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Man, 60, critically wounded as rocket hits 7-story building in Ashkelon

IDF launches major bombardment of Gaza Strip from air, sea and land as Netanyahu vows to extract a ‘heavy price’ from Hamas; dozens of rockets launched at southern Israel

  • Rockets from Gaza, on right, are seen in the night sky fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Iron Dome interceptor missiles, on left, rise to meet them. (Anas Baba/AFP)
    Rockets from Gaza, on right, are seen in the night sky fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Iron Dome interceptor missiles, on left, rise to meet them. (Anas Baba/AFP)
  • Hamas rockets light up the night sky as they are fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Israeli Iron Dome interceptors rise to meet them (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    Hamas rockets light up the night sky as they are fired towards Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021, while Israeli Iron Dome interceptors rise to meet them (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • A firefighter stands over the impact site of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a building in the city of Ashkelon, critically injuring a man, on May 14, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)
    A firefighter stands over the impact site of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hit a building in the city of Ashkelon, critically injuring a man, on May 14, 2021. (Fire and Rescue Services)
  • An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip early on May 14, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
    An explosion lights the sky following an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip early on May 14, 2021. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
  • Rockets are fired towards Israel from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
    Rockets are fired towards Israel from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
  • A long exposure picture shows Iron Dome interception missiles fired as rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip to Israel, May 13, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    A long exposure picture shows Iron Dome interception missiles fired as rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip to Israel, May 13, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)
    Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)
  • Palestinians check the damage caused after a 15-floor building was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
    Palestinians check the damage caused after a 15-floor building was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, May 13, 2021. (Atia Mohammed/Flash90)
  • Israeli soldiers fire toward the Gaza Strip from their position near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on May 13, 2021 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
    Israeli soldiers fire toward the Gaza Strip from their position near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on May 13, 2021 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
  • Rockets fired toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
    Rockets fired toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
  • A member of Sror family inspect the damage of their apartment after being hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over night, in Petah Tikva, central Israel, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    A member of Sror family inspect the damage of their apartment after being hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip over night, in Petah Tikva, central Israel, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • An Israeli man checks the damages in a residential building after a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, on May 13, 2021. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
    An Israeli man checks the damages in a residential building after a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, on May 13, 2021. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
  • Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
    Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip, May 12, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
  • People stand on a destroyed street after an Israeli air strike hit previous day in Gaza City in response to rocket fire, May 13, 2021 (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
    People stand on a destroyed street after an Israeli air strike hit previous day in Gaza City in response to rocket fire, May 13, 2021 (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
  • An Iron Dome interception missile hits a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, as seen from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, May 13, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    An Iron Dome interception missile hits a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, as seen from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, May 13, 2021. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded. For a recap of Wednesday’s events, click here.

Banners praising Hamas hung up on Temple Mount for Eid al-Fitr prayers

Activists hang large banners lauding the Hamas terror group and its leaders outside the Dome of the Rock shrine on the Temple Mount as worshipers gather for Eid al-Fitr prayers at the holy site.

Sirens in northern areas were false alarm, IDF says

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the rocket sirens heard in northern Israel, in the Jezreel Valley and Lower Galilee, were the result of a false alarm.

“There was no rocket [heading] to the Jezreel Valley,” Zilberman says.

The sirens were apparently triggered by a miscalculation of a rocket’s trajectory during a barrage aimed at central Israel, he says.

IDF chiefs to approve Gaza ground invasion plans later today, army says

IDF Armored Corps soldiers prepare to move south to the Gaza border on May 11, 2021, at El Poran, Golan Heights. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)
IDF Armored Corps soldiers prepare to move south to the Gaza border on May 11, 2021, at El Poran, Golan Heights. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

IDF Spokesman Hidai Zilberman says a variety of plans for a possible ground invasion of the Gaza Strip will be presented to the IDF General Staff for approval later today.

These plans, which are being assembled by the Gaza Division and Southern Command, can then be given to Israel’s political leadership for consideration.

The IDF in recent days has deployed additional ground troops to the border — from the Paratroopers Brigade, Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade — ahead of a potential incursion, but no decision to go forward with such a campaign has been made yet.

Rocket sirens blare east of Gaza border

Fresh rocket sirens sound in Israeli communities just east of the Gaza Strip, as the Hamas terror group continues to fire rocket and mortar shells from the enclave.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarms are heard in Nahal Oz, Alumim, Kfar Maimon and Be’eri.

Amid rocket fire from Gaza, officials divert incoming flights from Ben Gurion

In a bid to minimize exposure of civilian air travel to rocket fire from Gaza, official say incoming passenger flights will now be diverted from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv to Ramon Airport in the south.

Passengers will disembark at Ramon. The empty planes will then fly to Ben Gurion to take on new passengers, and then depart from Ben Gurion to their destinations abroad.

The decision is meant to broaden the air corridor taken by passenger flights in and out of the country and to minimize the numbers of passenger-filled planes on the ground at any one place in order to lower the chances that rocket fire from Gaza will hit a plane.

Freight aircraft and private planes will still be allowed to land at Ben Gurion Airport, an Israel Airports Authority spokesman says.

Doctors deliver baby of pregnant woman seriously hurt in Lod clashes overnight

A pregnant woman in the 39th week of her pregnancy was seriously hurt in rioting in the central city of Lod overnight.

Officials at Assaf Harofeh Hospital near Rishon Letzion say she remains in serious condition, but doctors have successfully delivered the baby.

The hospital is the closest major medical center to the Arab-Jewish city of Lod. It says 20 people injured in the clashes in the city arrived at the hospital overnight, including one with gunshot wounds.

Gaza officials say death toll hit 69 overnight

Officials in Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry say the death toll from Israeli airstrikes hit 69 overnight, including 17 minors. Another 388 have been wounded since Monday.

Palestinians assess damage caused by an Israeli air strike in the town of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hospital says condition of Arab man beaten by Jewish mob improving

A man beats a man lying prone on the ground in Bat Yam, amid interethnic violence across Israel, May 12, 2021. (Kan TV Screenshot)
A man beats a man lying prone on the ground in Bat Yam, amid interethnic violence across Israel, May 12, 2021. (Kan TV Screenshot)

Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv says the condition of the Arab man beaten by a Jewish mob in Bat Yam yesterday has improved.

The 33-year-old man, whose beating was caught live on national television and sparked outraged responses from Israeli leaders, is now in moderate condition.

He received stitches to his face and inside his mouth, the hospital says, and will be transferred this morning to the hospital’s general ICU for recovery.

Three rockets fall in kibbutz near Gaza

Three rockets fired from Gaza hit Kibbutz Nir Oz, near the border with the southern Strip.

No one is injured.

Officials at the Eshkol Regional Council, where Nir Oz is located, say 82 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza to their area in the first eight hours of Thursday.

Soldier wounded in missile strike from Gaza sees ‘dramatic improvement’

A soldier wounded in a Hamas missile attack on an IDF jeep near Gaza yesterday has seen a “dramatic improvement” in his condition, according to a Soroka Hospital spokesperson.

The soldier went into surgery when he arrived at the Beersheba hospital yesterday and is now recuperating in the neurosurgical ward. His condition has been upgraded to lightly wounded.

St. Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, was killed in the missile strike. A third soldier was seriously hurt.

Gantz orders Border Patrol callup to reinforce police in towns that have seen clashes

Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders the callup of 10 reserve Border Patrol companies to bolster police efforts to rein in clashes in Arab-Jewish towns throughout the country.

A statement from Gantz’s office says he will not permit IDF troops to be used for policing work in Israeli towns. But the IDF will assist the police in the callup and the “logistical envelope,” the statement says.

“We’re in a moment of emergency,” Gantz is quoted as saying. “At this time, there’s a need for massive reinforcements of the forces on the ground, which will be sent immediately to impose law and order.”

British FM calls for end to Hamas rockets, de-escalation on all sides

British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, speaks at a press conference at Khartoum International Airport, in Khartoum, Sudan, January 21, 2021.  (Marwan Ali/AP)
British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, speaks at a press conference at Khartoum International Airport, in Khartoum, Sudan, January 21, 2021. (Marwan Ali/AP)

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says he has spoken about the violence with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

“We are appealing for calm, an end to the Hamas rocket attacks, and a de-escalation of the violence on all sides which is costing lives,” Raab says in a statement.

