update (3:56pm): Israel's Channel 12 is reporting that a 5:00 (local time) emergency Security Cabinet meeting has approved increasing strikes against Hamas:
The security cabinet has approved an escalation of military strikes in Gaza, Channel 12 reports. The network says Israel is now expected to strike symbols of Hamas’s rule in Gaza, including, for instance, the terror group’s Treasury building.
The decision by ministers likely means that the conflict will Hamas will last several days yet.
The deadly exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military has escalated significantly, with the UN fearing a "full-scale war"https://t.co/EI6zd7QGw1 pic.twitter.com/hqarEyKYbl— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 12, 2021
It's also being widely reported that riots and chaos are breaking out particularly in cities and neighborhoods with a high Jewish-Arab mixed presence.
Tit-for-tat violence is spreading across parts of Israel as rockets from Gaza continue to be launched, and as Israeli airstrikes begin targeting Hamas ministry buildings.
More horrifying scenes like the below appear to be happening by the hour and into the night...
בת ים, הערב: זה לא ניסיון דריסה, זה פחד של הנהג מההמון הקיצוני. לינץ' בנהג ממוצא ערבי, למה? כי הוא ערבי. תוהו ובוהו. pic.twitter.com/o5Z0iLCd5n— אור רביד | Or Ravid (@OrRavid) May 12, 2021
"Shocking footage from Bat Yam shows the lynching of an Arab driver by a Jewish mob this evening," The Times of Israeli reports. "The driver apparently attempted to flee after the rioters identified him as an Arab. He is seen crashing into another car and is then pulled out of the vehicle and beaten by the rioters."
Rioting is breaking out amid increased "revenge" attacks...
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Israel's Channel 12 has tallied some 1,200 rockets launched from Gaza since Monday, while claiming the Iron Dome defense system has intercepted some 85-90% of all rockets headed toward populated areas.
During the mid-evening hours (local time) a senior Hamas official has announced that it is "ready to halt actions against Israel on a mutual basis," according to Russia's RIA.
High-ranking Hamas official says his group willing to halt operations against Israel on basis of mutual ceasefire https://t.co/G1adEQGIij— David A. Daoud (@DavidADaoud) May 12, 2021
This after the death toll from Israeli airstrikes inside the Gaza Strip continues to soar, with The Wall Street Journal reporting in the latest update:
Israeli strikes and Hamas rocket fire have so far killed 56 Palestinians, including 14 children, and six Israelis, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has killed dozens of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives.
And at least five Israelis have been killed by Hamas rocket fire since the start of fighting.
But a ceasefire at this point is unlikely given PM Netanyahu's earlier vow that the Palestinian militants would pay a "heavy price" - in a rapidly escalating scenario that many pundits say is closely resembling the devastating 2014 Gaza war.
Israel keeps destroying residential towers in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/y0xQFAre43— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 12, 2021
Israeli jets have also reportedly leveled a third apartment building in Gaza City. "Israeli fighter jets have demolished al-Shourouk tower in Gaza City, after repeatedly warning those inside to leave," Times of Israel reports. "This is the third high-rise building, containing more than 10 stories, to be destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces in this current round of fighting."