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IDF strikes Hamas leaders amid heavy rocket attacks; major rioting in Lod

Huge barrage launched at 3 a.m., hours after previous wave; Arab violence nationwide; emergency declared in Lod, troops rushed in as synagogues, stores burned by Arab mobs

  • 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)
  • Israeli forces run during clashes with Arab Israelis in the Israeli mixed city of Lod, Israel, Tuesday, May 11,2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
    Israeli forces run during clashes with Arab Israelis in the Israeli mixed city of Lod, Israel, Tuesday, May 11,2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
  • 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)
    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)
  • Firefighters near damaged vehicles in the city of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets are launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    Firefighters near damaged vehicles in the city of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets are launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • An Israeli soldier runs past a burning vehicle after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip strikes the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 11, 2021  (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    An Israeli soldier runs past a burning vehicle after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip strikes the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on May 11, 2021 (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Israeli security forces at an Ashdod home hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)
    Israeli security forces at an Ashdod home hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)
  • A Israeli soldier takes cover as an Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept a rocket from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    A Israeli soldier takes cover as an Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept a rocket from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
  • The scene after a rocket hit Ashkelon, May 11, 2021 (Israel Police)
    The scene after a rocket hit Ashkelon, May 11, 2021 (Israel Police)
  • The scene where an apartment building was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israel, on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)
    The scene where an apartment building was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, southern Israel, on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)
  • An overhead view of an Ashkelon home badly damaged by a rocket fired from Gaza on May 11, 2021. A man was seriously hurt in the attack. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    An overhead view of an Ashkelon home badly damaged by a rocket fired from Gaza on May 11, 2021. A man was seriously hurt in the attack. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Smoke billows following Israeli retaliatory airstrikes on the southern Gaza region of Khan Yunis after rocket fire toward Israel (Mahmoud KHATAB / AFP)
    Smoke billows following Israeli retaliatory airstrikes on the southern Gaza region of Khan Yunis after rocket fire toward Israel (Mahmoud KHATAB / AFP)
  • People shelter during a rocket siren in Ashkelon on May 11, 2021 (Edi Israel/Flash90)
    People shelter during a rocket siren in Ashkelon on May 11, 2021 (Edi Israel/Flash90)
  • A picture taken early on May 11, 2021 shows a damaged building in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after rockets were fired by the Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip towards Israel overnight amid spiraling violence  (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    A picture taken early on May 11, 2021 shows a damaged building in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after rockets were fired by the Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip towards Israel overnight amid spiraling violence (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Smoke billows from a building targeted in an Israeli strike on Gaza City amid rocket fire from the Strip on May 11, 2021 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Smoke billows from a building targeted in an Israeli strike on Gaza City amid rocket fire from the Strip on May 11, 2021 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • Smoke rises after a series of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City , early on May 12, 2021. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Smoke rises after a series of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City , early on May 12, 2021. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Following is a recap of Tuesday’s events as they unfolded. For Wednesday’s liveblog, click here.

IDF says it hit 130 targets in Gaza overnight after 200 rockets fired at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says some 200 rockets were fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip from Monday night to Tuesday morning, dozens of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The military says it conducted retaliatory strikes on roughly 130 targets in the Strip, including the home of a top Hamas commander, Hamas’s intelligence headquarters, two attack tunnels that came near the security barrier and rocket production and storage sites.

The IDF says it also killed at least 15 Hamas members who were launching rockets at Israel.

Sirens sound in Gaza border communities

Rocket sirens are sounding in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip as terrorists in Gaza continue to fire rockets and mortars into Israel.

Sirens go off in Mivtachim, Amioz, Tzohar, Ohad and Yeshua.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

Hamas says 24 Gazans killed including 9 minors

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says 24 people were killed in the day’s fighting, including nine minors.

It says another 103 suffered injuries from IDF strikes on the Strip.

Molotov cocktail thrown at Israeli vehicle in West Bank, no injuries reported

An Israeli vehicle traveling near a settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank is hit by a Molotov cocktail, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

There are no casualties in the incident but images published by the outlet show damage to the vehicle.

Kan says there were over 40 fires in the West Bank overnight as a result of Molotov cocktails or burning tires.

IDF spokesman says military has ‘not ruled out’ ground operation

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson says the military has not ruled out a ground operation, saying it seemed likely that the fighting could go on for a number of days.

“We have a foot on the gas [pedal],” IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman tells Army Radio.

Zilberman says it is unclear how long the fighting would last, but a matter of “days” seemed a likely estimate.

He says IDF strikes in Gaza so far have been “significant.”

“Hamas,” he says, “is the only address in Gaza.”

Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman. (Israel Defense Forces)

The army already has a plan for operations to continue until Wednesday morning and after that will assess the situation, he says.

Asked if a ground operation could happen, Zilberman says the military has “not ruled out anything” and notes that “alert notifications have been sent to those who need to get them” possibly indicating that the IDF is calling up reservists.

Rocket sirens sound in Kerem Shalom

Rocket sirens are sounding in the Israeli community of Kerem Shalom near the Gaza Strip as terrorists continue to fire rockets and mortars into Israel.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Suspect arrested in connection with deadly shooting at Lod protest – report

Army Radio reports a 34-year-old resident of Lod has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the death of a 25-year-old man in an overnight shooting in the central city.

The Arab Israeli man was killed and two others wounded during a protest held early Tuesday in solidarity with Palestinians clashing with Israeli forces in Jerusalem.

The outlet says the man was throwing rocks toward a group of Jewish residents of the city when he was killed.

8 Border Police reserve companies called up to bolster operations

Eight companies of reserve Border Police officers are called up to reinforce operations in the wake of the violence across the country.

The decision to bolster the troops was made after consultations between Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai along with other unnamed senior defense officials.

31 arrested on suspicion of involvement in overnight violence in south

The Kan public broadcaster reports 31 people were arrested overnight on suspicion of involvement in overnight violence in the south of the country.

The Ynet news site says the arrests were in connection with a number of incidents surrounding the Bedouin town of Rahat.

There have been protests across the country against Israeli policies and actions in Jerusalem, specifically what they deem aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Temple Mount compound.

Rivlin announces tours of President’s Residence for families living near Gaza

President Reuven Rivlin invites families living in the communities and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip to visit his official residence for specially laid on tours and activities.

The tweet from the president’s official account says they hope to “relive the stress” of those living under rocket attack.

Ashkelon hospital: 1 person in serious condition, 1 moderate after rocket barrage

A spokesperson for the Barzilai Medical Center says the Ashkelon hospital has treated 26 casualties relating to the ongoing violence.

The hospital says one person is in serious condition and one patient is classified as moderate.

In addition, 17 people were lightly wounded and seven received treatment for anxiety.

The hospital says the wounded include four members of one family and five children in total.

Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip fired a massive barrage of rockets at Ashkelon at dawn. Seven Israelis were wounded in that attack, four of them members of the same family: parents in their 40s, an 8-year-old and an 11-year old.

Sirens sound as rocket barrage fired at Ashkelon and surrounding communities

Rocket sirens are sounding in Ashkelon as terrorists from the Gaza Strip fire a barrage of rockets toward the southern city and surrounding towns.

Sirens warning of incoming fire also sound in Nahal Oz, Zikim, Netiv HaAsara and Karmia.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Ashkelon was hit at dawn by a massive barrage of rockets that injured seven people.

With FDA approval given, Health Ministry preparing to vaccinate kids aged 12-16

The Health Ministry says it is preparing to vaccinate teens aged 12-16 after the FDA gave approval for the Pfizer shot to be administered to that age group.

The ministry says in a statement that Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy will hold discussions with the relevant health professionals on the matter.

Rocket sirens sound in Nahal Oz

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the community of Nahal Oz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel for the second time in 20 minutes.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Ashkelon resident laments lack of shelters: ‘We rely on Iron Dome and luck’

Guy Mann, who lives in Ashkelon near a building that suffered a direct hit, tells Army Radio that many residents of the city do not have access to shelters.

“I was woken with by a big explosion which was extremely intense,” he tells Army Radio. “The house is not protected and it is not realistic to get to the neighborhood shelters, especially when the barrages are so continuous. We can only rely on the Iron Dome [missile defense system] and luck.”

Residents of the city, particularly the southern neighborhoods, have complained for years that the older buildings do not have reinforced areas and that communal shelters are insufficient.

IDF says it bombed Hamas cell preparing to fire anti-tank missile at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says it has bombed a Hamas team preparing to fire an anti-tank guided missile at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

It is not immediately clear how many people were killed.

An Israeli civilian was lightly hurt yesterday when Gaza terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at his vehicle.

IDF sends extra artillery batteries to Gaza border, signaling potential wider conflict

The Israel Defense Forces sends additional artillery batteries to the Gaza border as fighting intensifies between it and terror groups in the Strip.

The deployment of these cannons and rocket launchers appear to indicate that the military is preparing for a potential wider conflict in the enclave.

Sirens sound as rocket barrage fired toward Ashkelon, Gaza border communities

Fresh rocket sirens sound as a barrage of incoming projectiles is fired toward Ashkelon and a number of communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Sirens are heard in Ashkelon, Nahal Oz, Sderot, Karmia, Zikim, Kfar Silver and Yad Mordechai.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Ashkelon mayor: 25% of residents don’t have access to a shelter

The row over the lack of shelters in Ashkelon continues, with the city’s mayor saying that 25% of residents don’t have access to a protected area when rockets are fired at the city.

