Israelis and Palestinians should “enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calls for an urgent meeting of the Middle East Quartet in order to halt violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Speaking alongside United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Lavrov says: “Today we’ve come to the common opinion that the most pressing task is to convene the Quartet of international mediators — Russia, the United States, the UN and the EU.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2021. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)

Sirens sound again in Ashdod and Ashkelon; Iron Dome intercepts rockets

Sirens sound again in Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Dozens of rockets are launched. Most appear to have been intercepted by Iron Dome.

Home Front Command instructs Ashkelon residents to remain in sheltered spaces until further notice.

Jews riot in Tiberias; Smotrich pans Jewish violence: ‘We are not like them!’

After rioting in Bat Yam, there are also reports of Jewish extremists rioting and attacking Arabs in Tiberias.

Channel 12 reports a vehicle was attacked by Jews, with one person lightly hurt by rocks. A policeman was also hurt while clashing with the rioters.

Far-right MK Bezalel Smotrich urges Jewish rioters to stop the violence.

“My Jewish brothers, stop!” he says. “We are not like them! We mustn’t come to this violence. Self-defense in the face of terror and rioters — yes; unprovoked violence and destruction of property — under no circumstances.”

Islamic Jihad threatens 9 p.m. barrage, ‘a terrifying death’

Islamic Jihad’s armed wing threatens to send another barrage of rockets towards Israel at 9:00 p.m.

“The time of glory,” a picture published by the terror group states, promising “a terrifying death.”

Rockets are launched towards Israel from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Military said to present security cabinet with options for Gaza strikes

As members of the security cabinet meet to consider Israel’s next steps, Channel 12 reports that the military has provided them with various options for upcoming strikes on Gaza, including on various terror figures.

The report says the IDF is asking political leaders for more time to achieve decisive gains against Hamas prior to a ceasefire.

The ministers discuss an Egyptian offer of a ceasefire that Israel rejected. Egyptian officials have made comments to that effect.

Police say 14 sites in Ashkelon hit in rocket attack; empty preschool also hit

Police say they are deployed at 14 sites in Ashkelon following rocket attacks on the city, and in three sites in Sderot. It is not clear whether each of the sites was hit by a rocket.

A rocket also hit an empty preschool in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, causing damage.

A preschool is damaged by a rocket in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, May 12, 2021 (Courtesy)

Channel 12 reports the apartment directly hit by the rocket in Sderot was empty at the time it was hit, as the family had left temporarily due to the ongoing attacks.

Jewish extremists attack, vandalize Arab shops in Bat Yam

Dozens of right-wing Jewish extremists are rioting in Bat Yam, attacking and vandalizing businesses owned by Arabs.

Posts calling for participation in the violence were distributed on social media earlier.

Bat Yam’s Mayor Zvika Brot says police have arrested some of the young men. He says police knew in advance of the plans by the group, and asserts they are not residents of the city.

IDF says it bombed Islamic Jihad team preparing to launch rockets

The Israel Defense Forces says one of its aircraft bombed a Palestinian Islamic Jihad team as it was preparing to launch rockets into Israel from the central Gaza Strip.

“The cell was attacked as it was making preparations for rocket launches at Israeli territory,” the military says.

6-year-old critically hurt, 6 others wounded by direct rocket hit on Sderot home

The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)

The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)

A six-year-old boy has been critically injured by a direct rocket hit on a house in Sderot.

The boy’s mother is seriously wounded, a five-year-old is moderately wounded and four others are lightly hurt.

Channel 12 reports that the rocket hit one home in an apartment complex (shown in the main photo) while a piece of shrapnel ricocheted to another home and managed to pierce a fortified room and hit the family.

A photo shows the shrapnel entered through the room’s window. It is not immediately clear how it got through, as the window should be protected by a secured metal barrier. Media speculate that the window either was not closed properly, or not built properly.

Hamas says it fired 130 rockets into Israel in latest barrage

Hamas says it fired 130 rockets at Israel a short time ago, including at the country’s center, in retaliation for a strike on a multi-story building in Gaza City.

