Hamas increases rocket fire as Israel rain down further air strikes
At least 26 Palestinians have been killed in the latest spell of violence.
Cross-border fighting between Israel and militant groups in Gaza has intensified, with Israeli forces carrying out further airstrikes on Palestine and Hamas firing barrages of rockets at cities in Israel.
Per the New York Times, health officials in Gaza have reported at least 26 Palestinian deaths and 122 more wounded in at least 130 Israeli strikes on Monday and Tuesday. Two people were killed in strikes on the seaside city of Ashkelon in Israel on Tuesday, with a further 56 receiving hospital treatment according to medical officials.
Militant group Hamas has increased it's attacks on Israel, with militants firing more than 300 rockets towards the country since Monday night. A spokesman for Hamas said that 137 rockets had been launched at Ashkelon and Ashdod within five minutes.
Whilst this number is unverified, the New York Times reports that the fire was unusually intense and may have been too much for Israel's antimissile defenses. Residents of Ashkelon were told to remain in shelters as sirens warned of incoming rockets.
— Karima Abdedaïm (@AbdedaimKarima) May 11, 2021
In response Israel has said that it has hit 150 targets in Gaza, including a residential apartment building where a Hamas battalion commander lived.
The renewed violence between the two territories grew out of localised violence in Jerusalem. Hamas has said that it was acting to defend Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli "aggression and terrorism" after the site saw clashed between Israeli police and Palestinians on Monday, per the BBC.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had "crossed a red line" by firing rockets towards Jerusalem for the first time in years.
After the strikes on the apartment building, the military wing of Hamas issues a statement saying that if Israel kept hitting civilian houses "we will turn Ashkelon into hell."
The scenes on Monday and Tuesday have been the worst violence in Jerusalem since 2017.