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

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.

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