The group says its barrage was a response to Israel’s leveling of the al-Shourouk tower.

A view of the latest rocket attacks:

Unrest, clashes reported in Lod ahead of curfew

Reports of several rock-throwing incidents and vehicles being vandalized in Lod, where a police-enforced curfew is set to enter into effect at 8 p.m.

A number of clashes are reported between Arabs and Jews.

3 hurt, one seriously as rocket hits home in Sderot; another hits Ashkelon house

Three people have been hurt, one of them seriously, as a rocket hits a home in Sderot, near Gaza.

A rocket also hits a home in the city of Ashkelon.

Several communities near Gaza lose power after fresh rocket barrage

Several communities in the southern Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council have lost power following the latest rocket barrage from Gaza, a spokesperson for the municipality says.

The spokesperson says the details are being looked into and that the rockets also sparked a fire in one of the regional council’s communities.

Fresh rocket warning sirens sound in Tel Aviv area, southern communities

Fresh rocket warning sirens sound in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area.

Rocket warning sirens also sound in southern communities near the Gaza Strip.

Military issues names and photos of 6 Hamas commanders killed in airstrikes

The military issues the names and photos of six Hamas commanders killed in airstrikes today.

They include weapons production experts, a local “brigade commander” and an intelligence official.

Blinken implores Israel to avoid civilian deaths, backs right to self-defense

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken implores Israel to avoid civilian deaths, even as he defends the Jewish state’s right to attack Gaza in response to Hamas rocket fire.

“I think Israel has an extra burden in trying to do everything they possibly can to avoid civilian casualties, even as it is rightfully responding in defense of its people,” Blinken says, calling images of dead Palestinian children “harrowing.”

“We’re deeply concerned about what we’re seeing there,” he says. “The loss of any civilian life is a tragedy.”

He says he’s asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr “to go to the region immediately to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He will bring to bare his decades of experience, and in particular, he will urge on my behalf and on behalf of President Biden a de-escalation of violence. We are very focused on this.”

On Feb. 26, 2021 Secretary Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Pool, File)

He also says the US “remains committed to a two-state solution. This violence takes us further away from that goal.”

He adds: “We condemn and I condemn again the rocket attacks in the strongest possible terms. We believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live with safety and security and will continue to engage with Israelis, Palestinians and other regional partners to urge de-escalation and to bring calm.”

Blinken adds that there is a clear and absolute distinction between Hamas, which targets civilians while “indiscriminately raining down rockets,” and Israel that is defending itself.

“But whenever we see civilian casualties, and particularly when we see children caught in the crossfire losing their lives, that has a powerful impact.”

#Hamas terror organization’s military wing, Al Qassam publishes video of targeting #Israel|i Jeep near the border with #Gaza

Posted May 12, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

IDF says over 1,000 rockets, mortars fired at Israel since Monday evening

Posted May 12, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Huge barrage launched at 3 a.m. amid major strikes in Gaza; emergency declared in Lod, with troops rushed in as synagogues, stores burned by Arab mobs

Israeli firefighters and security forces inspect damage to a house hit by a rocket fired from Gaza on May 12, 2021 ( GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Israeli firefighters and security forces inspect damage to a house hit by a rocket fired from Gaza on May 12, 2021 ( GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Wednesday’s events as they unfold. For a recap of Tuesday’s events, click here.

Residents of Gaza border communities told to lock themselves in their homes

Residents of a number of communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip have been instructed to immediately lock themselves inside their homes due to an “irregular security incident,” local officials say.

Residents are additionally told to enter the secure areas of their homes.

It appears that security services fear terrorists may have infiltrated into Israeli territory from Gaza.

A similar incident occurred on Monday evening, but was later found to be a false alarm.

Egypt working to mediate ceasefire between Israel, Gaza terror groups – report

Egyptian mediators are working to mediate a ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza terror groups after nearly two days of escalating violence, Channel 12 news.

However, according to analysts at the outlet, Israel is not interested in ending the fighting until certain military goals are achieved.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 35 Palestinians have died since Monday night, and 233 have been wounded. Israel says many of those killed were terrorists.