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Israel and the Palestinians to “step back from the brink” and called for both sides to “show restraint.”

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (left) meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Jerusalem on August 25, 2020. (Courtesy/Miri Shimonovich)

“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions,” Johnson tweeted.

IDF says it carried out strike on Hamas military intelligence building

The Israel Defense Forces says in a statement that military aircraft carried out a strike on a building holding military intelligence services of the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

“IDF fighter jets and aircraft recently attacked the offices of the military intelligence of the terrorist organization Hamas in Rimal in the Gaza Strip,” the military says, referring to an upscale neighborhood of Gaza City.

The strike came as the Israeli military expanded its targets to also include institutions that Hamas uses to rule the Palestinian enclave, notably its treasury and banks.

The military says it will continue to hit targets in the Strip.

Hamas-run Health Ministry says 72 killed in Gaza since start of violence

People stand on a destroyed street after an Israeli air strike hit previous day in Gaza City in response to rocket fire, May 13, 2021 (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
People stand on a destroyed street after an Israeli air strike hit previous day in Gaza City in response to rocket fire, May 13, 2021 (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Officials in Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry say the death toll has hit 72, including 17 minors, since the current round of violence began on Monday.

The Israel Defense Forces says dozens of those killed were terrorists and that additionally, some Palestinian fatalities were caused by misfired rockets from Gaza that failed to make their deadly way to Israel.

Siren blares in Kerem Shalom, warning of incoming fire

After nearly two hours of quiet in border communities, fresh rocket sirens sound just east of the Gaza Strip, as the Hamas terror group continues to fire rockets and mortar shells from the enclave.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The alarm is heard in Kerem Shalom.

IDF says it carried out a strike on Hamas cell firing anti-tank missile

The Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a strike on a Hamas cell that was firing an anti-tank guided missile toward Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.

The military did not say if the missile was successfully launched.

Yesterday, an Israeli soldier was killed and two others were wounded, along with an Israeli civilian, after Hamas operatives fired an anti-tank guided missile at their jeep just north of the Gaza Strip.

Police say 82 more held over Jewish-Arab violence, some as young as 13

The Northern District of the Israel Police force says in a statement that 82 overnight arrests take the total number held since the start of Jewish-Arab violence on Monday to 232, including 13- and 14-year-olds.

Police say the suspects are being held on suspicion of involvement in a number of crimes including rioting, arson and throwing rocks.

Of the 232 held, the courts have agreed to extend the detention of 116 suspects, police say.

The statement highlights two key disturbances in the north of the country on Wednesday night — rioting and the destruction of businesses by Jewish gangs in Tiberias, as well as rioting and the destruction of property in the Arab town of Kafr Kanna.

Barrage fired at Ashkelon, Gaza border towns; a number of projectiles intercepted

Interceptions in the sky above the Gaza border community of Netivot, May 13, 2021 (Courtesy)
Interceptions in the sky above the Gaza border community of Netivot, May 13, 2021 (Courtesy)

Sirens wail in the city of Ashkelon and a number of Gaza border communities warning of incoming projectiles.

The warning alerts are heard in Nahal Oz, Talmei Bilu, Tekuma and Netivot.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

Photos and video footage from the scene appear to show a number of interceptions by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Hundreds attend funeral of Omer Tabib, IDF soldier killed by anti-tank missile

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

Hundreds of mourners attend the funeral of Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, in the military cemetery in his hometown of Elyakim.

Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis is attending the funeral as the government’s representative.

Tabib was killed and two other soldiers were wounded, along with an Israeli civilian, after Hamas operatives fired an anti-tank guided missile at their jeep just north of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

He was set to be released from the army next month.

Hamas-run Health Ministry says 83 killed in Gaza since start of violence

The Hamas-run Health Ministry says 83 Gazans have died since the outbreak of hostilities, 17 of them children, and 487 have been wounded.

The Israel Defense Forces says dozens of those killed were terrorists and that additionally, some Palestinian fatalities were caused by misfired rockets from Gaza that failed to reach Israel and fell short in the Strip.

For 2nd time in an hour, IDF hits Hamas cell firing anti-tank missile toward Israel

For the second time within an hour, the Israel Defense Forces says it carried out a strike on a Hamas cell that was firing an anti-tank guided missile toward Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.

The military says it hit the cell before the missile was launched.

Yesterday, an Israeli soldier was killed and two others were wounded, along with an Israeli civilian, after Hamas operatives fired an anti-tank guided missile at their jeep just north of the Gaza Strip.

Wife of man stabbed in Lod: Group of Arabs yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ and attacked him

Gil Gabai, the wife of a man who was stabbed in the central of city of Lod this morning, says he was attacked by a group of Arabs who yelled “Allahu Akbar” as they beat and stabbed him.

“He went to the car and on his way, a group of Arabs shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and attacked him with stones and rocks,” she tells Army Radio. “One pulled out a pocketknife and stabbed him in the back. He managed to fend him off and escape but another Arab man still tried to grab him.”

“I saw the whole thing from the window of the house. I screamed for them to leave but I was afraid to come down in case something happened to me,” she says.

“My husband is currently in the hospital. He is stable and doing okay,” she says.

IDF says it prevented 3rd cell from firing anti-tank missile at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces announces it has prevented a third cell from firing an anti-tank guided missile toward Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The military says it “hit and thwarted” the attack.

Yesterday, an Israeli soldier was killed and two others were wounded, along with an Israeli civilian, after Hamas operatives fired an anti-tank guided missile at their jeep just north of the Gaza Strip.

The funeral of Staff Sgt. Omer Tabib, 21, is currently taking place in Elyakim.

Footage shows Arab rioters in Haifa torching cars; dozens treated for smoke inhalation

Security camera footage shows the moment a group of rioters, said to be Arab residents of Haifa, set fire to vehicles in the parking lot of a building inhabited by ultra-Orthodox families.

According to the Walla news site, some 60 people were treated for smoke inhalation, many of them children.

The attack took place in the early hours of the morning while the families slept.

Man attacked in Acre was teacher who went out to stop his students joining violence

The 37-year-old man attacked by Arabs in Acre last night was a high school teacher who went out looking for his students to stop them participating in the violence, Channel 12 reports.

Doctors at the Galilee Medical Center say the condition of Elad Barzilai has significantly improved though he is still sedated and on a ventilator.

Barzilai has already had one emergency operation for head wounds he suffered in the attack and he will require more surgery in the future, doctors say.

Fresh round of sirens heard in Gaza border communities

Rockets fired toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Rockets fired toward Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021 (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Alerts sound in a number of towns close to the Gaza Strip, warning of potential incoming rocket fire.

Residents of Nirim, Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha rush for shelter.

According to Channel 12 news, all the projectiles were intercepted or landed in open areas.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

IDF identifies and strike 4th anti-tank missile squad in Gaza

IDF forces have identified and struck yet another anti-tank missile squad in Gaza, the army says.

It’s the fourth missile squad to be struck since the morning.

An IDF soldier was killed and two were wounded when a squad successfully fired a missile at an IDF jeep near the border yesterday.

Hamas: Striking Tel Aviv, Jerusalem is ‘easier for us than taking a sip of water’

A spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, calls for West Bank Palestinians to join the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the terror group.

“Go forth, our people in the West Bank, fight the enemy in every field. The al-Qassam Brigades will be there at your back,” says the Al-Qassam Brigades’ spokesperson Abu Obeida.

The West Bank has seen violent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians, with a few deaths, but nothing that could be described as a full-scale intifada, or uprising.

“What sets this battle apart is our people’s solidarity everywhere they are, each according to the circumstances in the field,” Abu Obeida says.

He threatens Israel with continued rocket fire in Israel’s heartland in the coming days should Israel continue to cross “red lines.”

“Striking Tel Aviv, Dimona and Jerusalem, near and far, all of this is easier for us than taking a sip of water,” Abu Obeida says.

