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Death toll of martyrs in Gaza has risen to 48 from Israeli air strikes

Death toll of martyrs in Gaza has risen to 48 from Israeli air strikes
May 12, 2021

GAZA (92 News/Reuters) - Israeli atrocities on unarmed Palestinians continue as the death toll of martyrs in Gaza has risen to 48 from Israeli air strikes.

According to the reports, the Israeli forces targeted more than 130 locations, resulting at least 48 martyred and more than 700 people are injured.

Hamas retaliates to the Israeli attacks and fired 130 rockets at Israel. However, three Israelis killed and rocket attack also destroyed Israeli oil pipeline as well as the oil tank of the refinery caught fire.

The reports also said that the air traffic into and out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport has been suspended.

Reuters reported that dozens of rockets were fired Tuesday evening from Gaza in the direction of Tel Aviv and its suburbs, killing one woman and wounding several others in a further escalation of a three-day fire exchange between Israel and Hamas.

Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated overnight, with at least 35 Palestine Muslims killed in Gaza and five people killed in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years.

Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into the early hours of Wednesday, as militant fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

One multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes.

Israel said its jets had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday. Other strikes targeted what the military said were rocket launch sites and Hamas offices.

It was the heaviest offensive between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza, and prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: "Stop the fire immediately. We're escalating towards a full scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation.

"The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now," he wrote.

Into the early hours of Wednesday morning, Gazans reported their homes shaking and the sky lighting up with Israeli attacks, outgoing rockets and Israeli air defence missiles intercepting them.

Israelis ran for shelters or flattened themselves on pavements in communities more than 70 km (45 miles) up the coast and into southern Israel amid sounds of explosions as interceptor missiles streaked into the sky.

In the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Lod, near Tel Aviv, two people were killed after a rocket hit a vehicle in the area. Israeli media reported one was a 7-year-old girl.

Hamas's armed wing said it fired 210 rockets towards Beersheba and Tel Aviv in response to the bombing of the tower buildings in Gaza City.

The violence followed weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with an attack by Israeli police on Palestinian worshippers in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

These escalated in recent days ahead of a – now postponed - court hearing in a case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from East Jerusalem homes claimed by Jewish settlers.

Violence has also flared in the occupied West Bank, where a 26-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during stone-throwing clashes in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.

The White House said on Tuesday that Israel had a legitimate right to defend itself from rocket attacks but applied pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, saying Jerusalem must be a place of coexistence.

The United States was delaying UN Security Council efforts to issue a public statement on escalating tensions because it could be harmful to behind-the-scenes efforts to end the violence, according to diplomats and a source familiar with the U.S. strategy.

State Department spokesman Ned Price urged calm and "restraint on both sides", saying: "The loss of life, the loss of Israeli life, the loss of Palestinian life, It's something that we deeply regret."

He added: "We are urging this message of de-escalation to see this loss of life come to an end."