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After 3-hour lull, early morning sirens wake up residents of southern Israel

IDF targets Hamas operatives, infrastructure overnight; 5 Petah Tikva residents treated for smoke inhalation due to rocket that set off fire; sirens reach as far north as Nazareth

  • Rockets are launched toward Israel from Rafah, in the southern the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
    Rockets are launched toward Israel from Rafah, in the southern the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
  • Smoke billows from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Smoke billows from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • Police seen on the streets of the central city of Lod, May 12, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
    Police seen on the streets of the central city of Lod, May 12, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
  • A truck burns at the entrance of the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where a state of emergency has been declared following civil unrest, on May 12, 2021 (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
    A truck burns at the entrance of the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where a state of emergency has been declared following civil unrest, on May 12, 2021 (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)
  • The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, in which Ido Avigal, 5, was killled, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)
    The scene of a direct rocket hit on a building in Sderot, southern Israel, in which Ido Avigal, 5, was killled, on May 12, 2021 (Sderot Municipality)
  • Rescuers and people gather amidst the rubble in front of al-Shourouk tower that collapsed after being hit by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, on May 12, 2021 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
    Rescuers and people gather amidst the rubble in front of al-Shourouk tower that collapsed after being hit by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, on May 12, 2021 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
  • IDF artillery seen firing into Gaza near the Israeli border with the Strip on May 12, 2021, following heavy rocket and missile barrage fired into Israel, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    IDF artillery seen firing into Gaza near the Israeli border with the Strip on May 12, 2021, following heavy rocket and missile barrage fired into Israel, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Relatives walk out of the damaged home of Nadine, 16, and Khalil Awaad, a father and daughter who were killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in their village of Dahmash, May 12, 2021. (AP Photos/Heidi Levine)
    Relatives walk out of the damaged home of Nadine, 16, and Khalil Awaad, a father and daughter who were killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in their village of Dahmash, May 12, 2021. (AP Photos/Heidi Levine)
  • An Israeli man walks past the remains of a rocket fired by the Palestinian Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, on May 12, 2021 in Ashkelon (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
    An Israeli man walks past the remains of a rocket fired by the Palestinian Hamas terror group from the Gaza Strip, which was destroyed by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, on May 12, 2021 in Ashkelon (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep went up in flames, injuring 2 and killing one, following a direct hit by a missile fired from Gaza, in Netiv Ha'asara, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israeli soldiers near the site of where a jeep went up in flames, injuring 2 and killing one, following a direct hit by a missile fired from Gaza, in Netiv Ha'asara, May 12, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • A young girl is comforted by her father next to a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Yehod, central Israel, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
    A young girl is comforted by her father next to a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Yehod, central Israel, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
  • Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for rocket fire, Gaza City, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for rocket fire, Gaza City, May 12, 2021 (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Truck driver shelters during a rocket siren near Ashkelon, May 12, 2021 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
    Truck driver shelters during a rocket siren near Ashkelon, May 12, 2021 (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

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

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

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

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

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

Sirens heard in Gaza border communities

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

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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

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

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

Hamas says its main police headquarters were also destroyed.

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

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

The Israeli outlet gives no further details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sirens heard in Gaza border community of Kerem Shalom

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

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Border residents told they can again leave their homes; no concerns of terror infiltration

Residents of communities near Gaza are free to leave their homes after the military determined that there was no infiltration from the Strip, local officials say.

The announcement comes after residents were told to immediately lock themselves inside their homes and enter a secure area.

Neighbor says Rishon Lezion woman killed by rocket didn’t have time to reach shelter

Abba Cohen, a neighbor of the woman killed by a rocket strike at the entrance to her house in Rishon Lezion on Tuesday, says she simply didn’t have time to reach her bomb shelter.

“She did not make it to the protected area,” he tells Army Radio. “To enter the protected space, you have to leave the house, go through the parking lot and go down the stairs. But the rocket fell right on the parking lot. It’s incomprehensible.”

On Tuesday evening, Rishon Lezion Mayor Raz Kinstlich said the woman’s death should serve as an example of the importance of following Home Front instructions when sirens sound.

“It is important that everyone hears and understands that it could have ended differently,” Kinstlich said. “If she had listened to the instructions and entered the protected space, we would not have been in this situation.”

IDF says anti-tank missile fired from Gaza; medics say 2 critically wounded, 1 serious

The Israel Defense Forces says an anti-tank guided missile was just fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward a target inside Israel near the community of Netiv Ha’asara, just north of the enclave.

Two people are critically injured and a third is seriously wounded in the attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The missile struck a jeep on the border.

On Monday, a man was injured by an anti-tank missile fired toward his vehicle near Gaza.

Hamas claims responsibility for anti-tank missile attack; mortars fired from Gaza at border area

The Hamas terror group has taken responsibility for the anti-tank guided missile attack that left two critically wounded and one person in serious condition.

“The Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s military wing) targeted a Zionist enclave with a guided missile in the northern Gaza Strip,” the group says in a statement.

Immediately following the attack, terrorists in the Strip fire mortar shells throughout the area.

This is apparently an effort to keep medical teams away from the area.

IDF says 2nd anti-tank missile fired toward Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says a second anti-tank guided missile has just been fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward a target in Israel.

It is not immediately clear if there are any injuries in this attack.

The first attack, minutes ago, left two people critically wounded and one person in serious condition.

Sirens sound in Gaza border communities warning of incoming fire

Sirens sound in a number of communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, warning of possible incoming fire.

Warning alerts are heard in Yad Mordechai and Netiv Ha’asara.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

ICC prosecutor: ‘Possible crimes’ committed in violence between Israel, Palestinians

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court voices concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians and says “crimes” may have been committed.

“I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the [ICC’s guiding] Rome Statute,” Fatou Bensouda says on Twitter.

Bensouda announced on March 3 that she was opening an investigation into actions committed by Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem since 2014. Israel says the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to investigate the matter.

Gaza media reports 4 killed in Israeli strike on northern Strip

Local Gaza media reports four killed in an Israeli airstrike in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrikes hit Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah.

It is unclear at this time if those said killed were terrorists or civilians. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has yet to confirm the deaths.

Rocket sirens sound in Netiv Ha’asara

Warning sirens are heard in the Gaza border community of Netiv Ha’asara, warning of possible incoming fire.

The community is close to where the Hamas terror group fired an anti-tank guided missile at an Israeli jeep near the border.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Bennett: Netanyahu’s Likud leading Israel ‘negligently from failure to disaster’

Yamina head Naftali Bennett attacks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud as a “party that’s failing to run the country, whose negligence leads it from failure to disaster.”

Bennett, who is reportedly set to serve as prime minister first in the putative coalition with Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, writes on Facebook that the government should not end operations in Gaza until Hamas has “paid a heavy price.”

Bennett also calls for protection for residents of cities that have seen intense rioting in recent days.

“The legal and political system must back up those who defend themselves and their families with weapons,” says Bennett, echoing Interior Minister Amir Ohana’s call for the release of a Jewish man held for killing an Arab Israeli man in Lod.

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

“The fact that they are currently in custody is a moral injustice, and a serious message to anyone who wants to defend themselves in the future,” writes Bennett.

1 confirmed dead in Hamas anti-tank missile attack

One of the people injured in the anti-tank guided missile attack north of the Gaza Strip has died of his wounds, medics say.

The other two people hit by the missile remain in critical and serious condition, respectively.

The Israel Defense Forces says an anti-tank guided missile was fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward a target inside Israel near the community of Netiv Ha’asara, just north of the enclave.

The missile struck a jeep on the border.

IDF says only 1 anti-tank missile fired at Israel; strikes on Gaza in response

The Israel Defense Forces says only one anti-tank guided missile was fired at an Israeli jeep near the northern Gaza border, not two as it initially said.

One person was killed and two seriously injured in the attack.

The military says it is continuing to conduct strikes on targets in northern Gaza in response.

Rocket sirens continue in Gaza border community of Netiv Ha’asara

Warning sirens are again heard in the Gaza border community of Netiv Ha’asara, warning of possible incoming fire.