IDF says it attacked Hamas base with 3 anti-tank launchers

The Israel Defense Forces says it has attacked a Hamas military base that houses three anti-tank missile launchers.

Earlier today, the military targeted four Gaza cells about to fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets.

Rocket alarms sound in Ashkelon, Gaza border area

Fresh rocket alarms sound in Ashkelon and communities near the Gaza border, some 90 minutes after the previous barrage by Palestinian terrorists.

Iron Dome intercepts rockets over Ashkelon, no casualties

The latest rocket barrage from Gaza caused no casualties, Channel 12 news reports.

The report says several rockets were intercepted over Ashkelon by the Iron Dome air defense system.

More rocket sirens heard in Sderot, Shaar Hanegev

Additional rocket sirens are heard in Sderot and the Shaar Hanegev region, with TV footage showing at least one Iron Dome interception.

Rocket alarms sound in Tel Aviv, central Israel

A major rocket barrage is fired toward central Israel as sirens sound in Tel Aviv and other central cities. Sirens are also heard in Beersheba.

More rocket alarms in Ashdod, Beersheba; barrage said to consist of 50 rockets

More rocket alarms sound in Ashdod, Beersheba and other areas.

The latest barrage toward central Israel consisted of some 50 rockets, Hebrew media reports.

Several Iron Dome interceptions are observed, with one landing off the coast of Bat Yam.

No casualties reported in major barrage; rocket lands in Tel Aviv parking lot

No casualties are immediately reported in the latest heavy rocket barrage at central Israel and Beersheba, which is now said to consist of some 100 rockets.

One rocket lands at the entrance to a parking lot in Tel Aviv, causing damage but no casualties.

The Hamas terror group takes responsibility for the barrage, saying it’s in response to Israel killing its commanders in Gaza.

Rocket alarms also heard in communities near Jerusalem

Rocket alarms have also been heard in communities near Jerusalem, though not in the city itself.

Reports say the sirens sounded in Beit Shemesh, Nataf and Mevo Horon.

Hamas says it is using new rocket that can hit anywhere in Israel

Hamas’s armed wing says that it has begun using a new rocket that enables it to hit any point in Israel.

Abu Obeida says that Hamas military chief Mohammad Deif is calling for “international airline companies to immediately cease their flights to any airport in occupied Palestine.”

“We tell the enemy: your airports and every point from northern Palestine to its south is in the reach of our rockets,” says Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s armed wing.

The rocket is called the Ayyash 250, after the famous terror expert Yahya Ayyash.

2 lightly injured near Kiryat Gat following major barrage

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says two people have suffered mild injuries from shrapnel in Zohar, a small community near Kiryat Gat, following the latest volley of over 100 rockets.

Some 10 interceptions were observed over Tel Aviv.

IDF: Total of 1,369 rockets launched since Monday, not including latest volley

The IDF Home Front Command says that not including the latest barrage of over 100 rockets toward central Israel, a total of 1,369 projectiles have been launched thus far by Gaza terrorists since the fighting began Monday.

Of the total, 1,031 landed in Israel, including 264 in inhabited areas.

Drone said to enter Israel, explode over community; no casualties

An unmanned aircraft entered hundreds of meters into Israeli territory and exploded over an Israeli community in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, causing no casualties, Channel 12 news reports.

There have been many attempted drone attacks, mostly thwarted by the Israeli military.

Germany vows ‘no tolerance’ for synagogue attacks after anti-Israel demonstrations

Germany vows “unwavering” protection of its synagogues after scattered demonstrations over the escalating conflict in the Middle East saw protesters shout anti-Israeli slogans and burn Israeli flags.

“There must be no tolerance for attacks against synagogues in our country,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tells the Funke media group, pledging “unwavering security” for Jewish temples in Germany.

Protesters burned Israeli flags outside synagogues in Muenster and Bonn in western Germany earlier this week, with 16 people arrested.

Last night, around 180 people shouted anti-Israeli slogans at a march in Gelsenkirchen, also in the west. Police say they prevented the protesters from marching on the city’s synagogue.

In Hanover, police say they broke up a protest of around 550 people and prevented two protesters from burning an Israeli flag.

Maas says German Jews should not be made scapegoats for the events in Israel “either in the street or on social media.”

Germany’s Central Council of Jews, which represents about 200,000 Jews living in the country, called yesterday for stepped -p protection for Jewish institutions in the country as unrest flares between Israel and Palestinians.

Hamas rocket targets Israel’s 2nd international airport near Eilat

A rocket has fallen in the Hevel Eilot region, near Eilat, as Gaza terrorists appear to attempt to force Israel to completely close its skies.

Palestinian terror groups say the rocket was targeting Israel’s second international airport, Ramon, where flights have been diverted after Ben Gurion Airport was also targeted.

4 hurt in latest rocket barrage, including boy, 7, in moderate condition

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says four people have been injured following the barrage of over 100 rockets at central and southern Israel.

A seven-year-old boy was moderately injured in his limbs on his way to a bomb shelter in central Israel and is being taken to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, MDA says, without specifying the location or what exactly caused the injury.

In the community of Zohar, near Kiryat Gat, a 60-year-old woman is being treated for mild glass shrapnel wounds, a 40-year-old woman was slightly hurt on her way to a bomb shelter, and another woman suffered an acute anxiety attack.

Hamas says it launched suicide drones into Israel

The Hamas terror group says it has launched a number of armed suicide drones from Gaza into southern Israel.

Initial reports from Israeli residents of the Gaza border, who say they heard explosions overhead, indicate that the unmanned aircraft were shot down.

There is no immediate confirmation from the Israel Defense Forces.

Rocket travels 250 km to Eilat area, apparently the longest-range fired by Hamas

The Hamas rocket that fell in the Hevel Eilot region, near Israel’s southernmost city, Eilat, appears to be the longest-range projectile ever fired by the Palestinian terror group into Israel.

The rocket traveled some 250 kilometers into Israeli territory.

Shortly before the launch, Hamas’s armed wing said it had begun using a new rocket that enables it to hit any point in Israel, called the Ayyash 250, after the terror chief Yahya Ayyash.

The move, it said, is aimed at causing international flights to stop landing in Israel, including at Ramon airport near Eilat, after Ben Gurion Airport was targeted several times, causing flights to be diverted to Ramon.

Armed drone from Gaza crash-lands in Israel

One of the armed drones launched by Hamas into southern Israel crash-landed in an open field, causing no injury or damage, local officials say.

According to the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council, the aircraft was disarmed by a police sapper.

Singer urges IDF to reduce Gaza ‘to dust’ after rocket shard falls near his home

Rocket shards from a successful interception fell near the southern Tel Aviv home of veteran Israeli singer Yishai Levi, causing him to call on the government to launch a ground operation inside the Gaza Strip.

Speaking with Channel 12 news, Levi urges the forces “not to exit until they [Hamas] are [reduced to] dust.”

“It was one centimeter from my backyard,” he tells the Ynet news site. “We heard a very loud boom at first, and then there was the sound of falling metal. I’m fine.”

Netanyahu adviser in Newsweek op-ed: Stop promoting Hamas narrative

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior adviser Aaron Klein writes in a Newsweek op-ed that Hamas is intentionally trying to “set the Palestinian arena ablaze” in order “to solidify its own domestic position ahead of any election and to present itself as the savior of the Palestinian cause.”

Klein calls the growing violence in Jerusalem over recent weeks part of a deliberate Hamas campaign, whose narrative many around the world have accepted.

“To help quell this calculated Hamas terror campaign, the international community must immediately condemn the Palestinian aggression and fully support Israel’s right to self-defense,” writes Netanyahu’s adviser. “And the international news media must stop promoting Hamas’s transparently false pretenses that seem to legitimize the bloodshed.”

IDF says it targeted Hamas anti-tank missile launcher placed in Gaza high-rise

The IDF says its forces have targeted another Hamas anti-tank missile launcher placed in a Gaza high-rise building.

The military also publishes footage from the attack in the southern Strip, adding that the terror group “deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in Gaza.”

