update(3:03pm): In the last hours there's been massive escalation as Hamas and Islamic Jihad has unleashed wave and wave of rockets on central Israel, and targeting Tel Aviv.
Hamas has announced that it launched 130 rockets on Tel Aviv and central Israel through its TV channels moments ago. While it's unclear if this is exaggerated, rockets appear to be landing across Israel, many slipping through the Iron Dome anti-air defenses.
This after Israeli airstrikes took out an entire 13-story residential building, which collapsed in on itself after multiple explosions and direct hits.
BREAKING: Israeli airstrike causes 13-story building in Gaza to collapse; residents were warned to evacuate pic.twitter.com/tY55UcwCbG— BNO News (@BNONews) May 11, 2021
Israeli media is reporting the following...
According to Channel 12 and an UNRWA official, prior to the strike people in the building received several warnings, including phone calls and messages, telling them to leave and a preliminary “roof-knocking” strike — using a small missile to strike the roof with minimal damage in order to cause all inside to leave before a major strike.
Hamas earlier threatened to launch long-range rockets at Tel Aviv should Israel continue airstrikes in residential areas. Channel 12 says the group was apparently referring to the high-rise in question.
Remains of the Hamadi tower. 20 foot+ tall pile of ruble and debris. pic.twitter.com/m8XES4ir9t— The Intel Crab (@IntelCrab) May 11, 2021
Sirens are blaring all across Israel, with people fleeing into bomb shelters. Israel is now acknowledging that some of the rockets launched from Gaza have scored direct hits on Israeli urban areas...
Millions of Israelis are under heavy rocket fire by Hamas from #Gaza this evening.— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) May 11, 2021
Israel has every right to protect its citizens from Hamas' barbaric terroriam.
👇direct rocket hit in the city of Holon
Israeli PM Netanyahu earlier vowed to "step up" attacks on Hamas, while United Nations is urging "restraint" in a Tuesday statement.
#Gaza flooded the Israeli interception systems with dozens of rockets and missiles. This has never happened before: a huge challenge to #Israel. There are direct hits registered of missiles which managed to break the Iron Dome system. pic.twitter.com/q8A7kEwuGP— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) May 11, 2021
There are emerging reports that Israel's main international airport has suspended all inbound and outbound air traffic.
"Ben Gurion Airport has temporarily stopped air traffic due to the ongoing rocket barrages on central Israel. Air traffic is being rerouted to Cyprus, Channel 12 says," writes The Times of Israel.
One of the 100s of rockets that were just fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv and central Israel exploded on a civilian bus.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
Hamas’ intentions are clear: kill Israeli civilians.
We won’t stand by and let this happen. pic.twitter.com/aNsA3dlgMe
Meanwhile in US politics...
BREAKING: Trump issues statement on Israel/Palestine Conflict: pic.twitter.com/GINwhg1fmD— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 11, 2021
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During overnight Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, at least 24 Palestinians including nine children have been killed, Gaza health officials say, while Israel's military says 15 among the dead are militants. Israel's air force unleashed strikes on some 130 sites throughout Gaza Strip in an operation that hasn't let up into Tuesday.
And the Jerusalem Post records that over 300 rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel since sundown on Monday, injuring at least 31 Israeli civilians, and including some direct hits on residential areas which included an apartment building. Israel has opened up bomb shelters across the south and major cities. Later into the day Tuesday (local time), AFP is reporting that Gaza rocket fire has killed two women in south Israel.
The rocket fire out of the Gaza Strip began after Hamas leaders issued a demand for Israeli police to vacate the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, and after a night of rioting and fierce clashes at security checkpoints, which included thousands of far-right Israel settler youth swarming the walled old city in a controversial Jerusalem Day parade. Monday's events in Jerusalem left some 300 Palestinians wounded, and many arrested.
The Israeli airstrikes have now entered their second day, and look to continue.
"On Tuesday, at about noon, Palestinians said that IDF struck an apartment in an 8-story building in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza, killing two senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders and fatally wounding the brother of Baha abu Al-Ata who was killed in a targeted IDF operation 2019," The Jerusalem Post notes.
Things only look to escalate from here, given Tel Aviv has announced the widening of the military campaign.
More footage of Iron Dome interceptions over Ashkelon pic.twitter.com/TQSIfwDHic— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 10, 2021
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has approved the mobilization of 5,000 reserve soldiers to reinforce the Gaza border - and in the past such a deployment has come prior to a ground campaign - however which Israeli leaders often try to avoid given the extreme risk their troops and high death toll.
Additional IDF battalions have also been sent to the West Bank on fears of a wider Palestinian uprising akin to the prior historic intifadas.
Death toll rises to 26 in Gaza after targeting an apartment in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/nzqbZavBjp— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 11, 2021
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who happens to be battling for his political future after last month he failed to cobble together a governing coalition - stated that fighting will "continue for some time".
From the car in Ashkelon that was apparently hit by a rocket fired from Gaza pic.twitter.com/4yqS4cw32j— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 11, 2021
Local media videos are showing that many rockets from Gaza are making it past Israel's Iron Dome anti-air defenses...
And an Israeli spokesman also affirmed that Israeli strikes are merely "in the early stages".
Meanwhile in US politics...
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Meanwhile at the State Department on Monday...
Who let journalists into the press pool?? https://t.co/ZGA918cBX2— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) May 10, 2021