The community is close to where the Hamas terror group fired an anti-tank guided missile at an Israeli jeep near the border.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Rocket alert sirens heard in a number of Gaza border communities

Sirens sound in a number of towns bordering the Gaza Strip warning of incoming projectiles.

Residents run for shelter in Nirim and Ein Hashlosha.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Cop spokesman defends use of live fire in Lod, crowd dispersal methods in Jerusalem

A police spokesperson defends the force’s use of live fire during the riots in Lod as well as the crowd dispersal methods deployed in East Jerusalem.

“This is the first time we’ve seen local residents using weapons, opening fire, and the response from our units has been also using live fire in order to prevent anyone from being killed,” police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld says.

Referring to the policies and preparation of the police for the unrest in Jerusalem, Rosenfeld says that “police were prepared and mobilized in Jerusalem in order to prevent the disturbances, but unfortunately local Arab Israeli residents were involved. Police responded by only using non-lethal weapons there.”

A state of emergency was declared in Lod after intense Arab rioting reportedly saw three synagogues and numerous shops torched, along with dozens of cars.

There was also violence in a number of other locations across the country. The situation was exacerbated by right-wing Jewish nationalists holding demonstrations amid the unrest.

A man was shot and killed in Lod on Monday night by a Jewish resident of the city who said it was an act of self-defense.

Rosenfeld made the remarks during a visit to the scene in Ashkelon where a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building, killing a foreign worker and seriously injured an elderly woman.

Lapid calls for strong response to Gaza missile fire, Lod violence

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid expresses support for a strong response by Israel to missiles fired from Gaza and the violence in the central city of Lod, as he and Yamina head Naftali Bennett continue efforts to form a coalition in which they would share the premiership.

Lapid says that “experience teaches us that terror groups only understand force, and they need to know that we will employ force without hesitation.”

But Lapid says he is marching ahead with efforts to form a so-called “change government” — replacing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — since “Hamas and the Lod rioters won’t control us” and “violence won’t dictate our lives.”

Medics say 4th person injured in anti-tank missile strike from Gaza

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says a fourth person was injured in Hamas’s anti-tank guided missile attack on an Israeli jeep north of the Gaza border.

Medics say the fourth casualty is a man in his 40s who sustained moderate wounds from shrapnel in the missile strike.

One person was killed in the attack, another was seriously injured and a third was also moderately wounded, medics say.

“This was a difficult event. We arrived to casualties on the ground while sirens and continued fire were heard in the background. The victims suffered from injuries from the blast and shrapnel. We gave them treatment while protecting them and ourselves,” MDA medic Ravit Martinez says. “After providing emergency critical care in the field, we were forced to flee the area from the missile and mortar fire, evacuating the victims to a safe area and there with the help of a Magen David Adom doctor and other MDA medics we took them to the hospital.”

Sirens sound in Gaza border communities warning of incoming barrage

Sirens are heard in a number of communities surrounding Gaza as a barrage of projectiles is fired from the Strip.

Rocket alerts sound in Nir Yitzhak, Pri Gan, Holit, Sde Avraham, Netiv Ha’asara, Erez and Yad Mordechai sending residents rushing for cover.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Footage shows Torah scrolls salvaged from torched Lod synagogue

Footage posted on social media shows a torched synagogue in the central Israeli city of Lod, which has seen unprecedented violence by Arab rioters as well as Jewish revenge attacks.

Mayor Yair Revivo has compared the violence and damage in the city to the Nazi pogroms of Kristallnacht.

The video shows two Torah scrolls being salvaged — unharmed — from the synagogue’s ruins.

Footage shows damage after direct hit on convenience store near border with Gaza; no injuries

Video shows a convenience store in a Gaza border community that suffered a direct hit in a barrage of projectiles from the Strip.

There are no reports of any injuries.

2 Palestinians killed in West Bank clashes with IDF — PA Health Ministry

Two Palestinians were killed in separate clashes with Israeli troops in the West Bank, Palestinian authorities say.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry says Rashid Abu Ara, 16, was killed in Aqaba, north of Nablus.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment.

Earlier, Hussein Al-Titi was killed after being hit by Israeli gunfire in Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron, the PA ministry says.

The Israeli army says the incident took place during a “violent riot” as soldiers “spotted one of the rioters standing on a rooftop with the intention of hurling a block towards the troops.”

“The troops responded with fire,” the army says in a statement.

Principal of teen killed in rocket strike: ‘A talented girl who wanted to change the world’

The principal of the 16-year-old Arab Israeli teenager Nadine Awad, who was killed alongside her father in a Hamas rocket attack early this morning outside Lod, remembers her student as a “talented girl” who wanted to change the world.

“I know it sounds like a cliché and they always say that the best people are the ones who lose their lives, but Nadine really was a very, very special girl,” her principal Shirin Natur Hafi told the Reshet Bet radio station.

“She was in 10th grade, studying in the biology-chemistry track. She had dreams of changing the world. She was such a special girl, such a talented girl. She wanted to conquer the world,” Hafi said of her student.

According to Hafi, principal of Lod’s Ort school, Awad was involved in a number of science-related and social projects with Jewish schools in the area and with schools in America and planned to participate in a biomedical studies program through Petah Tikva’s Schneider Medical Center.

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 48 Palestinians killed since Monday

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reports that 48 Palestinians have been killed, including 14 children, since the beginning of hostilities with Israel on Monday.

Some 304 Gazans have been wounded, the Ministry says.

Israeli forces have been striking numerous targets across the Strip, Gaza-based Palestinian media reports.

Across the coastal enclave, Palestinian social media records several strikes on houses in Beit Lahiya in the north and in Gaza City’s Shejaiya District.

Both attacks reportedly led to casualties, although the Hamas Health Ministry has yet to confirm the matter. Many of the airstrikes appear to be in residential areas.

IDF says it bombed a Hamas team preparing to launch drone toward Israel

The Israel Defense Forces says it bombed a Hamas team preparing to launch an armed unmanned aerial vehicle at Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.

“An IDF aircraft struck a UAV-launching cell from the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. The cell was attacked as it was preparing to launch the UAV at Israeli territory,” the IDF says.

IDF says it destroyed rocket launcher before it could fire 10 rockets at Ashdod, Ashkelon

The Israel Defense Forces says it destroyed a Hamas rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip just as it was set to fire 10 rockets at the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

“The launcher was ready to immediately launch 10 rockets from the northern Gaza Strip,” the military says.

“The IDF is continuing to strike terror cells and rocket launchers,” it says.

Gantz: Military operations will end only when there’s complete quiet

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says military operations will continue in the Gaza Strip for as long as necessary.

“Israel is not preparing for a ceasefire. There is currently no end date for the operation. Only when we achieve complete quiet can we talk about calm,” Gantz says during a tour of rocket-hit Ashkelon. “We will not listen to moral preaching against our duty to protect the citizens of Israel.”

Erdogan: International community must teach Israel a ‘strong lesson’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Russian President Vladimir Putin that the international community should teach Israel a lesson about its conduct toward the Palestinians.

That’s according to the Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate, which says the two leaders talked by phone Wednesday about the escalating confrontation sparked by tension over Jerusalem.

The statement says Erdogan stressed the need for “the international community to give Israel a strong and deterrent lesson” and pressed for the United Nations Security Council to rapidly intervene with “determined and clear messages” to Israel. The statement says Erdogan suggested to Putin that an international protection force to shield the Palestinians should be considered.

Sirens sound as rocket barrage fired at Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza border towns

Warning sirens are heard in Ashkelon, Ashdod and the Gaza border communities as a heavy barrage of rockets is fired.

Local residents report explosions in a number of locations.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

IDF says it killed several members of Hamas’s military leadership in Gaza strikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed several members of Hamas’s military leadership, its General Staff Forum, in a series of strikes in Gaza City and Khan Younis.

The military says this was carried out in a joint operation with the Shin Bet security service.

