Tuesday, May 11, 2021

[Ongoing Updates] Escalation Continues In Israel: Times Liveblogging Unfolding Events

Two killed, others hurt by rocket in Ashkelon, amid massive barrages from Gaza

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Tuesday’s events as they unfold. For a recap of Monday’s events, click here.

As rocket barrages on Israeli towns intensify, PM vows to step up counterstrikes


Police chief sets up command in Lod, says rioting worse that October 2000

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai establishes his command in the riot-wracked city of Lod, saying that the situation is even worse than October 2000.

“We are seeing a situation in the mixed (Jewish Arab) cities that we have never seen before, including the incidents of October 2000,” Shabtai says.

“We have not seen clashes like these between Jews and Arabs and nationalistic attacks like we are seeing here,” he says.

Widespread rioting broke out among Arab Israelis in October 2000 at the start of the second Intifada.

During the riots police killed 13 Arab protesters.

12 wounded in Lod clashes, 2 in serious condition

The Assaf Harofeh hospital says it is treating 12 people wounded in the clashes in Lod, including two in serious condition. The rest are lightly hurt.

Hebrew media says one of the seriously injured people is a 56-year-old man who was hit in the head with a rock when rioters stoned his car.

Wildfires raging in Galilee, arson suspected

Several wildfires are raging in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

Ynet reports fires at least six sites and says they are believed to have been the work of arsonists.

The fires come amid widespread protests and riots by Arab Israelis across the country and an escalating military confrontation with terror groups in Gaza.

UN envoy: ‘We’re escalating towards a full-scale war’

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warns that the situation is “escalating towards a full-scale war.”

Gantz sends all Border Police forces under IDF to aid enforcement in Lod

Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders all Border Police companies currently assisting the Israel Defense Forces in West Bank operations to go to the central Israeli city of Lod and other mixed population towns experiencing unrest.

The move comes after the mayor of Lod requested assistance from the military to quell the violence.

Gantz’s office says the border guards will be sent to Lod immediately.

Lod mayor describes ‘Kristallnacht, civil war’ in city; says army must deploy

Lod Mayor Yair Revivo says he’s asked the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in the Jewish-Arab city in central Israel. He calls for the military to be deployed in the city, saying “this is too big for police.”

“This is Kristallnacht in Lod,” he says, in reference to the Nazi pogrom against German Jews in 1938.

“I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet… There is a failure of governance… This is a giant incident — an Intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.”

“All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control… This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets… Civil war has erupted in Lod… The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Petrol bombs are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.”

Revivo says people are going out with guns because they fear for their lives.

He says Islamists are inciting the city’s youth. “We haven’t done anything to you,” he tells the city’s Arabs, begging them for calm.

Revivo says 70 years of coexistence could be destroyed by what is happening.

“Every minute, a car or a synagogue or a school is going up in flames… Our new city hall was broken into and set alight. You don’t understand what’s happening here. This is worse than the missiles from Gaza.”

He says “there’s been nothing like this in the history of Israel.”

Synagogues, stores, dozens of cars on fire in Lod amid intense rioting

Intense Arab rioting is reported in the Arab-Jewish cities of Ramle and Lod tonight, after hours of unrest.

Channel 12 reports that three synagogues and numerous shops have been set on fire in Lod, and dozens of cars have been set alight. The network says police are escorting some terrified Jewish residents from homes in Lod.

It also reports that police are doing little to halt the rioting.

Lod resident Shiloh Fried tells Channel 12: “Gangs of Arab youths are going street to street, burning stores, smashing windows… Jewish families are huddled at home, terrified of going out… Their cars are being set alight outside… Police are nowhere to be seen.”

Hamas chief claims group has created ‘new balance of power’ with Israel

Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh says the terror group has set “a new balance of power” with Israel following a barrage of rockets On central Israel.

“We have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem, the defense of Jerusalem,” Haniyeh says. He later adds: “Jerusalem is the axis of conflict.”

IDF chief: Military has struck over 500 targets in Gaza

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi says the Israeli military has conducted strikes on over 500 targets in the past day and a half, killing dozens of terrorist operatives, which he says have been painful to Palestinian terror groups in the enclave.

Gantz says many more Gaza targets in pipeline

Speaking after Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel has “a great many targets in the pipeline” that it can yet strike in Gaza.

He says terror organizations “have been severely hit and will continue to be hit due to their reckless decision to fire at Israel.”

Schools throughout Israel to be closed tomorrow

The Home Front Commander has announced that schools will be closed throughout the country tomorrow, due to the escalating attacks from Gaza.

The education system is preparing for several days of remote learning.