Footage shows people rushing for shelter at Ben Gurion Airport amid rocket alarm

Footage shared on social media shows people rushing for shelter at Ben Gurion airport after rocket alarms sounded there last night.

Gazan terror groups have deliberately and openly targeted Israel’s main international airport in an effort to disrupt air travel to and from the Jewish state.

IDF says it downed a drone that crossed from Gaza into Israel

The IDF says it has brought down another drone launched from Gaza that entered Israeli territory.

The military says the drone was closely monitored from the moment it crossed the border until it was downed.

Jewish suspects in fatal shooting of Arab in Lod released on bail

All four Jewish suspects in the fatal shooting of an Arab man in Lod earlier this week will be released under relatively lenient restrictive conditions, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court rules, imposing a gag order on any detail that might disclose their identities due to death threats against them and their families.

The four were previously remanded after arguing they shot the man in self-defense amid intense clashes and violence by Arab rioters in the Jewish-Arab city.

After initially demanding they be held in custody, police backtracked and asked for the suspects to be released to house arrest for 10 days, with an additional two-week restraining order barring them from Lod.

But the court doesn’t send them to house arrest, instead releasing them on bail and barring them from Lod for several days.

A police representative has told the court the suspects’ version of events has received a boost over the last few days of investigation.

Residents of Gaza-adjacent communities told to stay indoors due to attack drones

Rocket alarms sound in Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, as a widescale drone attack on the area is also reported.

Residents of Gaza-adjacent communities are being ordered to stay indoors due to unmanned drones being launched by terror groups. They have caused no injuries thus far, and most were downed by the IDF.

IDF nixes leave for combat troops as it prepares for possible ground operation

The Israel Defense Forces announces it is canceling all weekend leave for combat soldiers as it prepares for the possibility of a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, as fighting there intensifies.

The military has sent infantry troops and tanks from the Paratroopers Brigade, Golani Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade to the Gaza border.

In addition, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the military has called up 7,000 reservists.

Roughly half of these are troops from air defense, artillery and medical units, and half serve in administrative and intelligence positions, Zilberman says.

IDF says barrage at central, southern Israel consisted of only 25-30 rockets

The Israel Defense Forces denies Hamas’s claims — widely echoed by Israeli media — that it fired some 100 rockets at central and southern Israel in its latest barrage.

Rather, the army says, the terror group in fact launched 25 to 30 rockets in the attack.

Israeli UN envoy urges Security Council to condemn ongoing Hamas rocket fire

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan speaks at the UN in New York. (Shahar Azran/Israeli Mission to the UN)
Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan speaks at the UN in New York. (Shahar Azran/Israeli Mission to the UN)

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

“Hamas, an internationally designated terrorist jihadist group supported by Iran, is responsible for these murderous attacks. The indiscriminate rocket fire constitutes a double war crime: targeting Israel’s civilian population and launching the rockets from within Gaza’s civilian neighborhoods and institutions,” Erdan writes.

“Hamas is presenting itself as the ‘defender of Jerusalem and the holy sites.’ This is, of course, a lie. It is clear that Hamas premeditated this escalation in violence and terrorism and is happy to pay the price of casualties on both sides in order to strengthen itself politically,” he adds.

He points out that “Israel has taken far-reaching de-escalatory steps to prevent any unrest and violence [including] prohibiting the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day. Palestinian terrorists responded by ramping up their terror, firing hundreds of rockets and missiles at Jerusalem, as well as other cities across Israel.”

The ambassador concludes by stating that “the State of Israel is not interested in an escalation. However, Israel has the right and duty to defend its people and sovereignty and will continue to do so vigorously.”

For the third time this week, the UN Security Council will be convening an emergency session Friday to discuss the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza. This meeting, however, will be broadcast live.

Footage shows IDF fighter jet shooting down ‘suicide drone’ launched from Gaza

The Israeli military releases video footage showing an F-16 fighter jet shooting down an armed suicide drone that was launched from the Gaza Strip toward a target off the coast.

In the video, the fighter plane can be seen locking on to the “suicide drone,” which carried a roughly five-kilogram explosive payload, before destroying the unmanned aircraft with a missile.

Since the outbreak of fighting, Hamas has launched a number of these drones, which the terror group says are assembled in Gaza, though the IDF believes that many of the components are smuggled into the beleaguered enclave. All of these have been downed by the Israeli military.

Rocket sirens blare in Netivot, Gaza-adjacent communities

A fresh volley of rocket is launched from Gaza as alarms sound in Netivot and Gaza-adjacent communities.

Netanyahu says he could okay administrative detentions to quell Lod violence

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Lod, which has been the scene of major Jewish-Arab riots over the past few days, and says he’ll approve far-reaching measures to quell the violence, including deploying military forces or using the controversial measure known as administrative detention.

“We have no bigger threat now than these pogroms, and we have no choice but to restore law and order via determined use of force,” the premier tells reporters.

Administrative detention enables authorities to detain people for extended periods of time without leveling formal charges against them, in a practice decried by critics as undemocratic and abusive but defended by the security establishment as a necessary measure in cases where revealing the evidence would harm national security.

After 5-year-old’s death, IDF orders residents to stay below bomb shelter windows

The IDF orders the public to close all windows in their rocket shelters and stay below the bottom of the window, after 5-year-old boy Ido Avigal died from a rocket shard that penetrated his Sderot apartment’s designated safe room.

“We had an irregular incident in Sderot of a shelter that was penetrated through the window,” says IDF Spokesperso Hidai Zilberman. “The window was standard. The irregularity was in the angle of the hit and its speed.”

Entry to Lod barred, as curfew announced from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai announces that as of 5 p.m., entry to the central Israel city of Lod is prohibited due to the major riots and Jewish-Arab violence in recent days.

A curfew will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. in an attempt to prevent a repeat of previous nights’ scenes of violence.

Residents will be allowed to exit their homes only to receive urgent medical treatment, go to bomb shelters or other vital needs approved by the police.

Gaza rocket penetrates roof of ‘rocket-proof’ Israeli kindergarten that was empty

A rocket fired from Gaza has directly hit and penetrated the roof of an empty kindergarten in a community near the Strip, even though it had been approved as rocket-proof, Channel 12 news reports.

The network airs footage from inside the kindergarten, showing extensive damage.

Authorities are said to be examining how the rocket penetrated the building’s roof despite the work to make it a safe zone.

Putin, UN chief Guterres jointly urge Israel and Palestinians to halt fighting

Russian President Vladimir Putin and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres call on Israel and Palestinian terror groups to end the military confrontation that began this week.

“In light of the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it was stated that the primary task is to stop violent actions on both sides and ensure the safety of the civilian population,” the Kremlin says in a statement after their video call.

Police chief said to oppose Netanyahu’s possible plan to send IDF troops to Lod

After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will consider sending IDF soldiers to Lod as part of efforts to quell the unprecedented violent riots in the Jewish-Arab city, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is quoted by Hebrew media as saying in closed meetings that he objects.

Shabtai opposes using military forces for civilian policing, the reports say, since he believes IDF troops lack the training to deal with civilian populations.

IDF strikes 4 ‘operational apartments’ used by Hamas commanders

The IDF says it has launched strikes on four apartments of senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the military says Air Force planes bombed “operational apartments” of the deputy commander of Hamas’s Jabalia regiment in the northern Strip, as well as three company commanders in northern and central Gaza.

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

IDF says it bombed Hamas intelligence center with dozens of operatives inside

The Israel Defense Forces says it just conducted an airstrike on a Hamas intelligence facility with dozens of terrorist operatives inside.

The military says the site served as the main command center for its surveillance network.

It is not immediately clear how many Hamas members are killed in the strike.

Fresh rocket alarms sound in Sderot, Netivot

Fresh rocket sirens blare in Sderot, Netivot and various Israeli communities near Gaza.

Heavy barrage targets southern Israel as 2 rockets hit, causing no casualties

More, nonstop rocket sirens are heard in Israeli communities near Gaza and several interceptions are observed following a major barrage by Hamas terrorists.

Alarms are also heard in the area of Beersheba and Rahat in the Negev.

The Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council says two rockets landed in the region, causing no casualties.