“It is impossible when normal life becomes a state of emergency within minutes. It is time to strike Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with a hard blow,” Tomer Glam tells Army Radio. “There are houses from the 1960s where there is no basic protection — it is time for finance officials and decision makers to understand what is happening here in the city.”

Earlier, a resident told the outlet that when the sirens wail he relies on “Iron Dome and luck.”

Ashkleon has been hit with multiple barrages of rockets, with one projectile hitting a home in the early hours of Tuesday, wounding six people, including four members of the same family. The father was seriously hurt with a head wound, and his wife and children aged 8 and 11 sustained light injuries from shrapnel.

Hamas says 23 Gazans killed, including 9 kids; Israel says at least 15 of dead were terrorists

The Hamas Health Ministry says that 23 Palestinians, including 9 minors, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes so far in response to hundreds of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Another 107 Gazans were injured, the Health Ministry says.

Hamas has not yet published a full list of casualties, although Israel has said that at least 15 of the fatalities were members of terror groups.

Local media has identified at least six of the minors so far. Mustafa Aloush, Zakaria Aloush, and Mohammad Abeid were all high school students; Zakara and Mustafa were in eleventh grade, Mohammad in tenth.

Another three children were allegedly killed in an Israeli airstrike in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, including a 10-year-old girl named Rahaf al-Masri. Israel says the children were killed by an errant Palestinian rocket, however, not Israeli fire.

Gaza media has identified many of the targets struck by Israeli fire as belonging to terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including a residential building targeted in the al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza early on Tuesday. The top two floors appeared to have been blown clean off, according to photos circulated in the Palestinian press.

Rocket sirens sound in Gaza border communities

A fresh round of rocket sirens sound in the communities surrounding Gaza as at least one projectile is fired from the Gaza Strip.

Sirens are heard in Yad Mordechai, Karmia, Netiv HaAsara and Zikim.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Pictures released of damage in Lod from arson attack during overnight riots

A religious army preparatory institution damaged in an arson attack during overnight riots in Lod releases photos of the damage.

Video of the outside of the building shows fire damage.

There were protests and riots in the central city overnight in solidarity with Palestinians clashing with Israeli forces in Jerusalem and as rockets fired from Gaza led to retaliatory Israel Defense Forces strikes on the Strip.

The violent protest, during which Arab participants raised Palestinian and Hamas flags, called to “liberate Palestine,” and attacked a school, a synagogue and city hall, was one of several large demonstrations in Arab and mixed Jewish-Arab towns.

Rocket sirens sound in Urim, Ein HaBesor

Rocket sirens sound in two communities close to the Gaza Strip, warning of incoming fire.

Sirens are heard in Urim and Ein HaBesor.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IDF strikes apartment block in upscale al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City – reports

Gaza media reports an Israeli airstrike targeting an apartment building in the upscale al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City.

Medics are on site, according to Palestinian media. According to initial reports, several Palestinians have been injured in the strike.

Gantz approves call-up of 5,000 reserve soldiers amid continuing violence

Defense Minister Benny Gantz approves the potential call-up of 5,000 reserve soldiers in light of the ongoing fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Gantz’s office says the 5,000 troops will include members of units in the Southern Command, Home Front Command and Operations Directorate.

The reservists will not be called up immediately, but can be brought in on short notice if necessary, Gantz’s office says.

“This is for the continuation of operations as part of Operation Guardian of the Walls and reinforcements for defending the home front,” Gantz says, referring to the operation’s official IDF designation.

Earlier in the morning, Gantz gave approval to the IDF for continued operations against terror targets.

Hamas says 2 killed, 8 wounded including a minor, in IDF strike on Gaza City building

Official Hamas media says two people were killed and eight wounded, including a minor, in the strike on a building in the upscale al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City.

Pictures from the scene apparently show that a specific area of the apartment building was targeted.

The IDF strike comes as rocket fire from Gaza into Israel continues throughout the morning.

UN ‘deeply concerned’ by the escalation of violence

The United Nations says it is “deeply concerned” over the escalation of violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

“We condemn all violence and all incitement to violence and ethnic division and provocations,” spokesman Rupert Colville tells reporters in Geneva.

Rivlin calls on Arab leaders to speak out against violence in Israeli towns

President Reuven Rivlin says he spoke with Modar Younis, chairman of the committee of Arab municipal chiefs, and passed on a “sharp message” in the wake of overnight riots in Lod, Ramle and a number of other localities.

“These sights must not be repeated. We must not be held captive by the murderous terrorists from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad who shoot at Israeli citizens indiscriminately,” Rivlin says.

“The people of Israel, Jews as well as Arabs, need to hear the Arab leadership speak in a clear and decisive voice against the rampant violence, against the attack on synagogues, against this wild rampage,” Rivlin says.

“The police will do whatever it takes to restore the peace,” the president says in a tweet. “I ask for the cooperation of the Arab leadership in order to restore calm and law and order to the streets.”

Sirens heard in Gaza border communities of Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz

Rocket sirens sound in the Gaza communities of Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz, warning of incoming fire.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Kohavi: Strikes on Hamas and PIJ members to continue, troops to be bolstered at Gaza border

Army chief Aviv Kohavi orders the military to continue its strikes on rocket production facilities in Gaza controlled by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, as well as other targets in the Strip, the Israel Defense Forces says.

IDF Chief of Staff Kohavi also gives the IDF a green light to strike Hamas and PIJ members operating in Gaza, the military says.

“The chief of staff said the IDF will continue to act determinedly in order to return security to residents of the south and all headquarters should prepare for a wider conflict, which has no time limit,” the IDF says.

Soldiers from the IDF’s Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade are also sent to the Gaza border as reinforcements and additional troops are called in to aerial defense, intelligence and air force units, the military says.

In light of the situation, Kohavi also postpones a major IDF exercise planned for this month until at least the middle of next week.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad says 2 commanders killed in Israeli strike on Gaza City

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group says two of its commanders were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting an apartment block in Gaza City.

Hamas says that eight other people were wounded in the strike, including at least one minor.

According to reports, Israel targeted the high-rise building in the upscale al-Rimal neighborhood of the city.

Sirens heard in Gaza border community of Urim

Rocket sirens warn of incoming fire toward the Gaza border community of Urim.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Sirens sound in Ashdod for 1st time amid barrage; rockets also fired at Ashkelon, Gaza border communities

Sirens are heard in the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon as well as a number of communities bordering the Gaza Strip.

The heavy barrage marks the first time rockets have been fired at Ashdod in the current round of violence.

Sirens also sound in Gan Yavne and Nir Galim, which are located next to Ashdod.

The Iron Dome missile defense system is activated to intercept at least one of the projectiles.

40 rockets fired in massive barrage; buildings hit in Ashdod and Ashkelon, 2 lightly hurt

Dozens of rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and communities in the south of Israel.

Some 40 projectiles are fired in a short period of time, with buildings suffering direct hits in the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Rockets are additionally fired at Hatzor and Gan Yavne.

The Iron Dome missile defense system is activated but it is unclear how many projectiles are intercepted.

Two people are lightly injured and five people are treated for anxiety.

Sirens in Gaza border communities, minutes after apparent attempt to overwhelm Iron Dome

Sirens wail again in a number of Gaza border communities, minutes after a massive barrage that appears to have been an attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defense system.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The IDF said earlier that the system has intercepted upwards of 90% of the rockets fired at populated areas.

Empty school, 2nd building hit by rocket in Ashkelon; home hit in Ashdod

Two buildings in the southern city of Ashkelon and one in Ashdod suffered direct hits from rockets fired in a massive barrage from Gaza.

At least two of the rockets sparked fires.

Police say they found two locations where rockets fell in Ashdod, and six in Ashkelon.

At least three people were lightly injured including a 12-year-old who was lightly injured by shrapnel in Ashkelon.

The IDF ordered schools closed in communities near Gaza today and limited gatherings to groups of 10 people outdoors and 50 people indoors. Businesses are open only if they had easy access to bomb shelters.

Heavy rocket fire continues toward Ashkelon, Gaza border communities

Sirens continue to sound in Ashkelon and the Gaza border communities, warning of incoming rockets.

Television footage shows a burning car Ashkelon after it was apparently hit by a projectile.

At least three buildings have been hit in the city since the early hours of Tuesday.

Additionally, a home was hit in Ashdod.

Israeli security forces at an Ashdod home hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on May 11, 2021 (Flash90)

IDF: Attempted stabbing in West Bank, suspect subdued

The Israel Defense Forces says it received initial reports of an attempted stabbing attack near the Shomron Regional Brigade’s headquarters in the West Bank.

The military says the attacker has been “neutralized.” No further details are given on his condition.

The IDF says it is investigating the incident.

IDF releases footage of strikes on Gaza terrorists firing missiles at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces releases footage of two strikes on Palestinian terrorists who had launched projectiles at southern Israel earlier today.

According to the IDF, soldiers from the elite Egoz commando unit spotted mortar shell launches from a building in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terror group and returned fire with a Spike missile, killing at least two terror operatives inside.

In the footage, the soldiers can be seen watching the building as the mortar shells were fired and then firing their Spike missile, which causes a large explosion. It is not immediately clear where in the Gaza Strip this occurred.

In another case, troops from the Maglan reconnaissance unit struck a group of Hamas members who were preparing to fire anti-tank guided missiles from a launchpad in the Strip.

In that video, a missile is seen streaking from the sky toward a warehouse before impacting and causing a massive blast.

In total, the IDF says it has killed at least 15 members of the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups who were taking part in the rocket launches against Israel.