IDF destroys another building in Gaza City, despite threats from terror groups

Israeli forces destroy the al-Jawharah high-rise in Gaza City, flaunting threats from Gaza terror groups.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad had previously said that such demolitions would lead to further rocket fire on Tel Aviv.

Cabinet source tells website: Terrorists ‘haven’t seen iota of our capabilities’

An unnamed cabinet source tells Ynet that Gaza terror groups “haven’t seen an iota of our capabilities.”

The same source adds that “it will take time to achieve deterrence with Hamas. We didn’t think it would be immediate.”

Netanyahu, Gantz to deliver address from IDF HQ after barrages on Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz will deliver a joint address from military headquarters in Tel Aviv following a massive rocket attack on central Israel by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials over the past day have threatened to launch a wider campaign against Hamas and other terror groups in the Strip, including a potential ground invasion.

The address by Netanyahu and Gantz is due to begin shortly, their offices say.

Police: Rockets strike Holon, Givatayim, causing at least 8 injuries

Rockets strike the Tel Aviv suburbs of Holon and Givatayim, injuring at least eight people, some of them seriously, police say.

In the recent attacks from the Gaza Strip, one rocket strikes next to a bus in Holon, injuring four people, two of them seriously and two of them moderately.

In Givatayim, fragments of a rocket that was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system hits a house, lightly injuring four people inside, police say.

Islamic Jihad says it’s behind barrage on central Israel, threatens more

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the last few barrages of rockets towards Tel Aviv, threatening more should Israel target high-rise buildings and Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“If the enemy continues to target residential towers and civilians, Tel Aviv will remain under the fire of the resistance,” the Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, says in a statement.

Palestinians say 2 shot by army at West Bank junction are intel service members

A Palestinian security source tells AFP that the two Palestinians shot earlier at Tapuah Junction, in what the army said was an attempted shooting attack, were members of Palestinian intelligence services.

The army said the two pulled guns on soldiers before being shot.

Rockets strike cities and towns throughout central Israel

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip strike a number of cities and towns in central Israel, injuring at least one person, authorities say.

Impact sites are reported in the cities of Rishon Lezion and Ramat Gan outside of Tel Aviv, as well as in Sdot and in the Arab town of Taibe, police say.

Medics say they found a woman who was unconscious in Rishon Lezion. Her condition is not immediately known. Medics also treat a man who suffered an acute anxiety attack during the rocket fire.

Ben Gurion Airport said to stop traffic, flights rerouted to Cyprus

There are reports that 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.

New round of sirens sound in Tel Aviv area as terrorists pummel central Israel

A fresh round of air raid sirens are triggered in central Israel as Palestinian terror groups continued firing salvos from the Gaza Strip.

The alarms are heard in Tel Aviv and in the surrounding suburbs of Ramat Gan, Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

Rocket strikes Holon, injuring a number of people, one seriously, medics say

A rocket strikes the city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, injuring a number of people, including one person seriously, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service say medics are on the scene treating the wounded.

The rocket appears to have struck a bus in the city.

The exact number of casualties and their conditions are not immediately known.

Fresh rocket launches; empty kibbutz structure said hit

Fresh rocket launches are reported in the Gaza periphery, as are Iron Dome interceptions.

Walla news reports that one rocket hit a structure in a kibbutz. There were no people there at the time.

Israel destroys Gaza high-rise after warning occupants to leave

A short time ago Israel struck a 13-story residential building in Gaza City.

According to Channel 12, 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.

UN urges Israel to exercise ‘maximum restraint, calibrate use of force’ in Gaza

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “gravely concerned” by the ongoing escalation in Israel and Gaza, his spokesman says in a statement.

Guterres “is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza,” the statement says.

Gulf countries intensify criticism of Israel

Gulf Arab countries are offering harsh criticism of Israel in the wake of the latest Israeli-Palestinian confrontation as violence rises in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of Kuwaitis stage a sit-in outside parliament, chanting “No to normalization” with Israel and voicing support for the Palestinians.

Military moves armored forces south amid ongoing rocket attacks

The military is moving armored forces toward the Gaza Strip, among them tanks, personnel carriers and D9 bulldozers.

The move is a response to the rising violence along the border, as the IDF steps up its offensive against Gaza terror groups, and does not signify a looming ground offensive at this time (though defense officials have said they also won’t rule out such a move if attacks against Israel continue).

The army earlier said reinforcements were being sent to the Gaza Division from the Golani Infantry Brigade and 7th Armored Brigade.

Hamas threatens to fire rockets at Tel Aviv

After a series of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Hamas threatens to fire rockets at Tel Aviv should Israel continue targeting what it claims are residential areas.

Israel conducted attacks inside Gaza City today, some of which were targeted strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel says many terror targets are intentionally located within residential areas to shield them from attack.

