Death toll continues to rise in Gaza as the increasing number of air strikes by Israel leaves a trail of destruction in the blockaded Palestinian territory.
The death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of their offensive on Gaza has risen to 35.
The Palestinian Health Ministry ministry said early on Wednesday that two more Palestinians were killed in the attacks, which began late Monday.
There were 12 children among those killed, it added.
Earlier, the ministry said the number of wounded had climbed to 220.
At least 5 people have died in Israel since the start of Israeli military action on Gaza. Two of them were killed in the Arab-Jewish town of Lod after a rocket hit a vehicle in the area early on Wednesday.
Israeli warplanes also shelled a building near the headquarters of the Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza. No one was killed or injured in the attack. Meanwhile, the coast of northern Gaza was shelled by Israeli boats.
It was the heaviest offensive between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza, and prompted iternational concern that the situation could spiral out of control.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation.
“The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now,” he wrote.
Gazans homes shook and the sky lit up from Israeli attacks, outgoing rockets and Israeli air defence missiles intercepting them. At least 30 explosion s were heard within a matter of minutes just after dawn on Wednesday.
Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now
— Tor Wennesland (@TWennesland) May 11, 2021
Al Aqsa raid on last day of Ramadan
The violence followed weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with the Israeli police using heavy-handed tactics against Palestinian worshippers in and around Al Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
These escalated in recent days ahead of a court hearing in a case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from East Jerusalem homes in Sheikh Jarrah claimed by Jewish settlers. If the court rules for the settlers, Palestinians living in the neighbourhood would be displaced for a second time, the first when they were moved into Sheikh Jarrah as refugees by Jordan in the 1950s.
Palestinians protesting in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognised by the international community.
Violence flared once again on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, where a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during stone-throwing clashes in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.
Israeli forces resumed their attacks against Palestinians at the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
After performing the dawn prayer, Palestinians gathered at Haram al Sharif, the compound which houses the mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Israeli forces fired rubber bullets to disperse them, an official from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf (religious endowments) told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Unarmed Palestinians pelted stones at the Israeli forces.
Israeli police also targeted Palestinian youths at the Bab al Magharib, one of the gates to the mosque, causing multiple injuries to protesters.
I examine Israel’s brutality against protesters in Sheikh Jarrah, worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque and civilians in Gaza.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) May 12, 2021
Two Israelis killed in rocket attack
Five people in Israel, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Tuesday and early Wednesday while 45 others have been injured.
Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 50-year-old woman was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, and that two women had been killed in rocket strikes on Ashkelon on Tuesday
No details were shared on the identities of the two people killed in Lod, where Jewish and Palestinian Muslims live.
“An entire family has died in Gaza just now, as Israeli fighter jets targeted their apartment.
— Abier Khatib (@abierkhatib) May 12, 2021
Islamic Jihad fires 100 rockets
Palestinian group Islamic Jihad said it had fired 100 rockets toward Israel from Gaza.
“At 5am this morning, we launched a powerful strike against the enemy, with 100 missiles fired in retaliation for attacks on buildings and civilians,” the group said.
Most of Gaza militias’ rockets are homemade, manufactured in makeshift workshops using scrap metal.
A reminder before the news cycle shifts the starting point: it didn't start with the rockets fired out of Gaza, it started with the violent eviction of Palestinians out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. It may be obvious now but watch how quickly amnesia takes hold this week.
— Amro Ali (@_amroali) May 11, 2021
Violence grips mixed Arab-Jewish towns
Violence in mixed Jewish-Arab towns in Israel flared early on Wednesday night amid growing anger within the country’s Arab minority over Israeli air strikes on Gaza and police raids on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Lod, near Tel Aviv, after reports emerged on Tuesday of Jews stoning a car that was being driven by an Arab resident and of Arabs allegedlly setting fire to a synagogue.
“We have lost control of the city and the streets,” Lod Mayor Yair Revivo lamented to Israel’s Channel 12 News. Garbage bins, knocked over and set ablaze, could be seen nearby.
Israel destroyed this residential building w/ no military significance just as it blew up several apartment towers in middle class areas of Gaza in 2014. The purpose of this terror attack was to guarantee escalation and demonstrate total impunity. https://t.co/Ri0W887K03
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) May 11, 2021
Security officials said they had reassigned 16 border police companies to Lod from the occupied West Bank to deal with the violence.
Police arrested dozens of people overnight in Lod as well as in majority-Arab towns in central and northern Israel, including Umm al Fahm along the West Bank border and Jisr al Zarqa along the Mediterranean coast.