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Israel: 1000 rockets fired as ‘full-scale war’ looms

 

Militants in Gaza have fired more than 1000 rockets into Israel, Hamas says.

The armed branch of Hamas - al-Qassam Brigades - said it was "in the process of firing 110 rockets towards the city of Tel Aviv", and 100 rockets towards the town of Beersheva.

The Israel Defense Forces says more than 1,050 rockets have been launched at the country since Monday.

It said the attacks were a "reprisal for the restarting of strikes against civilian homes".

It comes after at least three people were killed when a building in Gaza collapsed, raising the number of people killed in the Palestinian territory to 35.

At least 10 Palestinian children are among the dead.

Three people have been killed in Tel Aviv and the city of Ashkelon due to the missile strikes. At least 100 people are wounded.

The attacks have strained Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, with videos showing rockets being shot out of the air.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has declared a state of emergency in the city of Lod, located southeast of Tel Aviv.

Israel has also mobilised 5000 reserve troops.

The United Nations says 1000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem between May 7 and 10.

It's the worst fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in seven years.

Hamas says the missile attacks are a direct response Israeli police raids on the Aqsa Mosque compound.

US President Joe Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US had "unwavering support for Israel's security" in a phone call with his counterpart.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a de-escalation of violence in a phone call with Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

 

 

EARLIER: The Middle East is bracing for a "full-scale war" between Israel and Palestine after a disturbing rise in violence in recent days.

Overnight Palestinian militants Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at Israel's economic hub Tel Aviv in retaliation for an Israeli strike that destroyed a tower block in Gaza, as the foes traded their heaviest fire for several years.

A map shared by the Israel Defence Forces showing red dots marking where emergency sirens have rung out in Israel over 30 minutes this morning.

 

 

A photo posted by Israel Defense Force. Picture: Twitter
A photo posted by Israel Defense Force. Picture: Twitter

 

Meanwhile, the United Nations' humanitarian affairs office says Israeli forces have injured 1000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem between May 7 and May 10.

The agency said "735 of these (injuries were) due to rubber bullets".

The sharp escalation, triggered by violence in Jerusalem, has killed at least 30 Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip and three Israelis, and wounded hundreds more.

"This is just the beginning" of Israel's strikes, Defence Minister Benny Gantz warned.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh vowed that "if Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it."

The UN envoy for Middle East Peace, Tor Wennesland, warned that Israel and Hamas were heading towards "full scale war".

In the crowded, Israeli-blockaded enclave of Gaza, 10 children and one woman were among those killed since Monday night.

A further 203 people were reported wounded from the ongoing Israeli air strikes, many rescued from the smouldering ruins of buildings.

In Israel, sirens sounded as Hamas rockets rained down, and some of those unable to make it to underground shelters took cover under bridges.

"It was scary," said Haim Roy Ben Shlomo, 38, resident of Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, adding he had heard "several loud shots, or booms, above our heads."

An Israeli woman was killed as rockets hit Rishon Letzion on the coastal city's southern edge, while in nearby Holon, AFP footage showed a burnt-out bus as rescue workers cleaned up debris.

The rocket fire forced Israel to suspend flights at its main airport of Ben Gurion, near Tel Aviv.

In Gaza, people sifted through debris after an Israeli air strike destroyed a 12-storey building.

Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, said the tower block had been a residential building. AFP reporters said it also houses offices of several Hamas officials.

Hamas threatened to turn the nearby Israeli city of Ashkelon into "hell", and rockets fired by militants in Gaza killed two women there.

At one stage the group claimed to have fired more than 100 rockets in under five minutes to overwhelm air defences.

At least 100 Israelis were injured in Tuesday's escalation.

Israel's army said more than 600 rockets had been fired since Monday from Gaza towards Israel mainly by Hamas, which rules Gaza, and the Islamic Jihad group.

Many landed inside Gaza or were taken out by Israel's Iron Dome air defence system.

Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Israel estimated it had killed 20 Islamist militants in Gaza, warning that "our expectation is the fighting will intensify".

Asked about unconfirmed reports that Hamas was seeking a ceasefire, Conricus said: "I don't think my commanders are aware, or particularly interested." A Palestinian was also killed and another wounded Tuesday by Israeli army gunfire in the north of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian security source told AFP.

The Israeli army reported an attempted drive-by shooting, saying "two assailants were neutralised at the scene".

The United States on Tuesday urged both sides to avoid "deeply lamentable" civilian deaths.

"Israel does have a right to defend itself," State Department spokesman Ned Price said, adding: "we don't want to see provocations."

Weeks of tensions boiled over when Israeli riot police clashed with crowds of Palestinians at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Nightly clashes since then at the compound, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews, and elsewhere in east Jerusalem have left at least 700 Palestinians injured.

Hamas had warned Israel on Monday to withdraw all its forces from the mosque compound and the Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah, where looming evictions of Palestinian families have fuelled protests.

Sirens wailed across Jerusalem just after the deadline as people in the city, including lawmakers in the Knesset legislature, fled to bunkers for the first time since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Hamas' Qassam Brigades warned Israel: "if you respond we will respond, and if you escalate we will escalate".

Diplomatic sources told AFP that Egypt and Qatar, who have mediated past Israeli-Hamas conflicts, were attempting to calm tensions.

But Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told an emergency Arab League meeting that although Cairo had "extensively reached out" to Israel and other countries, "we did not get the necessary response".

The UN Security Council was set to discuss the violence at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

Large protests were held in solidarity with Palestinians around the world, including in London, as well as in Muslim-majority countries including Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey.

In Jordan, protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy, burning Israeli flags and chanting "Shame, shame the embassy is still there" and "Death to Israel!" Palestinians scuffled again with Israeli officers in riot gear on Tuesday evening, although less intensely than on previous nights.

Palestinian man Siraj, 24, said he had suffered a spleen injury from a rubber bullet fired by the police.

"They shot everyone, young and old people," he said.

Amnesty International has accused Israel of using "abusive and wanton force against largely peaceful Palestinian protesters".

Originally published as 'Under attack': 'Full-scale war' warning



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