Reported shooting attempt at West Bank junction; two assailants shot

The military is reporting an apparent shooting attempt in the West Bank’s Tapuah Junction.

It says two assailants have been shot. No Israelis are hurt.

According to Ynet, the two rolled down their car’s windows and pulled out handguns which they pointed at soldiers stationed at the intersection. The troops shot them.

The report says one of the assailants was killed and another seriously injured.

Footage from Lod rioting shows police car on fire

More footage from the unrest in Lod shows a police car on fire.

Hamas claims to use new missile to bypass Iron Dome in Ashkelon

Hamas’s armed wing says the terror group used a new kind of “Sijeel” missile to strike Israeli cities today, one which the organization claims successfully bypassed Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

“For the first time, we utilized the tactic of firing the Sijeel missiles at Ashkelon, which have a high destructive power and succeeded in overcoming the Iron Dome,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades say in a statement.

IDF says it launched major offensive on dozens of rocket launch tubes in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a major offensive against the Hamas terror group’s rocket-launching capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip, after hundreds of projectiles were fired from the area at Israeli cities across the border earlier in the day.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says some 80 fighter jets, including the advanced F-35 aircraft, are taking part in the operation, which began this afternoon.

Zilberman says the military has also conducted an additional targeted killing of a Hamas commander, taking out the head of the terror group’s anti-tank guided missile unit in Gaza City.

The spokesman says the IDF also bombed an attack tunnel approaching the border with Israel, which had operatives in it at the time and are now trapped inside.

Report: Over 600 rockets fired from Gaza since fighting began

Kan news reports that over 600 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel since fighting began yesterday.

Five of those rockets made direct hits on homes, the report says: four in Ashkelon and one in Ashdod.

A video from Ashkelon earlier provides a good look at a barrage and Iron Dome interceptions.

France urges Israel to use ‘proportionate’ force over Gaza

The use of force by Israel must be “proportionate” in response to rockets fired by the Hamas terror group following several nights of violence in Jerusalem, a French minister says.

“Quite clearly, we call for a proportionate use of force by the Israeli authorities,” deputy foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne tells French lawmakers.

Gantz: Gaza operation meant to weaken Hamas, make it regret attacks

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel’s goal with its ongoing strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the enclave is to severely weaken the Hamas terror group in order to restore calm to southern Israel.

Gantz says the operation, dubbed Guardian of the Walls, is likely to last at least several days as Israeli aircraft, ground forces and naval ships bomb assets and operatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“The purpose of the operation is to strike Hamas hard, to weaken it and to make it regret its decision [to launch rockets at Israel],” Gantz says

Hamas says 28 people killed in Gaza since yesterday

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says 28 people were killed and 152 wounded in the latest round of cross-border violence.

Arab League chief blames Israel for escalation

The head of the Arab League has blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in the region, warning that Israeli policies will blow up the situation in Jerusalem.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organization, speaks as Arab foreign ministers meet to discuss the latest bout of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis.

A gathering of representatives of Muslim nations has condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in  Jerusalem.

The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is held to present a unified response from the Muslim world to the soaring tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and the latest violent confrontations in Jerusalem.

In a communiqué, the meeting denounces Israel’s “continuous violations” of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, “barbaric attacks” against worshipers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound. It says that it considers the Israeli actions a “provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world and serious violation of international law.”

TV: Hamas has sought ceasefire, Israel has refused

Channel 12 reports that Arab intermediaries have conveyed to Israel Hamas’s desire to reach a new ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

However, Israel has refused, with officials feeling the terror group has not yet paid a sufficient price for its attacks on Israel.

2 rocket victims are elderly woman, caregiver who couldn’t reach shelter in time

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a situational assessment with Defense Minister Gantz, the military chief and other top brass.

“We are in the midst of a campaign,” he says. “Since yesterday afternoon the IDF has carried out hundreds of strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. We’ve hit commanders and many high-quality targets.”

He says a decision has been made “to further intensify the severity and pace of the attacks.”

New rocket barrage on Ashkelon after residents permitted to leave bomb shelters

A new rocket barrage is reported on the city of Ashkelon.

The fresh attack comes minutes after the military tells residents they are permitted to leave bomb shelters.

IDF announces fresh round of Gaza strikes; sirens continue in Israeli towns

The military says it had conducted a fresh round of strikes on terror targets in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets were the office of a senior Hamas commander, posts, a military compound and a weapons warehouse.

Gantz: For every day of attacks, we’ll take terror groups back years

Meeting with military officials and local authority heads in the south, Defense Minister Benny Gantz says: “For every day of attacks on Israeli citizens, we’ll take the terror organizations back years. We will not stop until calm returns.”