A man and his daughter were killed overnight in a rocket strike outside Lod. Their deaths, and that of a woman in a rocket attack on Rishon Lezion earlier overnight, brought the Israeli death toll to five since the start of the hostilities. Dozens of Israelis have been wounded in the violence.

Iran state TV says Holocaust-denier Ahmadinejad to run in presidential race

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) flashes the sign for victory at the interior ministry's election headquarters in Tehran on April 12, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) flashes the sign for victory at the interior ministry’s election headquarters in Tehran on April 12, 2017. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Iran’s state television reports that the country’s former firebrand president will run again for office in upcoming elections in June.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly marched accompanied by supporters to a registration center at the Interior Ministry where he filled out registration forms.

Ahmadinejad in recent years has tried to polish his hardline image into a more centrist candidacy, criticizing the government for mismanagement.

The Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad has previously been banned from running for the presidency by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2017, although then, he registered anyway. A constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council ultimately disqualified him then.

Khamenei says he will not oppose the nomination of any candidate, although the electoral council may still block Ahmadinejad’s candidacy. In either case, the populist’s return to the political scene may energize discontent among hardliners who seek a tougher stance against the West — particularly Israel and the US.

Iran opened registration on Tuesday, kicking off the race as uncertainty looms over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers and tensions remain high with the West.

IDF says it bombed Gaza home of top Hamas commander used to store weapons

The Israel Defense Forces says it has just bombed the home of a top Hamas operative, Salah Dahman, who used the house to story weaponry for the terror group.

The military releases footage of the strike, showing the missile hitting the building in a densely populated neighborhood, causing a large blast, apparent from the munitions inside.

Volume 90%

Residents of Gaza border communities are instructed to enter bomb shelters and protected areas in the wake of the strike.

Police minister calls for release of Jewish man arrested for killing Arab Israeli in Lod

Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana calls for the release of a Jewish man who was arrested in connection with the deadly shooting of an Arab Israeli man during protests and riots in the central city of Lod on Monday night.

“The arrest of the shooter and his friends in Lod, who acted in self-defense, is terrible,” says Ohana, who is the minister responsible for policing.

“Law-abiding citizens carrying weapons are a force multiplier for the authorities for the immediate neutralization of threat and danger,” he says.

Ohana notes that detention is not under his purview, but “if that were the case, they would have been released.”

The man was shot and killed and two others were wounded during violence on Monday evening. Some reports said the victims were part of a mob throwing stones and firebombs at Jewish-owned homes and were shot by Jewish residents in what Jewish witnesses said was self-defense.

The statement comes after Ohana declares a state of emergency in Lod and police forces are bolstered on the streets of the city.

According to the Haaretz daily, police are expected to impose a lockdown on the city.

The newspaper says that anyone who violates any “reasonable instruction” from police faces a potential jail sentence.

Ra’am chief Abbas: Coalition talks can resume after violence ends

Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra'am party, gives a press statement after meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on April 5, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra’am party, gives a press statement after meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on April 5, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Two days after suspending talks over the potential formation of a coalition amid the escalating violence, the head of the Islamist Ra’am party, Mansour Abbas, says that discussions will resume after the fighting ends.

“It is inevitable that we will return to political talks for the formation of the government after the fire subsides,” Abbas tells the Kan public broadcaster. “We have a real opportunity to play an important role in Israeli politics for the sake of our society.”

Ra’am announced Monday it had suspended coalition talks with the so-called “change bloc,” potentially dooming efforts by the parties to form a government that removes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

The party made the announcement amid rising violence in Israel, alongside widescale rocket barrages fired from Gaza toward Israel and retaliatory strikes on the Strip.

Palestinian man arrested after he tried to snatch soldier’s weapon in West Bank

A Palestinian man tries to grab a gun from a soldier near the city of Jericho in the West Bank, the military says.

The Palestinian man is arrested with no Israeli injuries reported, the IDF says.