Hamas says it fired 137 rockets at Israel in 5 minutes

The Hamas terror group is claiming to have fired 137 rockets at Israel in 5 minutes in the latest barrage that targeted Ashdod and Ashkelon.

The organization warns that it has “many surprises” in store if the fighting continues.

Residents of Ashkelon told to remain in sheltered spaces

The military’s Home Front Command is instructing residents of Ashkelon to remain in sheltered spaces until further notice, due to the intensive rocket fire directed at the city.

Reports: 2 killed, others hurt in Ashkelon by rocket from Gaza

Two women have been killed and several other people wounded by a direct rocket hit on a home in Ashkelon.

A paramedic tells Channel 12 that of those wounded, one person is in critical condition and five others lightly hurt in the attack.

IDF says it killed head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit

The IDF says it has killed the head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, in operation carried out in cooperation with the Shin Bet.

Sameh Abed al-Mamluk was killed along with several other senior rocket officials, the army says.

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes kill three commanders

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three commanders in its armed wing.

“Our martyrs, commanders Sameh Fahim Al-Mamlouk, Kamal Tayseer Qureiqa and Muhammad Yahya Abu Al-Atta, bled, and we affirm that the response to their assassination will be harsh,” a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s armed wing says.

Abu al-Atta is the brother of Baha Abu al-Atta, a senior leader in the terror group assassinated by Israel in 2019. His targeted killing sparked a round of escalation between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

Rivlin tell European envoys: No country would accept a situation like this one

In a conversation with European envoys to Israel on the flare-up in Jerusalem and Gaza, President Reuven Rivlin says “no country in the world would accept a similar situation. We will never accept such a reality.”

He adds that “we will defend our citizens with all necessary means.”

Rivlin says Palestinian extremists “have turned the Temple Mount into a cache for weapons, and a base for attacks. We cannot allow this holy site to be used for violent disorder that threatens both Jewish and Muslim worshipers.”

President Rivlin (center) meets with European ambassadors to Israel in Jerusalem, May 11, 2021 (Mark Neyman/GPO)

Gantz: For every day of attacks, we’ll take terror groups back years

Meeting with military officials and local authority heads in the south, Defense Minister Benny Gantz says: “For every day of attacks on Israeli citizens, we’ll take the terror organizations back years. We will not stop until calm returns.”

He adds that security forces “have caused and will continue to cause severe damage to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a press conference in Tel Aviv, April 22, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

IDF announces fresh round of Gaza strikes; sirens continue in Israeli towns

The military says it had conducted a fresh round of strikes on terror targets in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets were the office of a senior Hamas commander, posts, a military compound and a weapons warehouse.

The military also releases video of the attack that killed several Islamic Jihad commanders, including a senior rocket official.

Meanwhile, rocket sirens continue to sound every few minutes in Israeli communities in the Gaza periphery.

New rocket barrage on Ashkelon after residents permitted to leave bomb shelters

A new rocket barrage is reported on the city of Ashkelon.

The fresh attack comes minutes after the military tells residents they are permitted to leave bomb shelters.

Netanyahu says Israel will intensify strikes on Gaza, deliver blows that Hamas does not expect

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a situational assessment with Defense Minister Gantz, the military chief and other top brass.

“We are in the midst of a campaign,” he says. “Since yesterday afternoon the IDF has carried out hundreds of strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. We’ve hit commanders and many high-quality targets.”

He says a decision has been made “to further intensify the severity and pace of the attacks.”

“Hamas will receive blows here that it did not expect,” he says.

Netanyahu tells Israelis: “I know that this also entails patience and a certain sacrifice on your part… Unfortunately, two of our people have been killed. I ask all of you to listen to instructions and strictly follow the directives of IDF Home Front Command. It saves lives.”

The PM also relates to violence by Israeli Arabs: “I would also like to say something to Israeli Arabs. There were wild disturbances here yesterday, which we cannot tolerate, by young hotheads. Our directive is to do everything to maintain law and order. I expect all public leaders, especially leaders of the Arab public, to stand up and condemn these disturbances and do everything to restore the quiet.

“We have given instructions that police units be reinforced with additional Border Police battalions. We will reinforce them as necessary in order to maintain law and order in the State of Israel. Here as well, the cooperation of all Israeli citizens is needed.”

2 rocket victims are elderly woman, caregiver who couldn’t reach shelter in time

Hebrew media is reporting that the two women killed in the rocket attacks on Ashkelon were killed in two separate locations:

One was an elderly woman who was sitting in her home. Several relatives were wounded.

The second was a foreign caregiver of an elderly woman. The two did not manage to get to shelter in time.

TV: Hamas has sought ceasefire, Israel has refused

Channel 12 reports that Arab intermediaries have conveyed to Israel Hamas’s desire to reach a new ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

However, Israel has refused, with officials feeling the terror group has not yet paid a sufficient price for its attacks on Israel.

Lod police said on high alert ahead of funeral of Arab shot by Jew during riots

Police are on high alert in the city of Lod ahead of the funeral of an Arab man shot dead by a Jewish man during protests and riots by local Arab residents overnight, Haaretz reports.

Arab leadership has called for “a mass outcry of rage” at the funeral.

Police are investigating Mousa Hasouna’s death and have detained several people suspected in the shooting.

18-year-old stabbed in Beersheba, in moderate-to-severe condition

An 18-year-old has been stabbed in Beersheba, near Soroka Medical Center. He is in moderate-to-severe condition following the attack.

A policeman who witnessed the attack fired in the air to scare off the assailant. He was then chased down and arrested.

Media reports describe the attacker as “a member of a minority.” Police are investigating whether the attack was nationalistic or criminal in nature.

Gathering of Muslim nations condemns Israel

A gathering of representatives of Muslim nations has condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in  Jerusalem.

The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is held to present a unified response from the Muslim world to the soaring tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and the latest violent confrontations in Jerusalem.

In a communiqué, the meeting denounces Israel’s “continuous violations” of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, “barbaric attacks” against worshipers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound. It says that it considers the Israeli actions a “provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world and serious violation of international law.”

It calls on the international community to hold Israel liable for the escalation and to press it to halt attacks that threaten “the security and stability of the region.” It also reaffirms the long-standing Arab stance of support for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israeli military warns Gazans to stay away from Hamas sites

The Israeli military’s Arabic-language spokesperson warns Gazans to distance themselves from Hamas weapons caches throughout the coastal enclave.

“The Israel Defense Forces is currently launching a large and exceptional round of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip,” Avichay Adraee says.

“For your safety: Stay away from any site that contains Hamas weapons.”

Smoke billows from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on May 11, 2021 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Supreme Court orders retrial of Roman Zadorov in murder of 13-year old Tair Rada

The Supreme Court has ordered a retrial for Roman Zadorov, sentenced to life in prison for murdering a 13-year old girl, despite his repeated assertions that he had been wrongly convicted.

Roman Zadorov, a Ukrainian-Israeli handyman, has spent more than a decade in prison for the brutal 2006 murder of Tair Rada.

Zadorov’s attorneys have asserted they have fresh evidence that casts doubt on his conviction.

Rada was found dead in a bathroom stall in her Katzrin school in the Golan Heights, with slashes to her neck, stab wounds across her body, and severe blows to her head.

Roman Zadorov, convicted for the 2006 murder of Tair Rada, sits in the courtroom of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on October 20, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Rada’s murder case has long gripped the Israeli public, due both to the brutal way in which she was killed and continuing claims that it was not Zadorov who committed the murder.

France urges Israel to use ‘proportionate’ force over Gaza

The use of force by Israel must be “proportionate” in response to rockets fired by the Hamas terror group following several nights of violence in Jerusalem, a French minister says.

“Quite clearly, we call for a proportionate use of force by the Israeli authorities,” deputy foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne tells French lawmakers.

France will “continue to work” to ensure a political solution to the crisis and the underlying Palestinian conflict, he adds.

French Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne at the National Assembly in Paris, May 12, 2020 (Gonzalo Fuentes/Pool via AP)

“These events show that a political solution is needed, and with regards to this we will never take a backseat,” he says.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian adds in a statement that “all participants must demonstrate the utmost restraint and avoid all provocations or incitement to hate, in order to end the violence whose primary victims are the Palestinian and Israeli populations.”

Arab League chief blames Israel for escalation

The head of the Arab League has blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in the region, warning that Israeli policies will blow up the situation in Jerusalem.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organization, speaks as Arab foreign ministers meet to discuss the latest bout of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit speaks during an Arab League emergency meeting discussing the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict, at the league headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on February 1, 2020. (Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

He decries what he calls Israel’s provocative practices in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the planned eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

“What we have witnessed is, clearly and frankly, a provocation by the Israeli occupation, that targeted the holiest Islamic sanctities, at the most sacred time,” he says, referring to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He urges the UN Security Council to take action.

Hamas says 28 people killed in Gaza since yesterday

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says 28 people were killed and 152 wounded in the latest round of cross-border violence.

It says nine children and a woman have been killed, most by airstrikes. The Israeli military says at least 16 of the dead were combatants, and has said some of the civilians may have been killed by failed rocket launches from Gaza.

Gantz: Gaza operation meant to weaken Hamas, make it regret attacks

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel’s goal with its ongoing strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the enclave is to severely weaken the Hamas terror group in order to restore calm to southern Israel.