Rivlin tell European envoys: No country would accept a situation like this one

In a conversation with European envoys to Israel on the flare-up in Jerusalem and Gaza, President Reuven Rivlin says “no country in the world would accept a similar situation. We will never accept such a reality.”

He adds that “we will defend our citizens with all necessary means.”

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes kill three commanders

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three commanders in its armed wing.

“Our martyrs, commanders Sameh Fahim Al-Mamlouk, Kamal Tayseer Qureiqa and Muhammad Yahya Abu Al-Atta, bled, and we affirm that the response to their assassination will be harsh,” a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s armed wing says.

IDF says it killed head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit

The IDF says it has killed the head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, in operation carried out in cooperation with the Shin Bet.

Reports: 2 killed, others hurt in Ashkelon by rocket from Gaza

Two women have been killed and several other people wounded by a direct rocket hit on a home in Ashkelon.

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes kill three commanders

Islamic Jihad vows revenge after Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three commanders in its armed wing.

“Our martyrs, commanders Sameh Fahim Al-Mamlouk, Kamal Tayseer Qureiqa and Muhammad Yahya Abu Al-Atta, bled, and we affirm that the response to their assassination will be harsh,” a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad’s armed wing says.

Abu al-Atta is the brother of Baha Abu al-Atta, a senior leader in the terror group assassinated by Israel in 2019. His targeted killing sparked a round of escalation between Israel and armed groups in the Gaza Strip.

IDF says it killed head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit

The IDF says it has killed the head of Islamic Jihad’s special rocket unit, in operation carried out in cooperation with the Shin Bet.

Sameh Abed al-Mamluk was killed along with several other senior rocket officials, the army says.

Reports: 2 killed, others hurt in Ashkelon by rocket from Gaza

Two women have been killed and several other people wounded by a direct rocket hit on a home in Ashkelon.

A paramedic tells Channel 12 that of those wounded, one person is in critical condition and five others lightly hurt in the attack.

Residents of Ashkelon told to remain in sheltered spaces

The military’s Home Front Command is instructing residents of Ashkelon to remain in sheltered spaces until further notice, due to the intensive rocket fire directed at the city.

Hamas says it fired 137 rockets at Israel in 5 minutes

The Hamas terror group is claiming to have fired 137 rockets at Israel in 5 minutes in the latest barrage that targeted Ashdod and Ashkelon.

The organization warns that it has “many surprises” in store if the fighting continues.

IDF releases footage of strikes on Gaza terrorists firing missiles at Israel

The Israel Defense Forces releases footage of two strikes on Palestinian terrorists who had launched projectiles at southern Israel earlier today.

According to the IDF, soldiers from the elite Egoz commando unit spotted mortar shell launches from a building in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terror group and returned fire with a Spike missile, killing at least two terror operatives inside.

In the footage, the soldiers can be seen watching the building as the mortar shells were fired and then firing their Spike missile, which causes a large explosion. It is not immediately clear where in the Gaza Strip this occurred.

Heavy rocket fire continues toward Ashkelon, Gaza border communities

Sirens continue to sound in Ashkelon and the Gaza border communities, warning of incoming rockets.

Television footage shows a burning car Ashkelon after it was apparently hit by a projectile.

At least three buildings have been hit in the city since the early hours of Tuesday.

Additionally, a home was hit in Ashdod.

Two buildings in the southern city of Ashkelon and one in Ashdod suffered direct hits from rockets fired in a massive barrage from Gaza.

At least two of the rockets sparked fires.

Police say they found two locations where rockets fell in Ashdod, and six in Ashkelon.

At least three people were lightly injured including a 12-year-old who was lightly injured by shrapnel in Ashkelon.

The IDF ordered schools closed in communities near Gaza today and limited gatherings to groups of 10 people outdoors and 50 people indoors. Businesses are open only if they had easy access to bomb shelters.

Sirens in Gaza border communities, minutes after apparent attempt to overwhelm Iron Dome

Sirens wail again in a number of Gaza border communities, minutes after a massive barrage that appears to have been an attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defense system.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The IDF said earlier that the system has intercepted upwards of 90% of the rockets fired at populated areas.

40 rockets fired in massive barrage; buildings hit in Ashdod and Ashkelon, 2 lightly hurt

Dozens of rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and communities in the south of Israel.

Some 40 projectiles are fired in a short period of time, with buildings suffering direct hits in the coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Rockets are additionally fired at Hatzor and Gan Yavne.

The Iron Dome missile defense system is activated but it is unclear how many projectiles are intercepted.

Two people are lightly injured and five people are treated for anxiety.

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