Police say the theft was thwarted when a passing cop saw the soldier struggling on the floor of a bus stop with the suspect.

The police officer stopped his vehicle and realized the soldier had been attacked with pepper spray in the course of the attack.

Police say the officer intervened in the scuffle and arrested the suspect, who was then taken for questioning.

Sirens heard in Gaza border community of Kerem Shalom

Sirens are triggered in the Gaza border community of Kerem Shalom as terrorists continue to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Police chief orders ‘significant’ increase of cops in Lod, other cities after rioting

A car set on fire by Israeli Arab residents during riots in the central Israeli town of Lod, on May 11, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

A car set on fire by Israeli Arab residents during riots in the central Israeli town of Lod, on May 11, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/FLASH90)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai orders a “significant” bolstering of police presence in the city of Lod and a number of other locations after Public Security Minister Amir Ohana declared a state of emergency.

The order comes after intense Arab rioting broke out in Lod late Tuesday, with three synagogues and numerous shops reportedly set on fire, and dozens of cars set alight.

“We are witnessing a situation we have not seen before in mixed cities and this includes severe violence with a nationalist background, harm to religious symbols and also attempts to harm police officers and close major thoroughfares,” Shabtai says. “The Israel Police is currently facing a series of national missions and we will carry out our duties and restore order.”

According to the statement from police, the declaration of a state emergency gives them “greater freedom of action.”

Arab violence erupted in numerous other cities across Israel alongside reports of Jewish attacks, including in Lod, where a Muslim cemetery was set ablaze.

Attacks were reported on Jewish homes in Ramle, where cars were also stoned. In Acre, a restaurant and a hotel were set ablaze, seriously injuring one man.

IDF says it shot down drone flown into Israeli airspace from Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it has just intercepted a drone that was flown into Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip.

The IDF says air defense soldiers shot down the small aircraft.

The IDF says the aircraft was not a small, quadcopter model like those used by civilians, but a larger unmanned aerial vehicle.

It is not immediately clear if it was armed, the military says.

9 still hospitalized with serious injuries after rocket fire, including girl, 5, in critical condition

There are nine people hospitalized around the country in serious condition as a result of rocket fire, according to a tally by the Kan public broadcaster.

Two people are receiving care at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Be’er Yaakov, four people are hospitalized at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, one woman at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center and two people are being treated at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer.

One of the patients at the Wolfson Medical Center is a five-year-old girl who was among the injured when a rocket fell next to a bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon on Tuesday evening. She is in critical condition.

Firefighters examine a bus in the town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, that was hit by rockets fired from Gaza (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

Zarif travels to Syria to discuss ‘developments’ in Israel and Gaza – report

In this February 23, 2021 file photo, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses a conference in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

In this February 23, 2021 file photo, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses a conference in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is traveling to Damascus to “discuss developments in Israel and the Gaza Strip,” according to a Lebanese report cited by the Kan public broadcaster.

The Israeli outlet gives no further details.

In widescale airstrikes, Israel hits Gaza police stations, security sites

Smoke rises after a series of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City , early on May 12, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Smoke rises after a series of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City , early on May 12, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

The Israeli Air Force carried out a series of early morning airstrikes early today on the Gaza Strip, destroying dozens of police and security installations, witnesses say.

A wall of dark gray smoke rises over Gaza City and observers in Gaza say this is one of the heaviest Israeli strikes ever.

Hamas says its main police headquarters were also destroyed.

Sirens heard in Gaza border communities

Rocket sirens warn of incoming fire toward the Gaza border communities of Ein HaShlosha, Nahal Oz and Alumim.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF says over 1,050 rockets and mortar shells fired by Gaza terror groups

The IDF says over 1,050 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel since the outbreak of fighting on Monday evening, with 200 failing to clear the border and landing inside the enclave.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the Iron Dome air defense system had an interception rate between 85 and 90 percent of rockets heading toward populated areas.

In response, the IDF launched strikes on upwards of 500 targets in the Gaza Strip, aimed at Hamas personnel, weaponry and infrastructure, Zilberman says.