The IDF says the number of top commanders killed and their names will be released shortly, but that they represent “a central part of the ‘General Staff Forum’ and are considered close to the head of the Hamas terror group’s military wing, Muhammad Deif.”

Ashkelon hospital says it has treated 110 casualties since Monday

Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon has seen “on the order of 110 casualties of one form or another,” says Dr. Jonathan Rieck, director of the Emergency Medicine Department.

“Most of the cases have been mild, most have been stress reactions,” he says. There were four or five serious casualties, either as the result of direct rocket strikes or blast injuries associated with the rocket strikes, he added.

Ten patients of all types are still being treated.

Patients have been moved to missile-safe areas, limiting somewhat the hospital’s overall capacity.

Rieck says that the hospital received the four people hit in the deadly missile attack on the Gaza border.

Rieck says that as he has treated patients of Hamas attacks in recent years, he has noticed an increase in the lethality of ordnance, both anti-tank missiles and rockets.

Israeli military expects renewed rocket fire at central Israel after killing of Hamas chiefs

The Israeli military believes that its strikes killing several top Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip will likely prompt the terror group to renew its rocket attacks on central Israel.

No special instructions have been issued to residents of central Israel at this time.

Rivlin condemns Lod ‘pogrom’ and ‘shameful silence’ of Arab leadership

President Reuven Rivlin condemns the rioters in Lod and says the Arab leadership needs to speak out in light of the recent upsurge in violence.

“The sight of the pogrom in Lod and the disturbances across the country by an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob, injuring people, damaging property and even attacking sacred Jewish spaces is unforgivable,” Rivlin says. “Tearing down the Israeli flag by Arab rioters and replacing it with the Palestinian flag is a brutal assault on shared existence in the State of Israel.”

“The silence of the Arab leadership about these disturbances is shameful, giving support to terrorism and rioting and encouraging the rupture of the society in which we live and in which we will continue to live once all this has passed,” Rivlin says, adding that the rioters must be punished.

“This country belongs to us all, and more than anything we must be loyal to it and its laws,” Rivlin says.

PM: We must protect country from enemies on the outside, rioters on the inside

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the security cabinet will convene this evening to discuss the “difficult developments, including the firing of anti-tank weapons.”

“There are a series of events that have fed into each other,” the premier says during a tour of the northern city of Acre, which saw overnight riots and arson attacks.

“We are using all our strength to protect the country from enemies on the outside and rioters on the inside,” Netanyahu says.

Gantz extends Home Front’s emergency situation for 2 weeks

Defense Minister Benny Gantz extends the Home Front’s emergency state of readiness for a further two weeks and for a distance of 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip.

That distance covers much of central Israel as well as the south.

The move implies that Israel expects the violence to continue for a prolonged period.

The announcement comes after the Israel Defense Forces says it killed a number of senior Hamas commanders in a joint operation with the Shin Bet internal security service.

Earlier Wednesday, Gantz said military operations will continue in the Gaza Strip until there is complete calm on that front.

Rocket barrage fired at Gedera, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gaza border communities

Sirens sound in multiple locations as a heavy barrage of projectiles is fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Local residents report hearing explosions.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Israeli military believes that its strikes killing several top Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip will likely prompt the terror group to renew its rocket attacks on central Israel.

Hamas says it fired 50 rockets in heavy barrage toward Ashdod

Hamas says it fired 50 rockets toward Ashdod in a barrage that also triggered sirens in a number of surrounding towns and communities.

The bombardment by the military wing of the terror group, which reached as far north as the central Israel town of Gedera, came shortly after Israel said it killed a number of senior Hamas commanders.

Gaza terror groups continue to fire massive rocket barrages at Israel

Sirens continue to sound in southern towns and Gaza border communities as terror groups in the Strip fire barrages of projectiles toward Israel.

The missile fire is apparently centered on the coastal city of Ashdod.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 53 Palestinians killed in Gaza since Monday

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says that 53 Palestinians have died in the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the terror group as of 3 p.m. today.

Fourteen of those killed were minors, the Health Ministry says. Another 320 Gaza Palestinians have been wounded.

It is unclear how many are terrorists affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or other Gaza-based groups, as opposed to civilians.

Sirens sound in Beersheba and Dimona, home to Israel’s main nuclear reactor

Rocket sirens are triggered in cities throughout southern Israel, as well as in the town of Dimona, which is home to Israel’s main nuclear reactor.

Hamas’s military wing takes responsibility for the attack, saying it fired 15 rockets toward Dimona.

The alarms are heard in Ashkelon, Ashdod and up to Yavne to the north of the Gaza Strip and out to Beersheba and Dimona to the west of the enclave.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

Residents of these areas report hearing the sounds of explosions overhead, indicating that at least some of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Sirens sound in Beersheba and surrounding communities

A fresh round of rocket sirens sound in the city of Beersheba and surrounding area.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Man lightly wounded by shrapnel in Ashdod rocket attack

Medics are treating a 25-year-old man who sustained light wounds from shrapnel in the latest rocket attack on the city of Ashdod.

The man is being taken to the city’s Assuta Medical Center for treatment, medics say.

Israel names four Hamas commanders killed in Gaza strikes

The Shin Bet security service identifies four top Hamas commanders who were killed in its joint operation with the Israel Defense Forces earlier today, along with two others who were killed in an earlier strike on a Hamas base.

Bassem Issa, the commander of Hamas’s Gaza City Brigade; Jamaa Tahla, the head of its cyber command and responsible for improving the accuracy of the group’s rockets; Jamal Zabeda, the head of research and special projects in its munitions productions department; and Hazzem Hatib, Hamas’s chief engineer in its munitions department were all killed in the strikes, the Shin Bet says.

According to the security service, Sami Radwan, who leads Hamas’s technical intelligence department, and Walid Smali, who was in charge of industrial equipment for the group’s weapons production department, were also killed in earlier attacks on Hamas sites.

“In addition, 10 other operatives from Hamas’s weapons production and research and development department were killed,” the Shin Bet says.

Rocket alerts heard in Gaza border communities

Rocket alert sirens sound in the communities of Pri Gan and Holit, sending residents running for shelter.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Fresh sirens in Gaza border communities warning of rocket fire

Sirens are now sounding every few minutes in a number of Gaza border communities, warning residents of incoming rocket fire.

Col. (Res) Hilik Sofer of the Home Front tells Army Radio that its crucial that instructions are followed when rocket alerts are heard.

“The range of targets for the firing [of rockets] is widening,” he says. “If you hear a warning, you are in danger — no matter if you are in Beersheba or Tel Aviv.”

Netanyahu: ‘We’ll inflict blows on the terrorists they couldn’t even dream of’

After a number of senior Hamas commanders were killed in a joint operation between the IDF and Shin Bet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the operations in Gaza will not end any time soon.

“We eliminated senior Hamas commanders and this is just the beginning,” Netanyahu says. “We will inflict blows on them that they couldn’t even dream of.”

The prime minister, who is visiting the wounded at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, says that Israel “will respond, and we are responding, with increasing force.”

Rivlin calls global leaders, asks them to condemn Iran-backed terrorism

President Reuven Rivlin says he has been calling his global counterparts to update them on the situation and ask them to condemn the Iran-backed terrorism from Gaza.

Rivlin speaks with the presidents of Germany, Austria and Bulgaria and with the president of the European Council.

“We will defend our citizens in every way necessary, and we will not stand by while we are being fired on. We will continue to attack those firing incessantly on our innocent civilians, and we will silence them,” Rivlin says in a statement.

“After several days of disorder on the streets of Jerusalem, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets on Israel, targeting our capital Jerusalem, and houses on the outskirts of the city have been damaged,” Rivlin says.

“Hundreds of thousands of children and their families, most of Israel’s population, are in bomb shelters even now,” he says he emphasized to his counterparts. “The rockets do not distinguish between Jews and Arabs.”

The president says that Israel is clear that the Gaza terror groups are backed by Iran and that “we are also looking north, to Iran’s northern proxy in our area – Hezbollah.”