Gantz says the operation, dubbed Guardian of the Walls, is likely to last at least several days as Israeli aircraft, ground forces and naval ships bomb assets and operatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“The purpose of the operation is to strike Hamas hard, to weaken it and to make it regret its decision [to launch rockets at Israel],” Gantz says, speaking to reporters next to an Iron Dome missile defense battery in southern Israel.

“Every bomb has an address. We will continue this in both the coming hours and the coming days. It’s hard to estimate how long it will take,” he says.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks to an air defense soldier operating an Iron Dome missile defense battery in southern Israel on May 11, 2021. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Minister)

Rioting in Lod, 2 cops injured, during funeral of Arab who was shot dead

Reports of rioting in Lod as a funeral is held for an Arab man shot dead by a Jewish man during yesterday’s unrest in the city.

Two policemen have been lightly injured.

https://twitter.com/shlomo_rizel/status/1392131316821467140

IDF orders schools in Gaza periphery to remain closed tomorrow

The Israel Defense Forces orders schools to remain closed in Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip tomorrow in light of threats of continued rocket fire from the enclave.

However, the military eases some restrictions on residents of the area, allowing larger gatherings in indoor spaces of up to 100 people. Businesses can still only open if those inside can reach a bomb shelter quickly.

The IDF also maintains its requirement that schools and businesses in central Israel only be allowed to open if those inside have ready access to bomb shelters. Gatherings of up to 30 people are allowed outdoors and up to 300 people indoors, the military says.

Warning sirens continue sounding regularly in Gaza-adjacent communities

Sirens continue to sound regularly in Israeli communities near Gaza, with launches every few minutes.

Most rockets are either intercepted by Iron Dome or fall in open areas.

Report: Over 600 rockets fired from Gaza since fighting began

Kan news reports that over 600 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel since fighting began yesterday.

Five of those rockets made direct hits on homes, the report says: four in Ashkelon and one in Ashdod.

A video from Ashkelon earlier provides a good look at a barrage and Iron Dome interceptions.

TV: Iron Dome malfunction during barrage on Ashkelon let rockets get through

A technical issue with an Iron Dome battery during a massive rocket barrage on Ashkelon earlier prevented some interceptions of rockets and may have been responsible for the casualties and deaths in the city, Channel 12 reports.

The malfunction was repaired and the battery is now fully operational, the network says.

An Iron Dome missile defense system fires an interceptor at a target during an exercise in early 2021. (Defense Ministry)

IDF says it launched major offensive on dozens of rocket launch tubes in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a major offensive against the Hamas terror group’s rocket-launching capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip, after hundreds of projectiles were fired from the area at Israeli cities across the border earlier in the day.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says some 80 fighter jets, including the advanced F-35 aircraft, are taking part in the operation, which began this afternoon.

According to Zilberman, the military aims to destroy dozens of rocket launch tubes that the terror group has buried around the northern Gaza Strip. The spokesman says this would “totally neutralize” the rocket launching capabilities of three Hamas brigades in northern Gaza.

An F-35 fighter jet takes off during a surprise exercise, ‘Galilee Rose,’ in February 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Zilberman says the military has also conducted an additional targeted killing of a Hamas commander, taking out the head of the terror group’s anti-tank guided missile unit in Gaza City.

The spokesman says the IDF also bombed an attack tunnel approaching the border with Israel, which had operatives in it at the time and are now trapped inside.

“This is not something that will end in 24 hours. This is something that will last,” he says, echoing similar comments made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier in the day.

According to Zilberman, 3,000 reservists have been called up to various units in the military, notably the Southern Command and Home Front Command, and reinforcements were sent to the Gaza Division from the Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade. He says an additional Iron Dome missile defense battery has also been deployed in southern Israel.

Egypt says it reached out to Israel over tensions to no avail

Egypt reached out to Israel to calm tensions in Jerusalem but was met with indifference, its top diplomat tells an emergency Arab League meeting on the crisis.

“In the last few days, Egypt extensively reached out to Israel and other concerned countries urging them to exert all possible efforts to prevent the deterioration of the situation in Jerusalem,” says Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

“But we did not get the necessary response,” he tells the meeting of the Arab League via videoconference.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prepares to take a question during a press conference following talks in Moscow, Russia, May 14, 2018. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Hamas claims to use new missile to bypass Iron Dome in Ashkelon

Hamas’s armed wing says the terror group used a new kind of “Sijeel” missile to strike Israeli cities today, one which the organization claims successfully bypassed Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

“For the first time, we utilized the tactic of firing the Sijeel missiles at Ashkelon, which have a high destructive power and succeeded in overcoming the Iron Dome,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades say in a statement.

Hebrew media has reported that a temporary malfunction in Iron Dome and the large volume of rockets fired within a short span of time may have contributed to the ability to hit the city. The Israeli army has not commented on Hamas’s claims.

Footage from Lod rioting shows police car on fire

More footage from the unrest in Lod shows a police car on fire.

Reported shooting attempt at West Bank junction; two assailants shot

The military is reporting an apparent shooting attempt in the West Bank’s Tapuah Junction.

It says two assailants have been shot. No Israelis are hurt.

According to Ynet, the two rolled down their car’s windows and pulled out handguns which they pointed at soldiers stationed at the intersection. The troops shot them.

The report says one of the assailants was killed and another seriously injured.

Hamas threatens to fire rockets at Tel Aviv

After a series of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Hamas threatens to fire rockets at Tel Aviv should Israel continue targeting what it claims are residential areas.

Israel conducted attacks inside Gaza City today, some of which were targeted strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel says many terror targets are intentionally located within residential areas to shield them from attack.

“If the enemy persists in bombing civilian towers, then Tel Aviv will have an appointment with a harsh missile strike that exceeds what happened in Ashkelon,” a spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing says.

Military moves armored forces south amid ongoing rocket attacks

The military is moving armored forces toward the Gaza Strip, among them tanks, personnel carriers and D9 bulldozers.

The move is a response to the rising violence along the border, as the IDF steps up its offensive against Gaza terror groups, and does not signify a looming ground offensive at this time (though defense officials have said they also won’t rule out such a move if attacks against Israel continue).

The army earlier said reinforcements were being sent to the Gaza Division from the Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade.

Earlier today the army also deployed artillery cannons along the border, for the first time since the 2014 Gaza war.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in the area of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Army says 630 rockets fired at Israel; 150 failed launches fell inside Gaza

The military says 630 rockets have been launched toward Israel since yesterday, with 480 rockets fired into Israeli territory and some 150 failed launches that fell inside Gaza territory.

It says some 200 of the 480 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome (the system does not target rockets calculated to hit unpopulated areas).

Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip towards Israel, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

US sanctions 7 Lebanese nationals allegedly involved in financing Hezbollah

The US Treasury Department announces new sanctions on seven Lebanese nationals it says have been involved in financing the Hezbollah terror group.

The seven men blacklisted include the chief of Hezbollah’s Central Finance Unit Ibrahim Ali Daher, along with others who the US says used their personal bank accounts to evade sanctions targeting Hezbollah’s effective financial firm Al-Qard al-Hassan. The US blacklisted AQAH in 2007, saying Hezbollah uses it as a cover to manage the group’s financial activities and to gain access to the international financial system.

“From the highest levels of Hezbollah’s financial apparatus to working level individuals, Hezbollah continues to abuse the Lebanese financial sector and drain Lebanon’s financial resources at an already dire time,” says the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea Gacki. “Such actions demonstrate Hizballah’s disregard for financial stability, transparency, or accountability in Lebanon.”

The decision announced Tuesday will freeze any US assets of the seven blacklisted and bar Americans from doing business with them at the risk of being hit with additional sanctions.

Blinken says ‘all sides need to de-escalate’ in Middle East

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges both Israel and the Palestinians to lower tensions and urges an immediate end to rocket fire by Hamas.

“All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down,” Blinken says as he meets his Jordanian counterpart in Washington.

Blinken strongly condemns rocket fire by Hamas and backs Israel’s right to respond. The rocket attacks “need to stop immediately,” he says.

He also praises steps taken by Israel over the past day partly in response to concerns led by the United States, including rerouting a flashpoint parade meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the press prior to a meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department in Washington, DC, May 10, 2021 (SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP)

Blinken also points to the postponement of a decision on the eviction of Palestinian families in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, an immediate trigger for the violence that has left hundreds injured in the holy city.

“But it’s imperative for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation,” Blinken says.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says that Jerusalem is a “red line” for the kingdom, which has a peace treaty with Israel and maintains a custodial role in the Temple Mount compound, known to Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif.

“Our focus right now is on ensuring that the escalation stops, and for that to happen we believe that all illegal, provocative measures against the peoples of Sheikh Jarrah or in terms of violations into al-Haram must stop,” Safadi says.

Gulf countries intensify criticism of Israel

Gulf Arab countries are offering harsh criticism of Israel in the wake of the latest Israeli-Palestinian confrontation as violence rises in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Kuwaitis stage a sit-in outside parliament, chanting “No to normalization” with Israel and voicing support for the Palestinians.

The de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, stresses “the importance of putting an end to all aggressions and practices that exacerbate tension and wrath in the sacred city” of Jerusalem. He discussed flaring Mideast tensions in meetings with the Bahraini crown prince and Jordan’s prime minister.

Bahrain also renews its criticism of the rising tensions, with the speaker of parliament affirming the kingdom’s support for a two-state solution and denouncing Israel’s “provocations against the people of Jerusalem.”

Harsh condemnations also have poured in from regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia and the tiny state of Kuwait, which have traditionally considered themselves among the standard-bearers for the Palestinian cause.

