JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli military is bolstering its forces and calling up to 5,000 reservists to its border with the Gaza Strip as the country continues to face hundreds of rockets fired from the coastal enclave.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said more than 600 rockets have been fired at Israel since Monday evening, including a rare rocket attack on Jerusalem. Israel is responding by pounding terror targets in the Gaza Strip. The rocket attacks have killed two Israelis. At least 28 Palestinians – including nine children – have been killed in the fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Hamas terror group of crossing a “red line” with its attack on Jerusalem.
“We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, on our capital, on our citizens, and on our soldiers. Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price,” he said.
An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip is seen early Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
The IDF said army chief Aviv Kohavi ordered the military to continue its strikes on rocket production facilities in Gaza and said: “all headquarters should prepare for a wider conflict, which has no time limit.”
Several buildings in the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon suffered direct hits from rockets.
Rocket impact to a building in Ashdod, Israel. Photo Credit: IDF
In the last few mimutes, several rocket barrage on the city of Ashkelon.
Hunders of Rocket launced from Gaza towards Israel since yesterday pic.twitter.com/Zfy0eINshG
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) May 11, 2021
Hamas said one of the early morning attacks on Ashkelon was in response to an Israeli strike on a civilian apartment block near Gaza city. The terror group threatened to “turn Ashkelon into hell” if the IDF continues to target civilians.
The aftermath of Israeli strikes on Gaza’s al-Shati area, located north of Gaza city. https://t.co/Uwe25TdWWG
— Will Porter (@TheWillPorter) May 11, 2021
So far, at least two Israelis have been killed and 31 others have been hurt during the rocket attacks.
Meanwhile, violent unrest continued for another night in Israel. An Arab Israeli man was shot and killed and two others wounded during a demonstration early Tuesday in the central city of Lod.
Reports say the victims were part of a mob hurling fire-bombs and stones at Jewish homes. Lod is a mixed Arab-Jewish city.
Police have arrested a suspect in connection to the shooting. Ha’aretz quoted witnesses who said the men were shot by a Jewish resident of the city.
“The Arab mob tried to storm our neighborhood,” Lod resident Meir Liush told Ha’aretz. “It took police a long time to arrive. Residents were forced to shoot in the air, but it did not deter them until they shot at them and wounded two of them.”
The violent protest was one of several large demonstrations in Arab communities against what they deem to be Israeli aggression against the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount compound.
Clashes between Israeli Police and Palestinians rioting at the holy site wounded hundreds on Monday.
Netanyahu warned that Israel’s conflict with Gaza “could continue for some time.”
The Biden administration on Monday strongly condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas, saying “they need to stop immediately.”
“All sides need to de-escalate, reduce tensions, take practical steps to calm things down,” Secretary of State Antony Bliken said.
The IDF spokesman told Army Radio on Tuesday that the military has not ruled out a ground operation.
“We have a foot on the gas [pedal],” IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman said.