One landed inside a community, causing no damage, and another landed in an agricultural field and caused a blaze that is being dealt with by fire and rescue authorities.

IDF Home Front Command extends emergency rules through Saturday

The IDF Home Front Command extends its emergency restrictions for areas under threat of Gaza rockets until Saturday evening.

The decision has been made following a situational assessment after the fighting has shown no sign of abating.

The restrictions limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people and indoor gatherings to 100 people in areas of southern and central Israel targeted repeatedly over the coming days, including the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

They also forbid educational activities and say workplaces can only operate in places where a bomb shelter can be reached in time.

Fresh rocket alarms sound in Beersheba

Rocket alarms sound again in Beersheba as Gaza terrorists send heavy barrages toward southern Israel.

There are no reports of recent casualties.

IDF targets ‘operational apartment’ of Hamas drone chief

The IDF says it has bombed the “operational apartment” of Samer Abu Daka, the head of Hamas’s drone operations, after the terror group launched many “suicide drones” toward Israel earlier today.

The military says the apartment was used for military purposes. It also says the same apartment was targeted in the 2014 conflict.

Gaza will run out of fuel by Sunday — Israeli defense official

The Gaza Strip will run out of fuel for its electricity generators by Sunday, an Israeli defense official tells reporters.

According to the official, who is speaking on condition of anonymity, Gaza is down to having just five hours of electricity per day, after having 16 hours per day on average before the fighting.

Some of this is due to Israel shutting down the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which is normally used to send fuel into Gaza, and some of this is because rockets fired by terrorists in the enclave struck some of the power lines into the Strip near the city of Rafah.

According to the official, three of the four turbines that normally run in Hamas’s power plant are currently out of service as a result of the fuel shortage.
Gaza’s water supply has also been affected by the power cuts, limiting the amount of running water in the Strip to once every two days, the official says.

According to the Israeli defense official, residents of the Gaza Strip appear to be extremely concerned about the fighting and are largely hiding in their homes. He says there is also anger among the population because the fighting has prevented them from celebrating the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Israel amassing troops to prepare for Gaza ground operation — IDF spokesperson

Israel is amassing forces along the Gaza border to prepare for a potential ground operation, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says.

“We are gathering forces on the Gaza border, preparing them. They are studying the field and we will use them when we decide to,” Zilberman tells Channel 12 news.

“The initiative is ours and time is on our side,” he declares.

Heavy rocket fire at Beersheba as empty car suffers direct hit

More, heavy rocket fire is launched toward Beersheba and other southern communities.

Most of them land in open areas or are intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system, but one directly hits a car that was empty.

Another lands in a backyard of a home in the Eshkol region, causing no casualties.

Diplomatic source: Israel mulling ground operation in Gaza

A senior diplomatic source quoted by Channel 12 news says Israel is considering a ground operation in Gaza in response to the continued heavy rocket fire from the Strip.

The unnamed source says the option has been discussed by the security cabinet at the military’s request and that all options are being weighed.

According to the network, over 200 rockets have been launched today by Palestinian terrorists, and a total of more than 1,600 have been launched since the start of the confrontation on Monday.

Hamas health ministry says 87 Palestinians killed, 530 injured

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 87 people have been killed since the round of fighting began, including 18 children.

The ministry says 530 people have been injured.

Israel says most of the fatalities are either members of terror groups or victims of Hamas rockets that landed inside the Strip.

Gantz approves recruitment of 9,000 more IDF reservists

Defense Minister Benny Gantz gives the military approval to call up to 9,000 reservists as needed, in light of the ongoing fighting with terror groups in the Gaza Strip, his office says.

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

IDF says 160 rockets launched from Gaza today

Some 160 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel by terror groups in the Gaza Strip since 7 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.

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 1,600 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel since the start of the fighting on Monday evening, according to the IDF’s tally.

IDF soldier, Jewish paramedic seriously injured as riots renew in Lod, Jaffa

As a nightly curfew at 8 p.m. in Lod nears, clashes are already reported in several Jewish-Arab cities, with rioters seriously injuring at least two Jewish men in separate incidents.

The 19-year-old soldier is in serious condition after being beaten in Jaffa, and is suffering a skull fracture and a cerebral hemorrhage, Ichilov hospital says after the soldier drove there by himself.

In Lod, a Jewish paramedic has reportedly been shot and is in serious condition, reports say.

IDF bombs major Hamas rocket production center

The IDF says it has bombed a central Hamas rocket production site and a Hamas navy military post in the central Gaza Strip.

In addition, a number of other weapons production sites have been struck throughout the day, the military says.

Far-right rioters filmed assaulting journalist in south Tel Aviv

Footage from southern Tel Aviv shows journalists from the Kan public broadcaster being attacked and beaten by several far-right rioters.

Reporter Yoav Zehavi has been beaten and has been taken to the hospital, while cameraman Roland Novitzky had his camera taken away.

The attacker has reportedly been arrested.

China says no Security Council meeting on Mideast conflict due to US objection

A UN Security Council meeting planned for tomorrow to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian violence will not go ahead, a spokesman for China says.

“There will be no SC meeting tomorrow,” the spokesman says, as diplomats maintain that the United States opposed it.

IDF says some 1,750 rockets launched from Gaza since Monday

The IDF says approximately 1,750 projectiles have been launched thus far by Gaza terrorists since the fighting began Monday, of which 300 failed to clear the border and landed inside the enclave.

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

More rocket alarms sound in Israeli communities near Gaza

Incoming rocket sirens blare in Ofakim and other Gaza-adjacent communities, as the almost non-stop rocket fire over the past few hours continues.

Several Iron Dome interceptions are observed by residents in the area.

There are no reports of recent casualties.

Bennett rules out ‘change gov’t’ due to Gaza unrest, renews talks with Likud

Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett has taken “off the table” the option of forming a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, due to the ongoing military conflict with Gaza terrorists, a political source says.

Bennett has renewed his negotiations with Likud due to the emergency situation, and teams from both parties met today, the source says on condition of anonymity.

That is a major U-turn for Bennett, who was reportedly already set to announce the formation of a so-called “change government” headed by himself and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid, when the round of conflict began.

The potential government that had been negotiated included the Islamist Ra’am party, a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is affiliated with the Hamas terror group against which Israel is currently fighting. Ra’am has suspended coalition talks until the hostilities end.

Bennett explains in closed conversations that a government with Ra’am would not be able to deal with the current situation. He says the security situation is the top priority and that he is working to form a “broad national unity government.”

He is thus canceling all the agreements with Lapid and saying that “when there is a wave of pogroms by Arabs across the country, and when IDF forces must be involved, this is a reality-changing event.

“The change government being formed won’t be able to deal with it,” he says, according to the source.

Biden says he doesn’t think Israel overreacted in its Gaza response

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

US President Joe Biden says he does not think Israel has overreacted in its response to rocket fire from Gaza.

“One of the things I’ve seen thus far is that there has not been a significant overreaction [by Israel],” he says, when asked at a press conference.

“The question is how they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers, but I expect that I’ll be having some more discussions,” Biden says, adding that various offices in his administration have been in frequent contact with not just the Israelis, but also the Egyptians, the Saudis and others on the matter.

He describes his phone call yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “brief.”

Near-constant rocket fire from Gaza persists as sirens heard in Ofakim

Incoming rocket sirens blare in Ofakim and surrounding towns, as the almost non-stop rocket fire over the past few hours continues.

At least one Iron Dome interception is observed by residents in the area.

There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Bennett said to reach deal to back direct PM elections along with Ra’am

Yamina party leader has reportedly reached a deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas for both Yamina and Ra’am to support the premier’s initiative to hold direct elections for prime minister.

Channel 12 news reports that as part of the deal, Bennett and his No. 2 Ayelet Shaked will get reserved spots on the electoral slate of Netanyahu’s Likud party and will be made defense and foreign ministers.

Hamas publishes footage of long-range rocket that allegedly hit near Eilat

The Hamas terror group in Gaza releases a video of the “Ayyash 250” long-range rocket, named after the terror chief Yahya Ayyash, which the group claims to have fired toward the Ramon airport near Eilat.

