JERUSALEM: Israel launched lethal air strikes on Gaza Monday in response to a barrage of rockets fired by Hamas and different Palestinian militants, amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem´s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
No less than 20 individuals have been killed, together with 9 kids and a senior Hamas commander, and 65 others wounded, Gaza authorities mentioned.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hamas had crossed a “purple line” by directing missiles in the direction of Jerusalem and that the Jewish state would “reply with pressure”.
“We is not going to tolerate assaults on our territory, our capital, our residents and our troopers. Those that assault us can pay a heavy worth.”
Israel´s military mentioned 150 rockets had been launched from Gaza, dozens of which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Protection System, with no casualties reported.
“We now have began, and I repeat began, to assault army targets in Gaza,” military spokesman Jonathan Conricus mentioned.
“We now have made preparations for varied eventualities, together with excessive depth ones… Hamas will get the message.”
The army mentioned it had focused “two rocket launchers, two army posts”, a tunnel and eight Hamas operatives in Gaza.
Hamas sources confirmed to AFP that certainly 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 a whole bunch of Palestinians wounded, drawing worldwide requires de-escalation and sharp rebukes from throughout the Muslim world.
Diplomatic sources informed AFP that Egypt and Qatar, who’ve mediated previous Israeli-Hamas conflicts, have been trying to calm tensions.
– Sirens, evacuation –
Including to the sense of chaos, an enormous hearth engulfed timber within the compound that homes the mosque, Islam´s third holiest website, as a whole bunch of Jewish Israelis watched from the Western Wall esplanade beneath.
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 indignant protests.
Sirens wailed throughout Jerusalem simply after the 1500 GMT deadline set by Hamas as individuals in Jerusalem, together with lawmakers within the Knesset legislature, fled to bunkers for the primary time since a 2014 Gaza battle.
A spokesman for Hamas´ armed wing the Qassam Brigades mentioned the rocket assaults have been in response to Israeli actions in Sheikh Jarrah and across the Al-Aqsa mosque.
“This can be a message that the enemy should perceive properly: for those who reply we are going to reply, and for those who escalate we are going to escalate.”
The USA mentioned it “condemns within the strongest phrases the barrage of rocket assaults fired into Israel in latest hours. That 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, “because of an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, an Israeli civilian in a close-by car was flippantly injured” within the Gaza border space.
– ´Escalating aggression´ –
Fears of additional chaos within the Outdated Metropolis had briefly eased when Israeli organisers of a march to have a good time the Jewish state´s 1967 seize of east Jerusalem cancelled the occasion.
However then got here the Hamas warning, adopted by the rockets, which additionally compelled the evacuation of the Western 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.
On Monday night, as through the earlier nights since Friday, Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli officers in riot gear who fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gasoline.
That got here after morning clashes which left the bottom suffering from rocks, stun grenade fragments and different particles as loud booms and indignant screams echoed from the traditional stone partitions.
There have been dozens of newly wounded demonstrators. The Palestinian Crimson Crescent had earlier put the toll from Monday´s clashes at greater than 334 wounded, together with greater than 200 who have been hospitalised, 5 of them in crucial situation.
The Israeli police reported 32 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 Courtroom listening to on a Palestinian enchantment 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 known as Israel´s “barbaric aggression”.