“No country in the world would allow brutal attacks like this and we will also not stand by. We will defend our citizens in every way necessary, and we will not stand by while we are being fired on. We will continue to attack those firing incessantly on our innocent civilians, and we will silence them,” he says.

Local Arab and Jewish leaders issue joint call for calm after days of violence

A number of Arab and Jewish leaders sign a statement calling for calm after days of violence in a number of cities across the country, the Walla news site reports.

According to the report, more than a dozen council members from the cities of Lod, Acre, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Ramle sign the statement.

Arab violence has erupted in other cities across Israel as well, alongside reports of Jewish attacks.

Israel ordered a massive boost to police forces deployed in cities with Jewish and Arab populations after a state of emergency was declared in Lod, where intense Arab rioting late Tuesday reportedly saw three synagogues and numerous shops torched, along with dozens of cars.

Hamas confirms death of Gaza City commander in IDF strike

Hamas’s armed wing confirmed the death of a senior commander and a number of fighters in an Israeli targeted strike.

“With pride, fortitude and defiance, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades take pride in… the martyrdom of the commander Bassem Issa,” the armed Hamas branch says in a statement.

According to the terror group, Issa was Hamas’s Gaza City commander in the al-Qassam Brigades.

Chevron shuts down and depressurizes the Tamar natural gas platform

Chevron shuts down and depressurizes the Tamar natural gas platform off Israel’s coast in accordance with instructions received from the Energy Ministry, a company spokeswoman tells the Reuters news agency.

In a statement to the Times of Israel, the ministry says there is “no connection” between the decision by Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to shut the rig and the “completely untrue” reports of attempts to attack it.

Judge remands 4 Jewish suspects held in connection with killing of Arab man in Lod

A judge remands the four Jewish suspects held in connection with the killing of an Arab man during violence in the central city of Lod on Monday.

The circumstances surrounding the killing of 25-year-old Musa Hanusa remain hotly disputed, with Jewish eyewitnesses saying the shooter fired in self-defense during rioting by Arab residents of the city.

According to Channel 12 news, the central suspect may have opened fire from a distance of some 50 meters from the victim.

Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana, who is in charge of policing, says on a visit to Lod that “it won’t be the last time” he disagrees with a court decision. Earlier in the day, he said the suspect should be immediately released but noted he has no jurisdiction over the matter.

Person killed in Gaza anti-tank missile attack is a soldier, Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib

The Israel Defense Forces says the person who was killed in an anti-tank guided missile attack earlier today was a soldier from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib.

Tabib, 21, was taking part in security operations around the community of Netiv Ha’asara to protect it from potential infiltration attacks by terrorists from the Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says.

Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep north of the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

He, an officer and another soldier were in a jeep inside Netiv Ha’asara, which lies on a hill overlooking the northern Gaza border, when it was hit by the missile. The officer was seriously injured and the other soldier was moderately wounded.

As it was on a hill, the jeep was vulnerable to attack from anti-tank missiles, Zilberman says.

It is not immediately clear what precise type of missile was used in the attack. The military initially barred publication of Tabib’s name until his family could be notified of his death.

Hamas official says group not cowed by killing of commanders

A senior Hamas leader says the terror group will not be cowed by Israel’s targeted killing of its Gaza City commander Bassem Issa.

“Our martyred leaders are the fuel for our project of liberating our land,” says Hamas political bureau member Mousa Doudin.

Palestinian group: At least some Gaza child victims killed by failed rocket fire

A Palestinian rights group asserts that of the nine children reportedly killed in the Gaza Strip yesterday, one was killed in an Israeli strike, another two were killed by a failed rocket launch from Gaza, and the cause of death of six others is not yet known.

On its website, Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) says the children were killed in three separate incidents. The veracity of the group’s reporting is not known.

  • DCIP says Mohammad Saber Ibrahim Suleiman, 15, was killed when an Israeli drone fired a missile that hit him and his father, while they were on their farmland near Jabaliya. The father was a commander in Hamas’s military wing, it says.
  • DCIP says in a second incident, it seemed a homemade Palestinian rocket fell short and killed eight people in Jabaliya, two of them children: Mustafa Mohammad Mahmoud Obaid, 16, and Baraa Wisam Ahmad al-Gharabli, 5.
  • DCIP says six other children and two adults, most of them from one family, were killed in a third blast, the cause of which is not yet clear, in Beit Hanoun not far from the border fence. It says the children were playing as other family members worked in a field. The children were Rahaf Mohammad Attalla al-Masri, 10, her cousin Yazan Sultan Mohammad al-Masri, 2; brothers Marwan Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 6, and Ibrahim Yousef Attalla al-Masri, 11; and Hussein Muneer Hussein Hamad, 11, and Ibrahim Abdullah Mohammad Hassanain, 16.

 

Germany’s Jews urge protection amid Israel-Palestinian clashes

Germany’s Jewish community calls for protection to be ramped up after Israeli flags were burnt in front of synagogues amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Police arrested 16 people in two separate incidents at synagogues in the cities of Bonn and Muenster, where Israeli flags were set on fire yesterday.

Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, blames Hamas for the escalating conflict in Israel and says tensions are spilling over.

Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, attends a press conference following his election in Frankfurt am Main, central Germany, on November 30, 2014. (AFP/Daniel Roland)

“Israel and Jews as a whole are subjected to hatred and incitement, particularly on social media. The threat to the Jewish community is growing,” he says.

Pointing to the flag-burning incidents, he says “the protection of Jewish institutions must be raised. We expect from the people in Germany solidarity with Israel and the Jewish community.”

Report of stabbing attempt in Hebron; man with knife shot

Preliminary reports of a stabbing attempt in Hebron. A man is said to have pulled a knife while approaching soldiers at a checkpoint and attempted to stab soldiers before being shot.

The man is said to be in moderate condition.

No Israeli troops were hurt.

After mass rioting, police announce 8 p.m. curfew in Lod

Police announce a curfew in the city of Lod between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. as forces amass in the city to prevent a third night of rioting and violence.

The only cause to leave one’s home during those hours will be to seek shelter due to rockets, for medical attention or due to other specifically authorized urgent needs — with police providing the following numbers to seek such approval:

Hebrew: 08-9279201/08-9279217
Arabic: 08-9279123

A state of emergency was declared in Lod after intense Arab rioting late Tuesday saw synagogues and numerous shops torched, along with dozens of cars.

Police in Lod following a night of heavy rioting by Arab residents in the city, on May 12, 2021 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

School canceled in southern, central Israel for rest of the week

The Israel Defense Forces announces it is canceling school in central and southern Israel for the rest of the week, meaning roughly 1 million children will again stay home amid ongoing fighting between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

All schools south of Netanya and north of the central Negev are to be closed and businesses can only be opened if there is ready access to bomb shelters, the military says.

Gatherings are also restricted to 10 people outdoors and 100 people indoors in those areas, the IDF Home Front Command says.

US diplomat charged with Israeli-Palestinian affairs to fly to Israel today

US deputy assistant secretary for Israeli-Palestinian affairs Hady Amr will fly to Israel later today as Washington ups its engagement aimed at deescalating the ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas, two sources familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.

It will be Amr’s first trip to the region as a Biden administration official. With the assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs not yet approved by Congress and with no plans to appoint a special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Amr is the most senior member of the administration focusing on the issue.

Hady Amr (US State Department)

IDF warns another Gaza high-rise of pending strike

The Israeli military appears poised to bring down a third high-rise building in the Gaza Strip, having warned its security manager of the impending attack and firing warning shots at the structure, according to Palestinian media reports.

The Israel Defense Forces has already demolished two such buildings, of more than 10 stories.

According to Gaza news outlets, the al-Shourouk tower in Gaza City has been hit by a number of so-called “knock on the roof” attacks, in which non-explosive missiles are dropped on a building to warn those inside to exit before larger bombs destroy the building.

Smoke billows following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City on May 12, 2021 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

UN Security Council again meets on Israel, US blocks statement

The UN Security Council holds another emergency meeting on worsening hostilities between Israel and Palestinians, again without agreeing on a joint statement due to opposition from the United States, Israel’s key ally, according to diplomats.