Earlier today, the rocket fell in the Hevel Eilot region, near Israel’s southernmost city, and appears to be the longest-range projectile ever fired by the Palestinian terror group into Israel.

The rocket traveled some 250 kilometers (150 miles) into Israeli territory.

Police officer shot, injured in Ramle as riots intensify

A police officer has reportedly been injured from gunfire by Arab rioters at a junction in Ramle, as violence intensifies in several Jewish-Arab cities.

Earlier, a 19-year-old soldier was seriously injured in Jaffa after being beaten, and two men were wounded in Lod. Additionally, far-right rioters attacked journalists from the Kan public broadcaster in south Tel Aviv.

Police rescue Jewish family attacked after entering Umm al-Fahm by accident

A Jewish family has been attacked by Arab rioters in Umm al-Fahm after entering the Arab city by accident, Hebrew media reports, as riots continue in many cities around the country.

Police rescued the couple and three young children, along with the help of local civilians.

They all sustained mild injuries.

Rocket sirens blare in Ashkelon, Ashdod; several interceptions

Rocket alarms sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod, and surrounding towns as Gaza terrorists send more barrages of rockets toward southern Israel.

Several Iron Dome interceptions are observed by residents in the area.

There are no reports of recent casualties.

Lapid says Bennett ‘wrong’ to bolt, vows to keep trying to form government

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid vows to continue his efforts to form a government, despite losing the crucial support of Naftali Bennett’s Yamina — which means he no longer has a plausible path to a government.

“Bennett is wrong, I will continue turning over every stone to form a government,” Lapid says in a press conference. “Change isn’t done when it’s convenient, it’s done when the path is the right one. I will keep working to form a government, and if needed, we will go to more elections and win.”

New Hope won’t join Netanyahu government, opposes direct PM elections — reports

Sources in Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party are quoted by several media outlets as saying they will not join a government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, appearing to continue to deny the incumbent premier an obvious path to a government.

New Hope sources also say they will not join Yamina chief Naftali Bennett in backing Netanyahu’s push for direct elections for prime minister.

Lebanese media: 3 rockets at northern Israel

Lebanese media reports that three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon toward northern Israel.

This is not immediately confirmed by Israeli authorities.

There are no reports of injuries or damage in the area.

IDF: 3 rockets from Lebanon hit sea off northern Israel coast

The Israel Defense Forces confirms that three rockets were fired from Lebanon toward the sea off Israel’s northern coast.

The rockets caused no damage or injury as they hit the water, according to the military.

As they were heading toward an unpopulated area, no sirens or air defenses were triggered.

The IDF does not comment on who is behind the rocket attack. A Lebanese military source tells the country’s MTV news channel that a fringe Palestinian group appears to have launched the rockets, not the Hezbollah terrorist militia.

US lifts indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces it is lifting mask-wearing requirements for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,” says CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

Rockets from Lebanon reportedly launched from Palestinian refugee camp

A spokesperson for the Lebanese security services tells Al-Jazeera that three rockets were fired towards Israel from the area of a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon.

“The source of the rockets fired at Israel is unclear, and the investigation continues. The rockets that were fired towards northern Israel came from the vicinity of the Rashidieh refugee camp,” al-Jazeera reports, citing the Lebanese security services.

Synagogue said torched in Lod amid riots

A synagogue has reportedly been torched in Lod, as police again fail to contain raging riots in the central Israel city.

More people — Jews, Arabs and police officers — have been injured in widespread clashes in the city and other Jewish-Arab cities.

Dozens of rockets pound Ashdod, Ashkelon

A heavy barrage of dozens of rockets targets the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, with many intercepted by the Iron Dome air-defense system.

There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Hamas says 103 Palestinians killed since Monday

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry raises its death toll to 103 Palestinians, 27 of whom were children.

The rise in death toll comes after a number of reports in local Palestinian media of Israeli airstrikes targeting residential areas. According to initial reports, entire families were killed in some cases.

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

Heavy barrage fired at Ben Gurion Airport, Shfela region

A heavy barrage of rockets is launched by Gaza terrorists toward Ben Gurion Airport and the Shfela region.

Rockets continue to be launched toward Ashdod and Ashkelon as well, with one rocket landing in the latter city, but no immediate further details.

Blinken says US ‘deeply concerned’ by violence inside Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voices alarm at the rise of Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel, which comes alongside fighting with the Palestinian terror group, Hamas.

“We’re also deeply concerned about the violence in the streets of Israel,” Blinken tells reporters, saying that Jews and Muslims marking holidays this week “deserve to take part in celebrations without fear of violence.”

Residents of a town near Gaza briefly told to stay home due to security event

Residents of a town in the Hof Ashkelon region along the northern Gaza border were ordered to lock their doors and remain near bomb shelters, due to a suspected security situation unfolding.

A short while later, the event is deemed a false alarm, and citizens of the area are permitted to leave their homes again.

Rocket lands in Ramle, causing fire but no injuries

Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle caused by a rocket from Gaza that landed in the city, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)
Paramedics observe a fire in Ramle caused by a rocket from Gaza that landed in the city, May 13, 2021. (United Hatzalah)

A fire erupted in an open area near the central city of Ramle amid a rocket barrage from Gaza.

Police and the fire and rescue services say the massive blaze was not caused by a rocket landing there, rejecting preliminary reports claiming one had.

There are no reports of injuries in the area.

US opposes Friday Security Council meet on Gaza to ‘give time for diplomacy’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates in a virtual bilateral meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. (Leah Millis/Pool via AP)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates in a virtual bilateral meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, April 27, 2021. (Leah Millis/Pool via AP)

NEW YORK — Asked to respond to reports that the US blocked the UN Security Council from holding an open session Friday on the escalation in Israel and Gaza, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington would prefer it not be held so soon.

“We are open to and supportive of an open discussion at the UN. I think we’re looking at early next week,” Blinken says at a press conference.

“This I hope will give some time for diplomacy to have some effect and to see if we get a real deescalation and can then pursue this in the United Nations in that context,” he adds, noting that US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr is currently en route to Israel for talks with both sides aimed at bringing about a cease fire.

Security Council diplomats tell The Times of Israel that the member states are hoping to hold the meeting on Tuesday after the US rebuffed their efforts to meet on Friday.

The council has already met twice this week behind closed doors, during which the US blocked an effort by the 14 other member states to publish a joint statement on the matter that would have criticized both Israel and Hamas for the ongoing escalation.

Senior Israeli defense official in Washington for talks with US counterpart Colin Kahl

Colin Kahl, delivers a speech during a panel discussion as part of the US-Islamic World Forum in the Qatari capital Doha on June 1, 2015. (AFP via Getty Images)
Colin Kahl, delivers a speech during a panel discussion as part of the US-Islamic World Forum in the Qatari capital Doha on June 1, 2015. (AFP via Getty Images)

Defense Ministry Director of Policy and Political Military Affairs Zohar Palti met with US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl in Washington, the Pentagon says.

The two discussed the US-Israel defense partnership and opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation, according to a US readout.

They also discussed the recent rocket attacks from Gaza. Kahl “unequivocally condemned the terrorist attacks directed at Israeli civilians and underscored US support for Israel’s right to self-defense,” the readout says.

Kahl also underscored the US “enduring support for Israel’s security and Qualitative Military Edge, and conveyed the Administration’s support for a restoration of calm and protection of civilians,” it adds.

Hamas chief speaks with UN envoy amid efforts to achieve ceasefire

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks with United Nations envoy Tor Wennesland, official Hamas media reports.

The United Nations, Egypt, Qatar, and other countries have reportedly been pushing for a ceasefire in the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

The two discussed “the latest political developments,” Hamas media says.

Sirens once again sound in Beersheba and Gaza periphery

Sirens have once again sounded in communities in the Gaza periphery, as well as in Beersheba, signaling incoming rockets.

87-year-old woman dies after falling, hitting her head on way to shelter

An 87-year-old woman has died after falling and hitting her head while running to a shelter in Shtulim, near Ashdod, reports indicate.