UN urges Israel to exercise ‘maximum restraint, calibrate use of force’ in Gaza

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “gravely concerned” by the ongoing escalation in Israel and Gaza, his spokesman says in a statement.

Guterres “is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza,” the statement says.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to The Associated Press in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudhry)

Guterres calls on Israeli security forces to “exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force,” while adding that the “indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centers” by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad is “unacceptable.”

“This spiraling escalation must cease immediately,” the statement continues. “The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently.”

Senior defense official: Israel may start considering ceasefire tomorrow

A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Israel is not open to a ceasefire yet.

However, he adds that it may start considering one tomorrow, depending on developments.

Muslim man stabbed to death on Temple Mount, apparently by another Muslim

A Muslim man has been stabbed to death at the Temple Mount compound, the Ynet news site reports.

The report says the man was stabbed by another Muslim, and that it appears the killing was part of a feud between families.

Israel destroys Gaza high-rise after warning occupants to leave

A short time ago Israel struck a 13-story residential building in Gaza City.

According to Channel 12 and an UNRWA official, prior to the strike people in the building received several warnings, including phone calls and messages, telling them to leave and a preliminary “roof-knocking” strike — using a small missile to strike the roof with minimal damage in order to cause all inside to leave before a major strike.

Hamas earlier threatened to launch long-range rockets at Tel Aviv should Israel continue airstrikes in residential areas. Channel 12 says the group was apparently referring to the high-rise in question.

It is not yet clear why Israel targeted the building. The network reports it apparently served as the home for many terror operatives, including some released by Israel during the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

In videos from the scene, the building can be seen being enveloped in dense smoke before collapsing.

 

Fresh rocket launches; empty kibbutz structure said hit

Fresh rocket launches are reported in the Gaza periphery, as are Iron Dome interceptions.

Walla news reports that one rocket hit a structure in a kibbutz. There were no people there at the time.

TV: Ministers criticize security officials for bad intel on Hamas plans for escalation

Security cabinet officials have criticized the security establishment for failing to predict Hamas’s readiness to engage in a major escalation with Israel, Channel 12 news reports.

An unnamed cabinet member tells the network officials repeatedly downplayed the potential that Hamas would launch a major offensive.

“The security apparatuses fell asleep on their watch and wrongly assessed Hamas’s motivation,” he says. “This was not a moment’s decision, but a calculated plan by Hamas leaders. The intel radar was not tuned to the correct wavelength.”

However, another security cabinet member tells the network that security officials had, in fact, in recent days changed their tune and spoken of the potential of escalation in Gaza.

Rocket alert sirens sound throughout central Israel, Tel Aviv

Rocket alert sirens are sounding in Tel Aviv and throughout central Israel, amid an apparent barrage from the Gaza Strip.

Explosions are heard throughout the area.

Gaza terror groups fire massive rocket barrage at central Israel

Palestinian terror groups fire massive barrages of long-range rockets at central Israel, triggering sirens in Tel Aviv and throughout its suburbs.

The rockets are fired in multiple waves. Residents of the area report hearing the sounds of explosions, an indicator that the Iron Dome missile defense system has been used to shoot down some of the incoming projectiles.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Home Front Command instructs all residents of central and southern Israel to enter bomb shelters and remain there for at least 10 minutes.

Hamas says it fired unprecedented 130 rockets at Tel Aviv, central Israel

Hamas takes responsibility for launching 130 rockets at Tel Aviv and central Israel, causing non-stop sirens for several minutes.

“Now, in fulfillment of our promise, the Al-Qassam Brigades has launched the largest missile strike on Tel Aviv and its environs, with 130 missiles, in response to the enemy’s targeting of civilian high-rises,” Hamas says in a statement on its Telegram.

The number of rockets fired at central Israel could not be immediately confirmed.

There have been no immediate reports of casualties. Explosions could be heard by local residents.

Fresh rocket sirens sound in central Israel as barrages from Gaza continue

Fresh rocket sirens are triggered in central Israel as Palestinian terrorists apparently fire another barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The sirens can be heard in Tel Aviv and its surrounding suburbs, as well as towns to the north of the city as far as Rishpon.

In addition, alarms are heard in areas closer to the Gaza, including the city of Ashkelon and nearby communities.

Rocket strikes Holon bus, injuring a number of people, one seriously, medics say

A rocket strikes the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, injuring a number of people, including one person seriously, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service say medics are on the scene treating the wounded.

The rocket appears to have struck a bus in the city.

The exact number of casualties and their conditions are not immediately known.

New round of sirens sound in Tel Aviv area as terrorists pummel central Israel

A fresh round of air raid sirens are triggered in central Israel as Palestinian terror groups continued firing salvos from the Gaza Strip.

The alarms are heard in Tel Aviv and in the surrounding suburbs of Ramat Gan, Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

3 moderately hurt as rocket strikes Holon, medics say

At least three people are moderately injured, including a 5-year-old girl, after a rocket strikes the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, medics say.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, its medics are treating a 50-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman and a 5-year-old girl in the city and are taking them to the hospital for further care.

Diplomat says Hamas wanted earlier to deescalate

A diplomat familiar with mediation attempts tells The Times of Israel that Hamas relayed earlier today that it was interested in deescalating tensions, but that it would respond if Israeli strikes continued.

The diplomat says that Israel has not responded to proposals aimed at ending the ongoing violence.

Medics: At least 6 people injured as rocket strikes Holon

At least six people have been injured after a rocket struck the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, medics say.

According to the United Hatzalah emergency service, the casualties all sustained moderate or light-to-moderate injuries.

“I gave first aid to the victims, who had bruises and wounds. It seems they were injured by shrapnel and the blast. After giving them first aid, they were taken to the hospital as they were fully conscious,” a medic says.

Fresh sirens sound in central Israel as Gaza rocket barrages persist

Incoming rocket sirens sound in the city of Tel Aviv and its suburbs as terror groups in the Gaza Strip continued to fire waves of rockets at central Israel in the largest ever attack of its kind.

Ben Gurion Airport halts arrivals and departures, flights rerouted to Cyprus

Ben Gurion Airport has temporarily stopped air traffic due to the ongoing rocket barrages on central Israel.

Air traffic is being rerouted to Cyprus, Channel 12 says.

Another round of sirens triggered near airport

A fresh round of air raid sirens sound in central Israel, east of Tel Aviv, including outside Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

The alarms are heard in cities and towns in the Shfela region of central Israel, including the mixed Arab-Jewish towns of Ramla and Lod.

Woman killed in rocket strike in Rishon Lezion

A woman has died after a rocket strike in Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv.

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip struck a number of cities and towns in central Israel, authorities say.

Impact sites are reported in the cities of Rishon Lezion and Ramat Gan outside of Tel Aviv, as well as in Sdot and in the Arab town of Taibe, police say.

Palestinians say 2 shot by army at West Bank junction are intel service members

A Palestinian security source tells AFP that the two Palestinians shot earlier at Tapuah Junction, in what the army said was an attempted shooting attack, were members of Palestinian intelligence services.

The army said the two pulled guns on soldiers before being shot.

Islamic Jihad says it’s behind some barrages on central Israel, threatens more

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the last few barrages of rockets towards Tel Aviv, threatening more should Israel target high-rise buildings and Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“If the enemy continues to target residential towers and civilians, Tel Aviv will remain under the fire of the resistance,” the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, says in a statement.

Police: Rockets strike Holon, Givatayim, causing at least 8 injuries

Rockets strike the Tel Aviv suburbs of Holon and Givatayim, injuring at least eight people, some of them seriously, police say.

In the recent attacks from the Gaza Strip, one rocket strikes next to a bus in Holon, injuring four people, two of them seriously and two of them moderately.

In Givatayim, fragments of a rocket that was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system hit a house, lightly injuring four people inside, police say.

Medics forced to take cover while treating patient as new attack triggers alarm

Medics who were treating people struck by a rocket that hit Holon say they were forced to take cover with their patients as a fresh attack triggered additional sirens in the city.

“As we got close to the scene, we saw a bus and number of cars on fire. A woman in her 30s was lying on the ground, not moving. She was fully conscious and sustained shrapnel wounds to her upper body. We began treating her, giving her life-saving care, when another siren began,” the medic Regina Mizrahi says.

“We immediately ran with the patient, who was in a stretcher, to a safe place under a building. Once the sirens ended and we could leave, we returned to the road, put her in the ambulance and took her to the hospital in stable condition,” she says.

Gaza media: Israel threatening several more high-rises with strikes

Gaza media reports that several high-rise buildings have been evacuated due to Israeli threats that they will imminently be demolished.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have both threatened Israel not to destroy any more high-rises in Gaza. They have said they will continue firing rockets at Tel Aviv if Israel does so.

Netanyahu, Gantz to deliver address from IDF HQ after barrages on Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz will deliver a joint address from military headquarters in Tel Aviv following a massive rocket attack on central Israel by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials over the past day have threatened to launch a wider campaign against Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip, including a potential ground invasion.

The address by Netanyahu and Gantz is due to begin shortly, their offices say.

Trump: Biden’s weakness, lack of support for Israel leading to new attacks

Former US president Donald Trump comments on the violence in Israel:

“When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked,” he says.

“Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies.”

Then US president Donald Trump welcomes visiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Cabinet source tells website: Terrorists ‘haven’t seen iota of our capabilities’

An unnamed cabinet source tells Ynet that Gaza terror groups “haven’t seen an iota of our capabilities.”

The same source adds that “it will take time to achieve deterrence with Hamas. We didn’t think it would be immediate.”