The United States sees the Security Council meeting as a sufficient show of concern, one diplomat tells AFP on condition of anonymity.

“The US doesn’t see that a statement will help de-escalate,” says another.

According to several sources, 14 of the 15 members of the Council were in favor of adopting a joint declaration aimed at reducing tension.

The statement would have criticized both Israelis and Palestinians for the ongoing violence, highlighting Hamas rocket fire from Gaza but also criticizing the looming Israeli evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and urged israel to respect the status quo at the capital’s holy sites.

Illustrative: The Security Council meets virtually on January 26, 2020 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Screen capture/United Nations)

UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned the meeting that the “situation has deteriorated since Monday… there is a risk of a spiral of violence,” according to a diplomatic source.

During a first emergency meeting on Monday, the United States also refused to back a text proposed by Tunisia, Norway and China calling on all parties to refrain from provocation.

Gantz orders formation of Emergency Economy Committee

Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders the formation of a so-called Emergency Economy Committee, giving the government control over the country’s economy in order to ensure that critical items and services can be provided to Israelis in wartime.

The issuing of an Emergency Economy Committee order is a rare move, one normally done before a major military operation or after a natural disaster.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits the Israel-Lebanon border on November 17, 2020. (David Cohen/Flash90)

“The defense minister will be at the head of the Emergency Economy Committee and through that will work to instruct government ministries and operational bodies to ensure the regular functioning of the economy,” his office says.

TV: Some 1,200 rockets have been launched from Gaza so far

According to Channel 12, some 1,200 rockets have been launched from Gaza since the start of fighting on Monday.

At least 200 of those rockets have fallen inside Gaza territory.

The army has said the Iron Dome air defense system has intercepted between 85 and 90 percent of rockets heading toward populated areas.

Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system is activated to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

Israel demolishes third Gaza high-rise after warning occupants to leave

Israeli fighter jets have demolished al-Shourouk tower in Gaza City, after repeatedly warning those inside to leave.

This is the third high-rise building, containing more than 10 stories, to be destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces in this current round of fighting.

Such towers are said to house various commanders in Gaza terror groups.

According to Gaza news outlets, the security manager of the building was told to evacuate the structure and it was hit by a number of so-called “knock on the roof” attacks, in which non-explosive missiles are dropped on a building to warn those inside to exit, before larger bombs dropped by fighter jets destroyed the building.

‘Broader conflict’ must be averted in Israeli-Palestinian violence: EU

Israelis and Palestinians must immediately halt their violence “to prevent a broader conflict” impacting civilian populations, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warns.

“The EU is dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children,” he said in a statement. “All efforts should be directed at avoiding civilian casualties, and supporting de-escalation.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks as he attends a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Ukraine, at the European Council building in Brussels, April 19, 2021. (Francois Walschaerts, Pool via AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several communities near Gaza lose power after fresh rocket barrage

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

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

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

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

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

Unrest, clashes reported in Lod ahead of curfew

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

A number of clashes are reported between Arabs and Jews.

Hamas says it fired 130 rockets into Israel in latest barrage

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

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

A view of the latest rocket attacks:

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

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

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

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

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

IDF says it bombed Islamic Jihad team preparing to launch rockets

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

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

Jewish extremists attack, vandalize Arab shops in Bat Yam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military said to present security cabinet with options for Gaza strikes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sirens sound again in Ashdod and Ashkelon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least 20 wounded by rockets in Ashkelon

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

Jewish man badly hurt by rock-throwers in Acre; Jewish-Arab violence in Haifa, other cities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young Arab man said shot and moderately wounded in Lod

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

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

Video shows far-right Jews viciously beat a man in Bat Yam

A group of far-right Jewish nationalists viciously beat a man they apparently believe to be an Arab Israeli in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, hitting him repeatedly as he lies on the ground.

The brutal attack is captured in real time by a film crew from the Kan broadcaster.

Police are nowhere to be found as the mob pulls the man out of his car following a minor crash on a street in Bat Yam, surrounding him and striking him again and again.

The man’s condition is not immediately known.

Ashkelon residents allowed to leave bomb shelters

Residents of Ashkelon are allowed to leave bomb shelters following a massive missile barrage on the city earlier tonight, the military says, but tells people to remain close to a bomb shelter or fortified room.

IDF: 180 rockets launched from Gaza today, 1,300 in total so far

Some 180 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel by terror groups in the Gaza Strip since 6 a.m. today, the military says.

Dozens of the incoming projectiles that were heading toward populated areas were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israel Defense Forces says.

Rockets seen fired from the Gaza strip, into Tel Aviv and central Israel on May 11, 2021 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Another 40 projectiles were fired from Gaza toward Israel but failed to clear the border and landed inside the enclave, according to the military.

In total, nearly 1,300 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel since the start of the fighting on Monday evening, according to the IDF’s tally.

TV: Security cabinet approves escalation of military strikes in Gaza

The security cabinet has approved an escalation of military strikes in Gaza, Channel 12 reports.

The network says Israel is now expected to strike symbols of Hamas’s rule in Gaza, including, for instance, the terror group’s Treasury building.

The decision by ministers likely means that the conflict will Hamas will last several days yet.

Shocking footage from Bat Yam shows mob attack on Arab driver

Shocking footage from Bat Yam shows a mob’s assault on an Arab driver this evening.

The driver apparently attempted to flee after the rioters identified him as an Arab. He is seen crashing into another car and is then pulled out of the vehicle and beaten by the rioters.

Arab Meretz MK says he’s terrified by riots: ‘The worst could be upon us’

Meretz MK Issawi Frej tells the Times of Israel that the scenes of Jewish rioters attacking Arab Israelis make him terrified that “the worst could be upon us.”

“The assault we’re seeing in Bat Yam is going to leave marks that will be very difficult to erase. It will be very hard to move forward,” Frej says.

“I’m terrified that things will deteriorate further. Our young, reckless [Arab] youth will want to defend themselves. This could take us to a very dangerous place.”

Frej mentions the October 2000 events, a series of sustained clashes between Arab Israelis and Israeli police in which 13 Arabs were killed. The events shaped the relationship between Arab Israelis and the Israeli state for a generation. A state investigation into the matter found that police had used excessive force, but no officials were ever charged.

Meretz MK Issawi Frej attends an Economic Committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“This is far worse than October 2000. Back then, we saw clashes between Arab society and the police. What we’re seeing now is between Arab citizens and Jewish citizens. It’s like a civil war, without weapons,” Frej says.

Freij calls for Arab and Jewish leaders to head to the streets and seek to establish calm. “Now, please, it’s not too late. Go out and make your voices heard,” he pleads.

Far-right party leader ‘shocked and ashamed’ by mobbing of Arab man

The far-right leader of the Religious Zionism party Bezalel Smotrich expresses horror at the attack on an Arab man in Bat Yam.

“I just viewed a clip I can’t share here of Jews mobbing an innocent Arab passerby and I am shocked and ashamed to the bottom of my soul,” he tweets. “We are in difficult days, under attack, frustrated… but damn it, how can Jews be so cruel?! Terrible.”

Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on May 3, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Smotrich has long been accused of stoking racial and religious tensions.

He recently said that Arabs are citizens of Israel, “for now at least.”

Lapid: The people of Israel, Jews and Arabs, are far better than this

Opposition leader Yair Lapid says: “The rioters in Lod and Acre don’t represent every Israeli Arab, the rioters in Bat Yam and the members of La Familia, Lehava and Kahana Lives [far-right Jewish groups] are a bunch of pathetic racists who don’t represent Israel’s Jews.”

He says that “the vast majority of the people of Israel, Jews and Arabs, are far better than this. The majority of us believe in coexistence. The role of leadership on both sides is to lower the flames, call on everyone to obey the law, reduce tensions and help restore order.”