IDF strikes Gaza anti-tank cells, Hamas cyber unit

The Israel Defense Forces says it has attacked seven Hamas anti-tank cells in Gaza throughout the day. Two of them were struck in the last hour, the military says.

The army also says it struck two buildings during the day belonging to the Hamas cyber unit.

The military says the buildings in Gaza City were identified in a joint operation of the Computer Service Directorate and the Military Intelligence Directorate.

Rocket explodes between Beersheba buildings

During the last barrage toward the southern city of Beersheba, a rocket explodes between buildings, causing damage.

Medics at the scene are treating two suffering from anxiety; no physical injuries are reported.

IDF says air and ground forces currently attacking Gaza

The IDF announces that air and ground forces are currently attacking the Gaza Strip.

The army gives no further information, saying details will follow.

Earlier today, a senior diplomatic source quoted by Channel 12 news says Israel is considering a ground operation in Gaza in response to the continued heavy rocket fire from the Strip.

The unnamed source says the option has been discussed by the security cabinet at the military’s request and that all options are being weighed.

According to the network, over 200 rockets have been launched today by Palestinian terrorists, and a total of more than 1,600 have been launched since the start of the confrontation on Monday.

8-year-old Jewish girl wounded in head when car stoned near Beersheba

An 8-year-old Jewish girl was wounded after being hit in the head by a rock thrown at a car she was traveling in near Beersheba, medics say.

The girl sustained moderate injuries and was taken to Soroka Hospital for further treatment.

The stone-throwers are believed to have been from a nearby Bedouin village.

Israel pummels northern Gaza with airstrikes, artillery and tank fire

The Israel Defense Forces launches a massive bombardment on targets in the northern Gaza Strip, using planes, helicopters and other aircraft, as well as tanks and various artillery batteries.

This is not yet a ground invasion, but appears to be the largest round of strikes conducted by Israel so far in this round of fighting.

Netanyahu: We are exacting a heavy price on Hamas, operation will continue

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is exacting a heavy toll on Hamas in the Gaza Strip and will continue with the operation for as long as needed.

“I said that we would exact a very heavy price on Hamas, we are doing this and we will continue with great force. The final word has not been said and this operation will continue for as long as needed,” Netanyahu says in a statement from his office.

The prime minister says Israel is dealing with a two-pronged struggle, the fighting in Gaza and the Jewish-Arab conflicts inside the country. He vows to restore law and order, and calls on Israelis not to take the law into their own hands.

Hamas: Israel hits Gaza with 150 airstrikes in minutes

As Israel conducts a widespread bombardment across the northern Gaza Strip, Hamas media claims that more than 150 Israeli airstrikes took place over the past few minutes.

According to the terror group’s health ministry, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes is now 109. Twenty-eight of them were children, it said.

“The criminal enemy carries out show raids aimed at sabotage and destruction. Their motivation is their inability to confront the resistance. It will not affect the capabilities of the resistance at all, God willing,” a Hamas spokesperson says.

IDF order all Israelis living within 4km of Gaza border into bomb shelters

The Israel Defense Forces orders everyone within 4 kilometers (2.5) miles to enter a bomb shelter and remain there until further notice.

This appears to be a precautionary measure as the military anticipates a significant retaliation from terror groups in the Strip as Israeli forces conduct a massive barrage on targets in northern Gaza.

Rocket sirens wail in southern Israel, Ashdod and Beersheba

Rocket warning sirens are going off in southern Israel and in the cities of Ashdod and Beersheba.

The sirens sound as Israel launches a major bombardment of Gaza.

Hamas says it fired 50 rockets.

Rockets are fired towards Israel from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

US evacuates 120 Pentagon personnel out of Israel

WASHINGTON – The US Defense Department has flown about 120 personnel out of Israel as a precaution in light of the ongoing violence there.

That’s according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, who says the American personnel departed on Thursday on a US Air Force C-17 transport plane.

They had been in Israel to plan for a future bilateral exercise. Kirby said the conference was scheduled to end this week but the exit was accelerated by a few days.

There has been a dangerous escalation this week between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas militant rulers. Hamas sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel on Thursday as Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes and shells and called up 9,000 more reservists who could be used to stage a ground invasion.

Dozens of rockets intercepted by Iron Dome, building hit in Ashdod

The Iron Dome system intercepts dozens of rockets launched by Hamas at Ashdod, Beersheba and communities in the south.

Video shows most of the rockets exploding in midair. Hamas said it fired 50 rockets.

Channel 12 says one building was hit in Ashdod, causing a local power failure.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

US now backs Security Council meet on Sunday to ‘give time for diplomacy’

After blocking a Security Council meeting for Friday, the US now backs one for Sunday to ‘give time for diplomacy’

“The UN Security Council will meet to discuss the situation in Israel and Gaza on Sunday,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield tweets.

Her announcement comes hours after her office blocked an effort to hold the week’s third emergency session on Friday, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying it was to “give time for diplomacy” efforts to play out.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr is currently en route to Israel for talks with both sides aimed at bringing about a ceasefire.

“The US will continue to actively engage in diplomacy at the highest levels to try to de-escalate tensions,” Thomas-Greenfield says.

Security Council diplomats tell The Times of Israel that the US had been pushing to hold the meeting only on Tuesday after rejecting the idea of a Friday session.

However, after pressure from Norway, China and Tunisia who requested the meeting along with several other missions, Washington agreed to hold an open session on Sunday.

The emergency meetings on Monday and Wednesday earlier this week had been held behind closed doors. During those sessions, the US blocked an effort by all 14 other member states to issue a joint statement on the violence that condemned both sides.

IDF appears to mislead foreign media on ‘Gaza ground invasion’

The Israel Defense Forces appears to have misled foreign news outlets into believing that the military had launched a ground invasion into the Strip during its large-scale bombardment of northern Gaza.

In its initial English-language statement, the military ambiguously phrased where its ground forces were located during the attack, saying “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.”

When asked to clarify the matter, if there had been a ground invasion, the IDF’s English-language spokesperson Jonathan Conricus responded: “Yes. As it’s written in the statement. Indeed, ground forces are attacking in Gaza. That is that they are in the Strip.”

While this was technically correct, as some IDF troops were positioned in an enclave technically within Gaza territory — but for all intents and purposes under Israeli control — such a placement does not reasonably represent a “ground invasion.”

This led to widespread, false reports throughout the world, including in The New York Times and Washington Post, that Israel had launched a ground campaign in the Gaza Strip, which it had not done as of 2 a.m. Friday.

Progressive Democrats tear into Israel from US House floor

Rep. Ayana Pressley speaks from the House Floor on May 13, 2021. (Screen capture/US House of Representatives)
Rep. Ayana Pressley speaks from the House Floor on May 13, 2021. (Screen capture/US House of Representatives)

In brief speeches from the House floor, a group of progressive Democrats lambasts Israel for its response to Gaza rocket fire and over its treatment of Palestinians more broadly.

Fighting back tears throughout her remarks, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, says, “You’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all” based on recent statements from the Biden administration regarding the Gaza violence.

“We’re currently blocking the UN from calling for a ceasefire,” says Rep. Ilhan Omar, panning the Democratic administration and blasting Israel for its airstrikes in Gaza, which are in response to Hamas rocket fire.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez criticizes Israel more broadly for its actions in the West Bank and slams the government for banning Tlaib and Omar into the country in 2019 due to their support for BDS.

“We are anti-war, we are anti-occupation, and we are anti-apartheid,” says Rep. Cori Bush, adding that she stands in solidarity with Palestinians just as Palestinian activists stood with Black Americans in Ferguson Missouri.

Rep. Ayana Pressley calls for “equal outrage” over “state violence” be it in the US or Israel, panning Jerusalem for its crackdown on Palestinian protesters.

Reps. Marc Pocan and Betty McCollum speak in favor of legislation that they’ve co-sponsored, which seeks to prohibit US aid to Israel from being used in certain Israeli actions in the West Bank and would require the White House to compose an annual report detailing how much aid goes to such actions.

As the lawmakers spoke, staffers placed pictures of Palestinian children injured in Israeli airstrikes behind them.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who does not back the legislation gives a more moderate, but emotional speech, saying she is “horrified and saddened by the ongoing escalation of the painful cycle of violence.”