5 Israelis killed in rocket barrages, IDF retaliating in Gaza

Posted May 12, 2021 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Over 850 rockets crossed into Israeli territory after being launched from Gaza. Several rockets made direct hits on buildings and cars in Israel, killing five Israelis.

IDF successfully targeted a multi-level building used by the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)
The Israeli military carried out waves of airstrikes overnight Wednesday, targeting senior Hamas leaders and destroying their homes after several Israeli citizens were killed in rocket barrages towards the center of the country.
Over 850 rockets crossed into Israeli territory after being launched from Gaza, another 200 fell inside the Hamas-run coastal enclave. Several rockets have made direct hits on buildings and cars in Israel, killing five Israelis.
Two of those killed were Khalil Awad, 52, and his daughter Nadin, 16, Arab-Israeli residents of a town near Lod, who were killed after a rocket scored a direct hit on a car in Lod early Wednesday morning.
The rocket struck Lod as the mixed Jewish-Arab city was shaken by violent riots throughout the night and brought the death toll in Israel up to five since the fighting began on Monday. Two women were killed in Ashkelon on Tuesday afternoon and in the evening, another woman was killed by a rocket that struck in Rison Lezion. In Bareket in the Shfela region, two men in their 50s and 60s were lightly injured from glass shards as a result of a rocket that landed on a house, Israeli media reported.

IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said the barrages towards the center came after the Israeli Air Force targeted senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders, killing them.
More rockets pounded Israel throughout Tuesday night into Wednesday morning with sirens sounding throughout the center of the country and particularly in the South, including Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
In one of the strikes, the IDF said it killed two senior Hamas leaders who were key operatives from Hamas’ military intelligence in a combined operation with the Shin Bet security service. The two men were identified as Hassan Kaugi, the chief of the security department in Hamas military intelligence and his deputy, Wail Issa, the brother of Marwan Issa who is the deputy commander of Hamas’ military wing.
The two were in a high rise building of over 10 stories. Hamas had warned that should Israel target high-rise buildings then they would fire on Tel Aviv, a threat they carried through. According to Palestinian news agency Wafa the residents of the building were warned by the Israeli military to evacuate before it was hit.
The IDF earlier killed three other senior Hamas officials, Bassam Issa, the Gaza Brigade commander, Rafa Salama, the Khan Younis Brigade commander and Mohammed Yazouri, the chief of Hamas intelligence.
The Israeli military also destroyed the homes of three senior Hamas leaders, Bassem Issa, the head of the Gaza City district, Rafa’a Salameh, the head of the Khan Younis district, and Mohammad Yazouri, the head of Hamas’s military intelligence.
The homes were destroyed, Zilberman said, “so when they come back up from their underground bunker they will see they have no home left.”
The Israeli military is continuing to hit Hamas targets, including underground military infrastructure belonging to the terror group. Over 500 targets have been struck in the Strip since Operation Guardians of the Wall began, Zilberman said, adding that there are tens of dead Hamas militants.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 35 people have been killed including 12 children and three woman. Another 233 others have been wounded.
The IDF also overnight began an arrest campaign in the West Bank against Hamas members, Zilberman said. “You know why we are doing that,” he added.
A multi-story building destroyed by the IDF in Gaza on May 12 and said to be the base for Hamas's intelligence units. (IDF)A multi-story building destroyed by the IDF in Gaza on May 12 and said to be the base for Hamas’s intelligence units. (IDF)

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid and will continue to pay,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night. “We are all mourning those killed and praying for those who were injured. We all give our full support to the IDF and Israeli security forces. This campaign will take time.”
Israel has “the right and the obligation to act and will continue to do so,” added Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility on Wednesday morning for over 100 rockets fired at Tel Aviv and 100 rockets fired at Beersheba. Some 1,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since the beginning of the hostilities on Monday.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said Israel had “ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames extended to Gaza, therefore, it is responsible for the consequences.”
Haniyeh said that Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations had been in contact urging calm but that Hamas’s message to Israel was: “If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready, if they want to stop, the resistance is ready.”