Lapid insists that “Violence won’t defeat us. Violence won’t dictate our lives. We won’t allow a situation where synagogues are burnt, innocent people are beaten and the lives of those living in [Jewish-Arab] cities are turned into a living hell.”

Yesh Atid party chair Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv, May 6, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90)

TV: 2 wounded by gunfire in Lod unrest

Two people have been wounded by gunfire during clashes in Lod, Channel 12 reports.

One person was hit in the stomach and was in moderate-to-serious condition. The other was hit in the leg and was in a light-to-moderate state.

The network does not identify the people shot or who shot them.

Rivlin: Please stop this madness, it’s civil war without reason

Calling in to Channel 12, President Reuven Rivlin implores Israelis to stop the “madness” unfolding on the streets of Jewish-Arab cities.

“I am very worried,” he says, adding that he is “crying out” for internal peace as Israel faces attacks from outside enemies.

“I call on and beg of all local leaders, religious leaders, on citizens, on parents. Do all you can to stop this terrible thing that is happening before our eyes,” he says.

“We are dealing with a civil war between us without any reason. Please stop this madness.”

President Reuven Rivlin casts his ballot at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, March 23, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“I beg of you. This country belongs to all of us. Desist.”

Bennett: Harming innocents un-Jewish, inhuman; Shaked: It’s moral bankruptcy

Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett says the “terrible scenes in Bat Yam tonight are horrifying. This is not our way. Harming innocents is un-Jewish, immoral, inhuman.

He says the public “must not take the law into their own hands. Stop. Now.”

His No. 2 Ayelet Shaked decries “moral bankruptcy” and calls for the military to enter cities experiencing violence “before it’s too late.”

IDF soldier slain earlier today to be laid to rest tomorrow morning

Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, who was killed in a Hamas anti-tank guided missile attack from Gaza earlier in the day, will be buried in the military cemetery of his hometown of Elyakim tomorrow, the military says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the funeral will be held at 11 a.m.

Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, from the Nahal Infantry Brigade, who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep north of the Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

5-year-old Ido Avigal dies after rocket hit his Sderot home earlier today

The young boy who was critically wounded by a rocket strike in Sderot earlier has died.

Five-year-old Ido Avigal succumbed to his injuries after rocket shrapnel entered the family’s fortified room through the window, in circumstances that remain unclear.

Avigal’s mother and seven-year-old sister were both hurt as well. They are currently hospitalized.

Two people injured in West Bank shooting attack; shooter neutralized

Two people are injured in a shooting attack near an Israel Defense Forces post in the northern West Bank, the military says.

The gunman has been shot and “neutralized,” the IDF says, without specifying the man’s condition.

The condition of the men who were shot is not immediately known.

Sa’ar: Danger of war between citizens; Liberman: PM, police minister to blame

New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar warns that the scenes of chaos in Bat Yam, Haifa, Acre, Lod and elsewhere “do not leave room for doubt: We are in danger of sliding into a war between citizens.”

He adds: “Our commitment to our children in this country obliges us all to act to calm the spirits.”

Yisrael Beytenu party head Avigdor Liberman blames “the recklessness of the prime minister and public security minister, who are both responsible and to blame for the situation.”

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman speaks to Israelis around Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv on March 23, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Sky News Arabia: ‘Serious efforts’ to reach ceasefire by midnight

Sky News Arabia reports “serious efforts” to reach a ceasefire by midnight, citing Palestinian sources.

Egypt, the United States and international bodies are working to end the escalation, the Emirates-based satellite channel reports.

Man wounded by Arab mob in Acre in critical condition

The man wounded by an Arab mob in Acre earlier, reportedly after getting hit in the head by a rock, is in critical condition, according to a doctor treating him.

Netanyahu says violence in cities ‘insufferable,’ looking at sending in army

In a video statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the violence and chaos between Arab and Jews in recent days is “insufferable.”

“We’ve seen Arab rioters setting synagogues alight, setting cars alight, assaulting police, attacking peaceful innocent civilians. We can’t accept it. It’s anarchy,” he says.

“Nothing can justify an Arab mob assaulting Jews, and nothing can justify a Jewish mob assaulting Arabs.”

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

“This violence is not us,” he says. “We will bring back order and rule to all Israeli cities.”

He says he’ll give full backing and more powers and resources to police to enforce the law and says he is also looking at sending military forces into cities to the extent that the law allows it.

“If need be, we’ll legislate further [to do so],” he says.

Biden says spoke to Netanyahu, hopes violence ending ‘sooner than later’

US President Joe Biden sayst Israel has a right to defend itself, but after speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he hopes violent clashes with Palestinians will end soon.

“I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago,” Biden told reporters. “My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”

US President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 7, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Biden updates Netanyahu on US efforts to help restore a ‘sustainable calm’

The White House has released its readout from US President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today.

Biden mentioned the call briefly during a press conference shortly before the readout was published, saying he was hopeful that the latest round of violence could come to a close soon.

“Biden condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians,” the readout says.

“He also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of a pathway toward restoring a sustainable calm. He shared his conviction that Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith from around the world, must be a place of peace.”

Biden updated Netanyahu on the US’s diplomatic engagement with regional countries, including Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, as well as with Palestinian officials, the readout continues.

“The two leaders agreed to maintain close consultation between their teams, which has included consistent engagement by their respective foreign ministers, defense ministers, chiefs of defense and national security advisors, and to stay in touch personally in the days ahead,” the statement adds.

Gantz: Our internal divisions are no less dangerous than Hamas

Defense Minister Benny Gantz issues a statement responding to the brutal rioting taking place across the country in which Arab and Jewish mobs have targeted innocent bystanders.

“On this evening, more than ever, our internal divisions are what threatens us. They are no less dangerous than Hamas’s missiles,” Gantz says.

“We must not win the battle in Gaza and lose the battle at home. The harsh images from the cities and streets tonight are Israelis tearing each other apart. The shocking violence in Bat Yam, Acre, Lod and other cities turns our stomachs and breaks the hearts of us all,” he adds.

Police say 400 arrested in city riots, cops in control of most hotspots

Police say 400 people gave been arrested so far tonight in rioting throughout the country, with 36 cops hurt during events.

Among them, six people are suspected of involvement in an attack on an Arab man in Bat Yam that has shocked Israeli leaders.

Officials say police are in control of most hotpots though there remain several areas where “Border Police and police and working to disperse rioters.”

They also say two Lod suspects have been arrested who are suspected in incidents of shooting at police yesterday night.

A firefighter is seen on the streets of the central city of Lod amid ongoing unrest, May 12, 2021 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israel said to deny reports that gunman in W. Bank shooting is member of PA security forces

Israeli security officials deny Palestinian media reports that the gunman who opened fire on two Israeli men in the northern West Bank earlier today is a member of the Palestinian Authority’s security services, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Two Israelis were injured in the attack near an IDF post in the northern West Bank, the military said earlier.

The gunman was “neutralized,” the IDF said, without specifying the man’s condition.

The condition of the men who were shot was not immediately known.

PA prime minister pans Security Council failure to issue statement on Gaza due to US refusal

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh slams the United Nations Security Council’s failure to release a statement condemning Israel for the ongoing escalation between Jerusalem and Hamas.

“Silence towards Israel’s crimes encourages it to continue attacking our people. Failure to condemn Israel in the UN gives it the green light to commit more crimes,” Shtayyeh says.

The Times of Israel has previously reported that the United States blocked a joint statement at the Security Council that would have criticized both sides for ongoing violence, mentioning Gaza rockets.

The statement also would have criticized looming Israeli evictions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and urged Israel to respect the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Rocket barrage fired at central Israel sends Israelis back to shelters

Another barrage of rockets has been fired toward central Israel, sending civilians in Or Yehuda, Kfar Chabad, Savyon and Rishon Lezion into bomb shelters.

Netanyahu holds security briefing to discuss intra-Israeli violence

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convening a situational assessment at the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, National Security Council chairman Meir Ben-Shabbat and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

The inclusion of police officials in the security briefing indicates that it will also discuss the ongoing violence within Israel where Arab and Jewish vigilantes have targeted innocent civilians in ethnically motivated attacks.

