Nine killed as Israel strikes Gaza after Hamas rocket barrage

Israel launched lethal air strikes on Gaza Monday in response to a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. 

At least 9 folks — together with three youngsters, and a senior Hamas commander — had been killed in Gaza, native authorities mentioned. It was not instantly clear whether or not they all died in Israeli strikes or from a misfired Hamas rocket.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hamas had crossed a “red line” by directing missiles in the direction of Jerusalem and that the Jewish state would “respond with force”.

“We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens and our soldiers. Those who attack us will pay a heavy price.”

The Israeli military mentioned no less than 45 rockets had been fired from the coastal strip into Israel. Several had been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defence system or fell onto vacant lands and no casualties had been reported.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus mentioned: “We have started, and I repeat started, to attack military targets in Gaza”.

He mentioned Israeli forces had focused “a Hamas military operative,” whereas Hamas sources within the enclave confirmed to AFP that considered one of their commanders, Mohammed Fayyad, had been killed.

Tensions in Jerusalem have flared since Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinian worshippers on the final Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan within the metropolis’s worst disturbances since 2017.

Nightly unrest since then on the Al-Aqsa compound has left lots of of Palestinians wounded, drawn requires de-escalation from the worldwide group and sharp rebukes from throughout the Muslim world.

Sirens, evacuation

Adding to the sense of chaos, an enormous hearth engulfed timber within the compound that homes the mosque, Islam’s third holiest web site, and the Golden Dome on the Temple Mount sacred to Jews.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, earlier Monday warned Israel to withdraw all its forces from the mosque compound and the east Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah, the place looming evictions of Palestinian households have fuelled offended protests.

Sirens wailed throughout Jerusalem simply after the 1500 GMT deadline set by Hamas as folks in Jerusalem, together with lawmakers within the Knesset legislature, evacuated into bunkers, amid warnings over loudspeakers.

A spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing the Qassam Brigades mentioned that “a volley of rockets was fired towards the enemy in occupied Jerusalem in response to its crimes and aggression on the holy city and repression of its residents in Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa mosque”.

“This is a message that the enemy must understand well: if you respond we will respond, and if you escalate we will escalate.”

The United States mentioned it “condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours. This is an unacceptable escalation.”

A home in Beit Nekofa, about 10 kilometres (six miles) west of central Jerusalem, was additionally broken by rocket hearth, AFP TV reported.

The Israeli military mentioned on Twitter that, separate to the rockets, “as a result of an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, an Israeli civilian in a nearby vehicle was lightly injured” within the Gaza border space.

‘Escalating aggression’

Fears of additional chaos within the Old City had quickly eased when Israeli organisers of a march to have fun the Jewish state’s 1967 seize of east Jerusalem cancelled the occasion.

But then got here the Hamas warning, adopted by the rockets, which additionally pressured the evacuation of the Wailing Wall and different websites.

Militants in Gaza have not too long ago additionally deployed incendiary balloons which have sparked dozens of fires in Israeli territory.

In Monday’s Al-Aqsa clashes, as throughout the earlier nights since Friday, Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli officers in riot gear who fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gasoline.

Loud booms and offended screams echoed from the traditional stone partitions of the compound, the place Palestinians constructed makeshift barricades and the bottom was suffering from rocks, stun grenade fragments and different particles.

The Palestinian Red Crescent put the toll from Monday’s clashes at 331 injured, together with greater than 200 who had been hospitalised, 5 of them in essential situation.

The Israeli police reported 9 accidents of their ranks.

The violence since Friday has been fuelled by a long-running bid by Jewish settlers to evict a number of Palestinian households from their close by Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

A Supreme Court listening to on a Palestinian attraction within the case initially set for Monday was pushed again by the justice ministry because of the tensions.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas condemned what he referred to as Israel’s “barbaric aggression”.

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