IDF destroys another building in Gaza City, despite threats from terror groups

Israeli forces destroy the al-Jawharah high-rise in Gaza City, flaunting threats from Gaza terror groups.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad had previously said that such demolitions would lead to further rocket fire on Tel Aviv.

Schools throughout southern, central Israel to be closed tomorrow

Schools in southern and central Israel will be closed tomorrow — from Herzliya southward, the Home Front Command says.

A previous report that schools would be closed throughout the country was erroneous.

Tank belonging to Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline on fire after rocket hit

A large tank belonging to the Eilat-Ashkelon oil pipeline was hit by a rocket earlier today and has been on fire for several hours, media is now reporting.

Firefighters have been working to douse the blaze, so far unsuccessfully.

Channel 12 reports there are fears that hazardous materials could be spread by the fire.

US: Israel has right to respond to Gaza rockets; Palestinians have right to safety

The US is “deeply concerned” about the ongoing escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza and calls on sides to exercise restraint in order bring a return to calm, State Department spokesman Ned Price says in a statement at the opening of his daily press briefing.

“Israel has the right to defend itself and to respond to rocket attacks,” he says. “The Palestinian people also have the right to safety and security just as Israelis do.”

Price laments the loss of life to both sides, highlighting the children and innocent civilians who have been among the casualties.

He also expresses concern regarding reports that hundreds of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, noting that officers were also wounded.

“We call on all sides to exercise restraint and calm,” the State Department spokesman says, adding that the US will continue to engage on the matter.

Rocket fire resumes, targeting towns in south, after half-hour lull

Air raid sirens sound in two communities in the Eshkol region of southern Israel, following a half-hour lull in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The alarms are heard in the communities of Eshkol and Ein Hashlosha.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The apparent attacks come after major barrages were fired from Gaza at central Israel.

Antony Blinken, Wendy Sherman speak with Israeli counterparts on Gaza escalations

US State Department spokesman Ned Price says senior US officials have been in contact with their Israeli counterparts in recent days regarding the ongoing escalation in Jerusalem and Gaza.

This includes US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who spoke with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman who spoke with her Israeli counterpart, Price says. It was not immediately clear who he was referring to as Israel does not have a deputy foreign minister.

Price also notes that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat on Sunday and says that calls between lower-level officials have also been taking place.

“We’ll always have a partner in the Israeli government,” he says.

The State Department spokesman says the US officials have also been speaking to their Palestinian counterparts, but does not identify the Palestinian officials, despite repeated requests. Asked at what level those talks with Palestinian officials have been, Price responds, “at the appropriate level,” hinting that the calls with Israeli officials have been between higher-ranking officials than those with Palestinian officials.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks at the State Department in Washington, March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

The spokesman clarifies that the US has not been in contact with Hamas, which Washington designates as a terror organization.

He highlights “encouraging steps” taken in the last day by leadership from both sides, including the Israeli decisions to reroute the Jerusalem Day Flag Parade away from the Old City’s Muslim Quarter and to delay a hearing on the looming eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. He also praises Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to cancel Ramadan celebrations in the West Bank on Monday night.

Price is pressed on whether he has seen photos of the Palestinian children killed in Gaza, reportedly in Israeli airstrikes.

“I’ve seen those pictures. It’s hard not to look at those pictures and feel a sense of the suffering,” he says solemnly. “It’s precisely why today we have called for restraint and de-escalation in an effort to preserve life.”

He also calls Hamas rocket attacks “horrific.”

Video of ‘fireworks’ over Tel Aviv as rockets, interceptors streak through sky

Striking footage taken in central Israel this evening during the massive barrage from Gaza shows rockets and Iron Dome interceptors crisscross the skies, in what many on social media and in the media are wryly calling a fireworks show.

State Dept. spokesman says ‘hard not to feel suffering’ of Palestinian children killed

US State Department spokesman Ned Price is pressed during his daily press briefing whether he has seen photos of the Palestinian children killed reportedly in Israeli airstrikes.

“I’ve seen those pictures. It’s hard not to look at those pictures and feel a sense of the suffering,” he says solemnly. “It’s precisely why today we have called for restraint and de-escalation in an effort to preserve life.”

He also calls Hamas rocket attacks “horrific.”

He also says: “We call for restraint and for calm. Israel has the right to defend itself and to respond to rocket attacks.

“The Palestinian people also have the right to safety and security, just as Israelis do,” Price tells reporters.

“Reports of civilian deaths are something that we regret and would like to come to a stop,” Price adds. “We don’t want to see provocations. The provocations we have seen have resulted in a deeply lamentable loss of life,” he says.

“We continue to call for calm, continue to call on all sides to de-escalate and to exercise restraint in their actions.”

After over an hour, Ben Gurion Airport reopens to flights

Ben Gurion International Airport reopens to flights after it was closed over an hour ago following massive rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Airports Authority says.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says Hamas, Islamic Jihad will pay a heavy price

In a live statement to Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups will “pay a heavy price” for their attacks on central and southern Israel.

“Their blood is on their own hands,” Netanyahu says of the terror groups’ leadership.

The prime minister says the military has so far struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip and will continue to conduct raids in the enclave.

“We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders. We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with all force,” he says.

“This will take time,” he says, but “with determination, unity and strength, we will restore security to the people of Israel.”

Netanyahu calls on Israelis to follow all safety instructions issued by authorities.

Hamas chief hails ‘victory in battle for Jerusalem’; claims ‘new balance of power’ with Israel

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh says the terror group has set “a new balance of power” with Israel following a barrage of rockets on central Israel.

“We have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem, the defense of Jerusalem,” Haniyeh says. He later adds: “Jerusalem is the axis of conflict.”

Haniyeh also mentions what he deems a series of “victories” by Palestinians in recent months, among them preventing the annual march of right-wing religious nationalist Jews through Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day and the delay in pending evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.

“We were victorious when our people said ‘no to the displacement of our people in Sheikh Jarrah,'” Haniyeh says.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a meeting with foreign reporters in Gaza City on June 20, 2019 (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

“Today, Gaza answered the call… for how could Gaza drag its feet when it comes to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque?” he says.

Today’s battles with Israel — including an unprecedented barrage of rockets on the country’s center — have rewritten the rules of the game, Haniyeh says.

“What is taking place right now is an honor for our people, our nation,” Haniyeh says. “There is a new balance of power right now.”

Haniyeh also mentions the unrest between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis in cities across the country. “Gaza and Jerusalem and the 1948 areas are moving together,” he says.

IDF chief: Military has struck over 500 targets in Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi says the Israeli military has conducted strikes on over 500 targets in the past day and a half, killing dozens of terrorist operatives, which he says have been painful to Palestinian terror groups in the enclave.

“We are determined to strike terror groups in the most serious way possible,” Kohavi says.

The IDF chief says the military will continue to conduct strikes on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad sites in the Gaza Strip and is prepared for a wider conflict.

Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman gives very brief remarks. “It is insufferable” for a terrorist organization to be threatening Israel, he says, and adds: “Now is not the time for talking.”

Gantz says many more Gaza targets in pipeline

Speaking after Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel has “a great many targets in the pipeline” that it can yet strike in Gaza. “This is only the start.”

He says terror organizations “have been severely hit and will continue to be hit due to their reckless decision to fire at Israel.”

He also calls for calm between Arabs and Jews within the country.

“The IDF keeps everyone safe, Jews and Arabs alike,” he says. He calls for “all Israelis to behave responsibly and avoid violence.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a press conference in Tel Aviv, April 22, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Foreign worker injured in latest attack on Eshkol region

A foreign worker is moderately injured after a mortar shell fired from Gaza explodes near him, local authorities say.

According to the Eshkol regional council, the worker, a Thai national, is hit by shrapnel.

He has been taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center for treatment.

“In light of the incident, the safety instructions have been provided, in Thai, to all of the farmers who employ foreign workers,” an Eshkol spokesperson says.

Synagogues, stores, dozens of cars on fire in Lod amid intense rioting

Intense Arab rioting is reported in the Arab-Jewish cities of Ramle and Lod tonight, after hours of unrest.

Channel 12 reports that three synagogues and numerous shops have been set on fire in Lod, and dozens of cars have been set alight. The network says police are escorting some terrified Jewish residents from homes in Lod.

It also reports that police are doing little to halt the rioting.

Lod resident Shiloh Fried tells Channel 12: “Gangs of Arab youths are going street to street, burning stores, smashing windows… Jewish families are huddled at home, terrified of going out… Their cars are being set alight outside… Police are nowhere to be seen.”

Cars on fire in Lod after being set alight by mobs of rioters, May 11, 2021 (video screenshot)

He urges police: “Show yourselves — show that you’re not abandoning the city… and calm things down.”

There are reports that some residents are avoiding using public shelters during rocket sirens, out of fear they could be attacked by mobs.

Channel 12 also shows footage of Jewish residents of Lod hurling rocks at cars of Arab residents, though Fried claims such an incident is a minor one compared to the scope of Arab rioting.

Lod mayor describes ‘Kristallnacht, civil war’ in city; says army must deploy

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo says he’s asked the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in the Jewish-Arab city in central Israel. He calls for the military to be deployed in the city, saying “this is too big for police.”

“This is Kristallnacht in Lod,” he says, in reference to the Nazi pogrom against German Jews in 1938.

“I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet… There is a failure of governance… This is a giant incident — an Intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.”

“All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control… This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets… Civil war has erupted in Lod… The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Petrol bombs are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.”