WATCH: Iron Dome interception of Gaza rockets over Rishon Lezion

Residents of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area report hearing the sounds of explosions overhead, likely indicating that the Iron Dome air defense battery intercepted some of the incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The rocket attack triggered sirens in cities and towns east of Tel Aviv, including Rishon Lezion and Ben Gurion Airport.

Video footage from Rishon Lezion shows what appears to be an interception by the Iron Dome.

For 2nd time in minutes, central Israel residents rush to shelters due to rocket fire

Air raid sirens sound throughout central Israel for the second time in minutes, and this time the alerts are also going off in Tel Aviv, Holon, Ramat Gan and other surrounding suburbs.

Minutes earlier, a barrage was fired setting off sirens in Or Yehuda, Savyon and Rishon Lezion.

Sirens sound as far north as Nazareth as Hamas appears to extend rocket range

Air raid sirens sound throughout central and northern Israel as the Hamas terror group appears to have significantly extended its range of rocket attacks.

The sirens are heard from the city of Rehovot up to Shimshit, northwest of the Arab city of Nazareth in the Galilee.

The sirens do not necessarily mean the rockets reached that far. There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Modi’in, surrounding communities southeast of Tel Aviv

Rocket sirens sound in the city of Modi’in and nearby communities, southeast of Tel Aviv.

Police minister breaks silence, condemns ethnic violence raging through country

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, who has come under heavy criticism during the ongoing violence between Arabs and Jews across the country, issues his first statement on the situation.

“The attacks by Arabs against Jews, security forces, the symbols of Judaism and institutions of government are heartbreaking,” he says.

“This cannot be accepted and there is nothing to justify it — just as there is no, and will not be any, justification for the terrible violence and the [Jewish] mob assault this evening [of an Arab bystander],” says the minister responsible for the police.

“Violence mixed with hatred should be condemned outright,” he says, calling on all Israelis to return home.

“We have no other country. We must live here together.”

“No one has the authority to take the law into their own hands,” he concludes.

Shrapnel from rocket barrage damages house in Rishon Lezion, none injured

Shrapnel from Gaza rocket fire strikes a house in Rishon Lezion, but there were no injuries, according to Hebrew media reports.

Sirens wail in Tel Aviv, surrounding cities for 2nd time in an hour

Rocket sirens sound in Tel Aviv and its surrounding suburbs, including near Ben Gurion Airport, as Hamas continues to fire rockets at central Israel.

The alarms are heard in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva and smaller towns nearby.

No injuries reported in post-midnight rocket barrage — Magen David Adom

Magen David Adom says that it has not received reports of any civilians injured from the two rocket barrages launched after midnight by the Hamas terror group from Gaza toward central Israel.

Six people, however, were lightly injured while running to shelters and a number of others are being treated for anxiety attacks.

Palestinian in critical condition after being knifed by Jewish mob in Jerusalem

A Palestinian worker in his mid-20s is in serious condition after being attacked by a Jewish mob at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market, Hebrew media reports.

The victim was stabbed in the neck during the attack.

He has been rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. His condition has stabilized, according to Haaretz.

Rocket lands in Petah Tikva, no immediate reports of injuries

A Gaza rocket has fallen just outside a building in Petah Tikva and a large fire has started at the scene.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

WATCH: IDF strikes Hamas operatives, infrastructure in Gaza

The Israeli Air Force is targeting Hamas infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip, taking out several operatives of the terror group as well, the army says.

The fighters targeted were a squad of Hamas’s naval forces, the IDF says.

Among the buildings struck were Hamas’s treasury and internal security headquarters, which is used in intelligence operations, according to the army.

Islamist Ra’am party chairman condemns Arab-Jewish violence

Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas pans the violence of Jewish and Arab mobs targeting innocent bystanders in ethnically motivated attacks across the country this evening.

“I call on all politicians, leaders, mayors and clerics — Arabs and Jews — to put all disputes aside and take responsibility for our society as a whole and do everything in their power to stop the current wave of violence and madness across the country,” he says.

“Please take responsibility for people’s lives. This is a moment when the humanity within each and every one of us needs to be revealed and transcend beyond any difference, conflict or controversy of any kind.”

5 treated for smoke inhalation from fire caused by rocket strike outside Petah Tikva home

Five Israelis are being treated for smoke inhalation from a large fire that broke out after a Hamas rocket from Gaza struck in between homes in Petah Tikva.

The five being treated are lightly injured.

The buildings near the fire have sustained moderate damages.

Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas fail to bear fruit

Ongoing Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have failed to bear fruit, according to various reports.

Kan news says that Hamas has “climbed too high up the tree” and is not sure how it can de-escalate any time soon.

Al Jazeera reports that Israel has relayed that it isn’t interested in a ceasefire at the moment.

WATCH: As children scream, Jewish rioters seek to enter Arab home in Lod

A group of Jewish rioters sought to enter an Arab family’s home in Lod, footage from Haaretz shows.

The suspects were wielding rods and sought to get through the doorway but were stopped by two members of the family as children were heard wailing in the background.

Haaretz reports that police arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Border cop shot while responding to riot in Umm al-Fahm

A Border Police officer dispatched to a riot in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm was shot and moderately wounded, law enforcement says.

During the riots, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a group of policemen who were standing near the city police station.

As searches for the perpetrator were being conducted, shots were fired at officers, striking one of them.

Police activity in the area continues.

Several US airlines cancel flights to Israel due to Gaza rockets

Several US airlines have announced the cancellation of flights to Israel as rocket fire from Gaza targeting areas near Ben Gurion Airport persists.

United Airlines says it canceled flights from Chicago and Newark to Tel Aviv yesterday and from San Francisco and Newark to Tel Aviv today.

American Airlines says it has canceled an evening flight from New York to Tel Aviv today and from Tel Aviv to New York tomorrow.

Both airlines say they will waive change fees for customers on flights through May 25 due to the ongoing violence.

Delta Airlines says it has canceled flights to and from New York and Tel Aviv today. A spokesman tells The New York Times that the airline is “monitoring the situation” and has not yet decided when flights will resume.

Israel’s national airline El Al, on the other hand, says it will continue operating flights as scheduled but that customers who booked their flights before May 19 can alter them without incurring a change fee.

PM aide accused of sharing ‘Gaza rocket launch’ video that shows footage from Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic spokesperson shared a video purporting to show a rocket fired this week from within a civilian area in Gaza, but hundreds of Twitter users are accusing him of using two-year-old footage from Syria.

Indeed, one user shows an identical clip that was posted in 2019.

WATCH: IDF strikes home of senior Hamas commander

The IDF says it has struck the home of Iyad Tayeb, a battalion commander in Hamas’s military wing.

“His home served as part of the terror group’s infrastructure,” the IDF says.

Netanyahu tells Biden Israel will continue to strike Hamas in Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has released its readout from the premier’s call with US President Joe Biden.

Netanyahu thanked President Biden for American backing Israel’s right to defend itself, the readout says.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel would continue to act to undermine the military capabilities of Hamas and other terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip,” it adds, signaling that Israel is not yet interested in a ceasefire.

Blinken expresses condolences, condemns Gaza rocket attacks in call with Abbas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier today to discuss the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, the State Department says.

During their call, Blinken “expressed his condolences for the lives lost as a result” of the violence. He also condemned rocket fire from Gaza and “emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions and bring the current violence to an end.”

“The Secretary also expressed his belief that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security and prosperity,” the readout says, parroting a new favorite talking point of the Biden administration.

Blinken conveyed his best wishes to Abbas for Eid al Fitr and expressed hope that peace and calm would prevail, the readout said.

Blinken is the most senior US official to speak with Abbas since Joe Biden entered office. The US delivered a letter to Abbas on Monday from Biden that was written prior to the latest round of violence, but the president has yet to speak to his Palestinian counterpart.