“Israel has the right to defend herself, but in the end, there are no winners,” she says, urging the Biden administration to broker a ceasefire.

Police arrest dozens in riots, clashes across the country

Riots and clashes between Jews and Arabs continue into the early hours of Friday morning, with police making dozens of arrests.

In Musmus, near Haifa, police arrested 11 residents for throwing stones, setting tires on fire and damaging traffic lights. Police said they used “riot dispersal means,” but did not elaborate.

In Tel Aviv, police arrested two men who were carrying knives with the intent to cause a disturbance, police said.

In Beersheba, 13 people were arrested, police said. Law enforcement said they used social media to identify people planning an illegal gathering. Those arrested were carrying an assortment of homemade weapons.

US issues travel advisory for Israel, West Bank and Gaza

The US State Department raises its travel advisory for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas and ethnic riots in Israel.

The advisory had been lowered to a “Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution” as coronavirus cases have petered out, but has now been raised to a “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel.”

“Rockets continue to impact the Gaza periphery and areas across southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem,” the State Department notes.

“There has been a marked increase in protests and violence throughout Israel. Recent incidents of violence include vandalism, rock-throwing, burning of vehicles and attacks on passersby. Protests and violence may continue to occur, some with little or no warning,” the statement adds, in reference to ethnically motivated mob violence targeting Arab and Jewish bystanders across the country in recent days.

Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. Photo by Roni Ofer/Flash90
  • “The Travel Advisory for Israel and the West Bank and Gaza currently recommends US citizens:
  • Reconsider travel to Israel due to armed conflict and civil unrest, and exercise increased caution to Israel due to COVID-19, travel restrictions, and quarantine procedures instituted by the Government of Israel.
  • Do not travel to the West Bank due to COVID-19, travel restrictions and quarantine procedures instituted by the Palestinian Authority.
  • Do not travel to Gaza due to COVID-19, terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict.”

60-year-old man critically injured in Ashkelon rocket strike

A 60-year-old man is critically injured after being hit by shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza, medics say.

Magen David Adom medics treated the man and transferred him to Barzilai Hospital and are searching the area for any further casualties.

Gaza terror groups are sporadically firing rockets at Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and communities in the south, as the IDF launches a major bombardment of northern Gaza.

Army clarifies: Currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces clarifies that there are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza Strip.

An English-language statement and comments from a spokesperson, saying that there were ground forces in Gaza, led to multiple foreign news organizations reporting that Israel had launched a ground offensive.

“Clarification: There are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza Strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip,” the army now says.

Moderate Democrats offer ‘unwavering’ support for Israel from House floor

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz speaks from the House Floor on May 13, 2021. (Screen capture/US House of Representatives)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz speaks from the House Floor on May 13, 2021. (Screen capture/US House of Representatives)

In brief speeches from the House floor, a group of more moderate Democrats are expressing their solidarity as it responds to Hamas rocket fire from Gaza.

The lawmakers spoke in front of a map of Israel full of pinpoints representing where rockets had targeted in recent days.

Rep. Debbi Wasserman Schultz offers “unwavering and steadfast support for the state of Israel” and says Hamas is “single-handedly responsible” for the ongoing violence. She calls for a two-state solution and laments the loss of life to both sides.

“Even though we may not always agree about Israel’s policies, we should be very clear that nothing, nothing justifies a terrorist organization firing rockets at our allies,” says Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

Rep. Brad Schneider insists “Israel is rightfully responding to [Hamas] attacks, defending its citizens and protecting its borders.” He notes the large discrepancy in casualties between the sides, but argues that Israel goes out of its way to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas does the opposite.

“Please don’t be fooled by false choices. Israel and Hamas? If I am asked [to choose] between a terrorist organization and our democratic ally, I will stand with Israel every day of the week,” says Rep. Ted Deutch.

Rep. Kathy Manning notes having experienced what it’s like to be in Sderot when rocket sires have gone off and says she attended an IDF briefing earlier today where she was told that Israel has only been targeting terrorists in its counterstrikes.

“Who would turn a cheek when their mere existence is being questioned,” says Rep. Elaine Luria, who adds that she chooses to stand with Israel ‘as an American Jew.'”

UN secretary-general calls for Gaza ceasefire ‘out of respect for spirit of Eid’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

NEW YORK — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls for Israel and Hamas to hold their fire out of respect for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr being celebrated today.

“Out of respect for the spirit of Eid, I appeal for an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel. Too many innocent civilians have already died. This conflict can only increase radicalization and extremism in the whole region,” he tweets.

Sanders pushes Biden to pick envoy to Israel who can also engage with Palestinians

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 25, 2021, examining wages at large profitable corporations. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 25, 2021, examining wages at large profitable corporations. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

US Senator Bernie Sanders weighs in on the growing debate over who will be the next US ambassador to Israel.

“As President Biden considers his choice for Ambassador to Israel, I encourage him to choose someone who can represent our country in an even-handed way, and who can engage not only with Israel but with the Palestinians as well,” Sanders tweets.

“The role of the United States should be to bring the peoples of the region together, not simply to support a right-wing Israeli government.”

Sources familiar with the matter have told The Times of Israel that former State Department official Thomas Nides and former Florida congressman Robert Wexler are the top candidates for the job. Biden is expected to name his nominee in the coming weeks.

More progressive voices like Sanders have been critical of the idea that Nides could be the nominee, saying he does not have as much familiarity with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the parties involved.

A group of Democrats, led by Rep. Ted Deutch, have appealed to Biden to back Wexler.

Police chief said to blame extreme-right MK Ben Gvir for fanning violence

Police chief Kobi Shabtai tells Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that extreme-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir is responsible for ongoing Arab-Jewish riots, Channel 12 reports.

During a morning briefing, Shabtai says that every time police appear to be getting an area under control, Ben Gvir, the Kahanist member of the Religious Zionist party, shows up to fan the flames.

“The person who is responsible for this Intifada is Itamar Ben Gvir. It started with the Lehava protest at Damascus Gate,” Shabtai says. “It continued with provocations in Sheikh Jarrah, and now he is moving around with Lehava activists.”

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (front), head of the Jewish extremist Otzma Yehudit party, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on May 6, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Lehava opposes intermarriage and assimilation of Jews and non-Jews, as well as LGBT rights, and tries to stifle any public activity by non-Jews in Israel, including coexistence events. Lawmakers across the political spectrum have tried to designate it as a terrorist group.

“Yesterday police managed to calm things in Acre, when the activists showed up in a bus and caused an uproar. The police don’t have the tools to deal with it.”

Ben Gvir responds to the report, saying that Shabtai should be fired, accusing the police of failing to use enough force to subdue Arab protests.

Two more men wounded in Ashklelon rocket attacks

Medics say another two men have been treated for injuries sustained in a rocket attack on Ashkelon.

A man in his 50s was in a serious condition with a shrapnel wound to the stomach, and a 90-year-old man was lightly hurt with a head injury, the Magen David Adom says.

Earlier they reported a 60-year old man was critically wounded in the attack

White House pushing ceasefire but recognizes sides not there yet — source

US President Joe Biden arrives to speak about the economy, in the East Room of the White House on May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden arrives to speak about the economy, in the East Room of the White House on May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

While the Biden administration has been pushing for de-escalation in the Gaza-Israel violence, it recognizes that a ceasefire in the next couple of days is unlikely, a source familiar with the matter tells The Times of Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke yesterday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but there is a recognition on the secretary’s part that Ramallah’s influence is limited at this point, given that the rocket fire is coming from political rival Hamas in Gaza, the source says.

The Biden administration has been in touch with Qatar hoping the Gulf kingdom that provides significant humanitarian aid to Gaza would be able to pressure the terror group into agreeing to a ceasefire, the source adds.

Rockets sirens sound in communities near Gaza

Rocket warning sirens are sounding in Israeli communities near the border with Gaza.

The early morning warnings sound after a night of rocket fire from Gaza that wounded three people with a hit in Ashkelon.

IDF shoots down Hamas drone

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

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

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

 

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