Revivo says people are going out with guns because they fear for their lives.

He says Islamists are inciting the city’s youth. “We haven’t done anything to you,” he tells the city’s Arabs, begging them for calm.

Revivo says 70 years of coexistence could be destroyed by what is happening.

“Every minute, a car or a synagogue or a school is going up in flames… Our new city hall was broken into and set alight. You don’t understand what’s happening here. This is worse than the missiles from Gaza.”

He says “there’s been nothing like this in the history of Israel.”

Official dismisses claims US failed to prioritize Mideast conflict

US State Department spokesman Ned Price dismisses claims that the United States has failed to prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It is not that we haven’t been paying attention. We’ve been deeply engaged, and that predates the current escalation,” Price says.

“It is not that we have failed to prioritize this. That is not the case,” he adds, arguing that the US and other countries have “recognized” that the two sides are not in a position to enter meaningful negotiations toward a two-state solution.

“If there’s an opportunity to advance that ball toward a two-state solution,” the US would help facilitate that effort, he says.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, on Monday, March 1, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

Price avoids responding to a question regarding whether the US will appoint a special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as previous administrations have done and does not state when the US will appoint an ambassador to Israel.

“Our ability [to influence] in some cases is limited,” he says.

Gantz approves fresh air force attack and defensive plans

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has approved Israeli Air Force attack and defensive plans, his office says.

“The defense minister visited the air force’s underground command center with the head of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, and reviewed plans for strikes and air defenses ahead of the operations expected to take place tonight,” Gantz’s office says.

Gantz also invites the Knesset’s Intelligence and Clandestine Services Subcommittee to military headquarters tomorrow for an “operational update,” his office says.

An Israeli F-15 military jet takes off from the military airport of Andravida in southern Greece, as part of the Hellenic Air Force’s ‘INIOCHOS 2021’ multinational aviation exercise on April 18, 2021. (ARIS MESSINIS / AFP)

Gantz’s office refuses to elaborate on the matter.

The subcommittee, led by Yesh Atid MK Orna Barbivai, is tasked with providing parliamentary oversight to Israel’s intelligence services. The other members of the committee are Likud MK Avi Dichter, Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar, New Hope MK Gideon Sa’ar, Meretz MK Yair Golan and Yesh Atid MK Ram Ben-Barak, most of whom have extensive backgrounds in Israel’s security forces.

Gantz sends all Border Police forces under IDF to aid enforcement in Lod

Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders all Border Police companies currently assisting the Israel Defense Forces in West Bank operations to go to the central Israeli city of Lod and other mixed population towns experiencing unrest.

The move comes after the mayor of Lod requested assistance from the military to quell the violence.

Gantz’s office says the border guards will be sent to Lod immediately.

Local police chief denies Jews in Lod were escorted from their homes

Moshe Bareket, the central district police commander, denies that Jewish families had to be escorted from their homes to safety by police to escape Arab mobs.

“Families were not evacuated from their homes,” he says.

Rather, police were asked to escort several families from a community center, who were concerned about walking the streets, to their destinations.

UN envoy: ‘We’re escalating towards a full-scale war’

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warns that the situation is “escalating towards a full-scale war.”

Netanyahu, Gantz order Border Police battalions sent to riot-torn Lod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister  Benny Gantz order battalions of Border Police to Lod in central Israel which has seen massive riots by Arab residents over the last 24 hours.

The move comes after the mayor of Lod requested assistance from the military to quell the violence.

Gantz’s office says the border guards will be sent to Lod immediately.

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

Rocket warning sirens sound again in communities near Gaza

Fresh rocket sirens sound in a number of communities north of the Gaza Strip, east of the city of Ashdod, after a brief lull in attacks from the enclave.

The alarms are heard in Be’er Tuvia, Ein Tzurim, Kommemiut and other towns in the area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Palestinians shot at Tapuah Junction in ‘foiled attack’ were unarmed — report

Army Radio reports that the shooting of two Palestinians at Tapuah Junction earlier in the day, which the army called a “foiled attack,” was a mistake and the men were not armed.

Reports said the two men, Palestinian Authority intelligence services, arrived at the junction in a car and opened the window. Soldiers thought one of them had a gun and opened fire, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

However, Army Radio says there was no weapon.

Workers at Israeli consulate in NYC sent home amid protests outside building

NEW YORK — Due to safety reasons, the staff at Israel’s UN Mission and Consulate in New York were ordered to head home early before dueling protests regarding escalations in Israel and Gaza began outside the Manhattan building, a spokesman for the consulate tells The Times of Israel.

Over a dozen pro-Palestinian activists have gathered outside the building after invitations for “an emergency rally for Palestine” were disseminated on social media. A handful of pro-Israel activists organized a counter-protest. The sides are separated by a large police presence.

Another pro-Israel rally is scheduled for tomorrow evening at Times Square.

Netanyahu to hold emergency meeting on massive rioting in Lod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convening an emergency meeting on the situation in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, which has seen massive rioting.

Joining Netanyahu are Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Police Minister Amir Ohana, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Earlier Netanyahu and Gantz order battalions of Border Police into the city.

Israeli forces run during clashes with Arab Israelis in the Israeli mixed city of Lod, Israel, Tuesday, May 11,2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

Arab Meretz MK calls for calm, urges Joint List MKs, Arab leaders to join him

Reacting to the ongoing riots in mixed Arab-Jewish cities across Israel, Meretz MK Isawi Frej tells the Kan public broadcaster that “anyone who calls themself a public figure in Arab society must call for restoring calm.”

“I call on [the Joint List’s] Ahmad Tibi, Ayman Odeh along with Arab mayors: This is the test of your leadership. Don’t hide. Don’t only speak out during elections. It’s your job to go out and influence.”

Hamas claims 32 Palestinians killed in Gaza since start of hostilities

The Hamas-run health ministry says that 32 Palestinians have been killed and 220 people injured in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza since the outbreak of hostilities.

It did not say how many of the dead were members of terror groups or civilians.

Israel says it has killed at least 18 terrorists.

Netanyahu declares state of emergency in Lod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares a state of emergency in the mixed Arab and Jewish city of Lod that is the scene of widespread and violent rioting.

He makes the decision at a special meeting of top security and legal officials.

Police Minister Amir Ohana says he will use his authority to implement the orders.

This is the first use of emergency powers over an Arab community in Israel since the end of the military administration over the Arabs of Israel in 1966.

In first correspondence since US election, Biden sends letter to Abbas

A senior US diplomat hand-delivered a letter from President Joe Biden to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, a White House National Security Council spokesman tells The Times of Israel, confirming what appears to be the first correspondence the American leader has had with his Palestinian counterpart since taking office.

“Earlier this year, President Abbas sent a letter congratulating President Biden on the election. Palestinian Affairs Unit Chief George Noll delivered President Biden’s response,” the spokesman says, declining to reveal the contents of the letter, which appeared to have been drafted prior to the recent escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza.

Mahmoud Abbas, left, and Joe Biden after their meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (AP/Bernat Armangue)

The official PA news agency WAFA says the letter dealt with “the latest political developments, the current situation and bilateral relations between the United States and the State of Palestine.”

“This is part of this administration’s ongoing outreach with the Palestinian leadership on a range of issues of mutual interest, including ongoing efforts to de-escalate violence and restore calm,” the NSC spokesperson says.

Wildfires raging in Galilee, arson suspected

Several wildfires are raging in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

Ynet reports fires at least six sites and says they are believed to have been the work of arsonists.

The fires come amid widespread protests and riots by Arab Israelis across the country and an escalating military confrontation with terror groups in Gaza.

12 wounded in Lod clashes, 2 in serious condition

The Assaf Harofeh hospital says it is treating 12 people wounded in the clashes in Lod, including two in serious condition. The rest are lightly hurt.

Hebrew media says one of the seriously injured people is a 56-year-old man who was hit in the head with a rock when rioters stoned his car.

Police chief sets up command in Lod, says rioting worse that October 2000

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai establishes his command in the riot-wracked city of Lod, saying that the situation is even worse than October 2000.

“We are seeing a situation in the mixed (Jewish Arab) cities that we have never seen before, including the incidents of October 2000,” Shabtai says.

“We have not seen clashes like these between Jews and Arabs and nationalistic attacks like we are seeing here,” he says.

Widespread rioting broke out among Arab Israelis in October 2000 at the start of the second Intifada.

During the riots police killed 13 Arab protesters.

 

Video said to show Arab rioters in Lod firing on police with automatic weapons

Video from the riots in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod appears to show Arab protesters firing toward police with automatic weapons.

Earlier, Israel declared a state of emergency in the city.

US says Israel has Biden’s unwavering support for its security, urges calm

For the second time in less than three days, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan calls his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat to express continued US concern over the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council says in a statement.

During the call, Sullivan condemns ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, including launches aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the statement says.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, listens as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, right, talks to the media in Anchorage, Alaska on March 19, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/Pool via AP)

Sullivan “conveyed [US President Joe Biden’s] unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians,” the statement adds, in an apparent reference to US concern over the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli counter-strikes.

Sullivan “also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of steps toward restoring a sustainable calm,” the White House says, adding that the sides agreed to remain in touch.

The US national security adviser also held talks today with officials in Cairo who have been involved in mediating between Israel and Hamas in an effort to reach a ceasefire.

“They discussed steps to restore calm over the coming days and agreed to stay in close touch,” the White House says.

Netanyahu heading to Lod amid widespread riots

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to the embattled city of Lod after midnight.