Thousands attend Times Square rally in solidarity with Israel amid rocket fire

NEW YORK — Thousands of pro-Israel New Yorkers packed into Times Square earlier this evening for a rally in solidarity with the Jewish state amid days of rocket fire from Gaza.

The rally was put together by the Israel American Council, which organized similar demonstrations in Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Irvine, Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia, Redwood City, Seattle, Scottsdale, St. Louis, Walnut Creek, Washington, DC and West Palm Beach.

“We need to be there for Israel, and for our brothers and sisters, who are under brutal attack by terror organizations,” says IAC Co-founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet at the New York rally.

The Times Square Rally came a day after thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators packed the streets of mid-town in a protest against the Israeli government’s bombing campaign in Gaza that was launched in response to Hamas rockets.

Sullivan discusses Gaza violence in calls with Qatari foreign minister

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke earlier today with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the White House says.

“They discussed their shared concerns about the current situation in Gaza and Jerusalem. Mr. Sullivan made clear that the ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas into Israel are unacceptable and must end. They discussed their ongoing outreach to relevant parties in support of efforts to achieve calm, and agreed to remain in close touch in the period ahead,” according to the readout.

Trains won’t run north of Acre due to damage done to tracks from late night rioting

Israel Railways announces that trains will not be running north of Acre as a result of the damage done to tracks near the city’s station during rioting over the evening.

Islamic Jihad says Israeli overnight strikes will see even wider response

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad official told Arabic media that IDF strikes in Gaza overnight will lead to “an even wider response,” from the terror group.

25 House Democrats call on Blinken to condemn Sheikh Jarrah evictions

Twenty-five House Democrats have signed onto a letter calling on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn the looming evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

The letter was co-sponsored by Illinois Rep. Marie Newman and Michigan Rep. Mark Pocan. It gained the signatures of Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Betty McCollum, Rashida Tlaib, Raul Grijalva, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andre Carson, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Cori Bush, Judy Chu, Ayanna Pressley, Bobby Rush, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Gerald Connolly, Jared Huffman, Peter Welch, Judy Chu, Alan Lowenthal, Veronica Escobar, Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, Chellie Pingree, Debbie Dingell and Hank Johnson.

According to Haaretz, the letter received far more support than originally expected, in the middle of a week when thousands of rockets have being fired at Israel from Gaza.

Twenty-five House Democrats signed a letter urging U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to publicly condemn the planned eviction of Palestinians from homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on land claimed by Jewish settlers and exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to prevent the acts from taking place.

The number of signatories on the letter, which has been circulated for nearly a week by Reps. Marie Newman and Mark Pocan, is significantly higher than what sources had been expecting, reflecting the steadily growing disapproval of the displacement plans within the Democratic Party.

“Palestinian families have every right to live safely in their homes. That’s why I’ve led my colleagues in a letter calling on the State Department to immediately condemn these heinous actions by the Israeli government against Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. America must defend human rights everywhere,” Newman says in a statement.

In their letter, the House Democrats call on the Biden administration to “immediately send the strongest diplomatic message to Israel to desist from its plans.”

Ultra-nationalist Jewish groups are seeking to oust dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. The most imminent notice against four families sparked mass-protests in East Jerusalem late last month. The Supreme Court was slated to hold a hearing on the matter last Monday, which the state decided to delay due to concerns of violence and international pressure.

Palestinians protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 9, 2021, in solidarity with Palestinian families facing Israeli eviction orders in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

The Sheikh Jarrah evictions are based in part on a 1970 Israeli law that allows Jews to reclaim East Jerusalem land owned by Jews before 1948. No similar law exists for Palestinians who lost their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war and fled to what was then Jordanian-controlled territory. In fact, the Knesset passed a law in 1950 barring Palestinians from reclaiming property lost in the same war.

According to Ir Amim, a left-wing human rights group focusing on Jerusalem, around 200 families in East Jerusalem are under threat of eviction, with cases slowly moving through administrative bodies and Israeli courts. Around 70 of those families live in Sheikh Jarrah.

Also in the letter, the congress members speak out against Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, urging the government to “send observers to document Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians, including details on the military units involved in these operations and the usage of any US weapons for purposes of oversight and accountability regarding Leahy Law and Arms Export Control Act violations.”

Those legislative measures bar US military aid from being used for purposes other than self-defense.

After 3 hour respite, red alert sirens wail along southern Israel

After three hours of respite, fresh rocket sirens have sounded in the Kerem Shalom community bordering the Gaza Strip.

Red alert sirens wail in Sderot She’ar Hanegev

For the second time in minutes after a three-hour lull, red alert sirens have been set off in Sderot and She’ar Hanegev in southern Israel

Rocket sirens go off in Nir Oz, Nirim, Ein Hashlosha along Gaza border

For the third time this morning, rocket sires have been set off in Israeli towns along the Gaza border, including in Nir Oz, Nirim and Ein Hashlosha

Rocket sirens sound for fourth time since dawn in southern Israel

For the fourth time in the past hour, rocket sirens have gone off in southern border towns, this time in the Eshkol Regional Council, Sderot, She’ar Hanegev.

Police arrest 36 suspects who rioted in Jisr al Zarqa, Wadi Ara and Hadera.

Police say they arrested 36 suspects for throwing stones, shooting fireworks, lighting dumpsters and tires and attacking officers in the violent demonstrations that occurred yesterday and last night in Jisr al Zarqa, Wadi Ara and Hadera.

59 treated for smoke inhalation after cars set on fire in apartment building parking lot

Fifty-nine people, mostly children, have been treated for smoke inhalation after more than five vehicles were set on fire in a parking lot of an eight-story building in Haifa.

Heavy smoke climbed up the building, and firefighters ordered tenants to lock themselves in apartments while putting out the fire below, according to Hebrew media reports.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry updates death count from Israeli strikes to 67

In Gaza, 67 people have been killed so far — including 17 children — and nearly 400 injured after days of Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire, according to statistics from the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

UN Security Council to hold week’s third session on Israel, Gaza violence

NEW YORK — Tunisia, Norway and China have requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting be scheduled for Friday on the worsening hostilities between Israel and Palestinians, diplomatic sources say.

The session would be public and would include participation by Israel and the Palestinians, diplomats say.

The Council has already held two closed-door videoconferences since Monday, with the United States — a close Israel ally — opposing adoption of a joint declaration, which it said would not “help de-escalate” the situation.

No reports of rocket landings or interceptions after rocket sirens set off 4 times since dawn

There have yet to be any reports of rocket landings or interceptions by the Iron Dome after red alert sirens went off four times in the past hour and a half.

The IDF has not commented on whether any of the sirens were false alarms or if the rockets launched fell inside the Gaza Strip.

Red alert sirens wail for 5th time this morning in Israeli towns bordering Gaza

For the fifth time in the past hour, rocket sirens have gone off in southern border towns, this time in the Gavim, Michlelet Sapir and Miflasim areas.

Home Front Command clarifies that no rockets were fired at northern Israel last night

The Home Front Command clarifies that no rockets were fired at the Jezreel Valley last night, despite the red alert sirens that were heard as far north as Nazareth.

The Home Front Command says the sirens in the north were set off as a precautionary measure during one of the barrages toward central Israel.

Red alert sirens wail for 6th time this morning in Israeli towns bordering Gaza

For the sixth time in the past hour, rocket sirens have gone off in southern border towns, this time in Kissufim and Kerem Shalom.

IDF says it’s hit 600 targets in Gaza so far, including bunker dug under school

The Israel Defense Forces says it has bombed upwards of 600 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past two and a half days, including over 100 in the past day alone.

The IDF says they include a Hamas bunker that was dug underneath a school “and in proximity to other civilian buildings.” The military accuses the terror group of deliberately positioning military targets in densely populated areas to use the civilians nearby as human shields.

The IDF says overnight it also destroyed the home of a Hamas commander, Iyad Tayib, who is responsible for the group’s central Gaza battalion. The military says his house was “used as terrorist infrastructure,” without elaborating.

“The IDF will continue to strike terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip and will continue to act as necessary,” the military says.

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