His visit comes as massive reinforcements are sent to the mixed Arab Israeli city that has been engulfed in ethnic clashes.

A state of emergency has been declared in the city.

UN Security Council to meet again on Israel-Palestinian violence

For the second time in three days, the UN Security Council will hold an emergency closed consultation on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing escalation in Israel and Gaza, diplomats involved tell The Times of Israel.

Such sessions are not uncommon to discuss regional conflicts, but holding two in three days is rare. Closed consultations require the agreement of all 15 member states in order to convene.

Wednesday’s session was requested by the Chinese, Norwegian and Tunisian missions, a Security Council diplomat says.

The diplomat says that Norway will once again be seeking to gain the approval of all members in order to issue a joint statement regarding the ongoing violence.

The US mission was the only one that did not support the statement introduced by Norway on Monday, preventing its publication. The US representative said then that the mission needed more time to mull the statement, adding that now might not be the right time for such a measure, according to diplomats involved, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Police special forces seen arriving in Lod

Video from Lod shows Israeli police special forces arriving in the city after a state of emergency is declared.

The government also orders several battalions of Border Police to the mixed Jewish-Arab city that is the scene of unprecedented clashes in a bid to restore order.

Netanyahu in Lod: What we have here is anarchy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Lod to oversee efforts to impose order and end the riots in the mixed Jewish-Arab city.

“I have been receiving updates all day on what is happening here in the city and I view it extremely gravely. It’s anarchy from rioters that we cannot accept,” Netanyahu says.

The prime minister says he will impose a curfew if needed. “We will restore law and order.”

Ra’am and Hadash call on Arab public to end rioting

Ra’am party chief Mansour Abbas calls for calm and the restoration of order amidst a wave of violent protest in Arab cities and towns, especially in the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Lod and Ramle.

“In the midst of the popular outburst of understandable anger, we are beginning to see that things are developing in very dangerous directions, as peaceful popular demonstrations have turned into direct clashes which threaten the lives and safety of our youth,” Abbas says.

Abbas continues: “I ask you all to assume responsibility, act with wisdom, abide by public order and the law, and preserve your life and the lives of all citizens without exception.”

The Arab-Jewish Hadash party, the Joint List’s largest single faction, also calls for an end to violence and the restoration of calm.

“We support joint demonstrations by Jews and Arabs, against the occupation and the attack on Gaza, but resolutely reject the attempts to lynch, burn property and houses of worship, and any harm to civilians, Jews and Arabs,” Hadash says.

But Hadash states that it vehemently disagrees with a government decision to send Israeli Border Police forces to Lod to restore order in the troubled city.

“We reject the introduction of border forces, whose anti-Arab tendencies are known, into Lod. This can only lead to escalation,” Hadash says.

Israel said to destroy 9-story building in Gaza

The Israeli Air Force destroys a nine-story building in Gaza city early Wednesday morning, according to an AP reporter at the scene.

Several hours earlier a drone “knocked” on the roof of the building, firing three missiles without explosives, to warn occupants to flee.

 

Blinken calls Ashkenazi to express concern over rocket attacks, casualties

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken phones his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi earlier today to express Washington’s concerns regarding rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and to express condolences for the lives lost as a result, according to a State Department readout.

The two top diplomats discussed the recent violence in Jerusalem surrounding the Temple Mount compound and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where dozens of Palestinian families are under threat of eviction to be replaced by ultranationalist Jews.

Unlike previous US statements on the matter, it does not include a specific condemnation of the planned evictions.

Blinken “reiterated his call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children,” according to the readout.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. (Collage/AP)

“The Secretary emphasized the need for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to live in safety and security, as well as enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.”

The two sides acknowledged the steadfast partnership between their countries and committed to continue working together on challenges ahead, the readout added.

Rocket sirens wail across southern, central Israel, explosions reported

Rocket sirens are going off across southern and central Israel with dozens of explosions reported.

Sirens went off in communities near Gaza, in Beersheba where dozens of explosions were reported. They were also heard in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas.

The apparent barrage of rockets came minutes after reports that the IDF destroyed a nine-story building in Gaza city, ending a brief few hours of calm.

Loud booms reported in Tel Aviv area; Hamas: 110 rockets fired at city, airport

Loud booms are reported near Tel Aviv as Hamas launches a massive barrage of rockets at the city.

Initial reports indicate several rockets are being intercepted in central Israel. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

 

The Hamas military wing says it has launched 110 rockets at the city and at the nearby Ben Gurion airport.

Dozens of rockets are also fired at Beersheba.

More rockets fired at Modiin, Ashkelon, sirens again in Tel Aviv

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip continue to fire rockets into Israel early Wednesday, with rockets targeting Ashkelon, Modiin and Tel Aviv.

The Iron Dome system can be seen intercepting rockets over the city. Loud booms were heard in the city, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Hamas terror group says it fired some 210 rockets in two barrages at Israel.

IDF says it has destroyed ‘significant targets’ in Gaza, attacks ongoing

The IDF says it has attacked “a number of significant terror sites and terrorists across the Gaza Strip.”

“The strikes are continuing even now,” the army says.

One of the targets hit was apparently a nine-story building.

The nine-story structure houses residential apartments, medical production companies and a dental clinic, The Associated Press reports.

Smoke billows from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Israeli aircraft fired five warning rockets from a drone to alert people of the incoming bombing early Wednesday. Shortly afterward, the jets struck the building again after journalists and rescuers gathered around.

There were no immediate word on casualties.

The high-rise was heavily damaged. Smoke and debris reached The Associated Press’ Gaza office 200 meters (yards) away.

2 critically hurt by rocket in Lod; direct hit on house in Yehud, no injuries

Two people were seriously injured when a rocket hit their home in the city of Lod.

They were evacuated to the Assaf Harofeh hospital, with one in critical condition and another in serious condition, the Magen David Adom rescue service says.

In Tel Aviv, an 80-year-old man suffered an apparent heart attack while running to a public shelter, medics said.

Another missile hit a house in the town of Yehud, just north of the Ben Gurion Airport.

Rescue workers say the family who lived in the house were saved by their bomb shelter.

Pictures from the scene showed the house completely destroyed.

A house in Yehud that was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza on May 12, 2021 (United Hatzalah)

 

Police say 2 people killed in rocket attack on Lod

Police say two people were killed in a direct strike on a vehicle in the city of Lod.

One woman in her 40s was declared dead at the scene and a second person died after being taken to hospital. Hebrew media reports said she was a 7-year-old girl.

A third person was seriously wounded in the direct hit.

Police called on people to remain near bomb shelters.

The city, a mixed Arab-Jewish city, was the scene of violent riots earlier in the evening.

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo said the dead were from the Arab community.

“Hamas missiles do not differentiate between Jews and Arabs,” Revivo said.

He also appealed to Arab residents to end the protests and calls for calm in the city. “The day after we will still have to live here together.”

Israel said to refuse ceasefire offer

Turkish media, citing Palestinian sources, say that Israel has refused a ceasefire offer put to it by the United Nations and Egypt.

Egypt and the UN are said to be working to mediate between Israel and Hamas.

Army says 9-story building destroyed in Gaza housed Hamas offices

The IDF says a nine-story building it destroyed in Gaza housed a number of Hamas offices.

The army says it included the Hamas intelligence center, West Bank command and a propaganda department.

The IDF had warned inhabitants of the building to flee several hours before the attack.

IDF says it killed 2 Palestinians who were launching rockets

The IDF says one of its aircraft killed two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who were in the process of launching rockets at Israel.

IDF: 2 top Hamas leaders killed in targeted strike

The IDF says it has killed two senior Hamas leaders in a targeted strike on a building they were in.

“In a combined operation between the IDF and the Shin Bet security service about two hours ago we eliminated key operatives from Hamas’s military intelligence system,” the IDF says in a statement.

It identifies the men as Hassan Kaugi, the chief of the security department in Hamas military intelligence and his deputy, Wail Issa.

It said that Issa was the brother of Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of the Hamas military wing.

Pelosi condemns Hamas rocket fire

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi condemns Hamas rockets targeting Israel and says the Jewish state has the right to defend itself.

“Every civilian death is a tragedy that we mourn. Hamas’s accelerating violence only risks killing more civilians, including innocent Palestinians,” the top House Democrat says in a statement.

She appears to criticize both sides for the violence in Jerusalem that preceded the rocket fire, saying “recent inflammatory provocations including by extremist forces in Jerusalem have exacerbated the situation, and restraint must be shown by all to de-escalate the crisis.”

“Let us all pray that the situation will be resolved immediately and peacefully,” Pelosi adds.

IDF says it destroyed homes of 3 senior Hamas leaders

The IDF says it carried out airstrikes to destroy the homes of three senior Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip.

It identifies them as 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 IDF says their homes were “part of the terror infrastructure.”

Palestinian reported killed in West Bank clash with IDF

A Palestinian was killed in clashes with the Israeli army in the south of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities say, as violence escalates between Israel and the Palestinians.

The unnamed person was killed after being hit by Israeli bullets in Fawwar refugee camp, near the Palestinian town of Hebron, the health ministry reports. The official Wafa news agency says the victim was 26-year-old Hussein Al-Titi.

AFP

Two wounded as rocket hits home in Bareket

Two people are lightly hurt as a rocket hits a house in the community of Bareket near Ben Gurion Airport.

Medics say the two, men in their 50s and 60s, suffered shrapnel wounds from the blast.

In widescale airstrikes, Israel destroys police stations across Gaza

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

A wall of dark gray smoke rose 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.

Agencies

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