Barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel, deadly strikes by the Jewish state targeting Hamas, and heavy clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators in East Jerusalem: Israel and the Palestinians were engaged in one of the largest escalations of violence on Tuesday of recent years.
At least 20 people, including nine children and a senior Hamas commander, died Monday evening in strikes attributed to the Israeli army carried out in the Gaza Strip in response to dozens of rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave, after new clashes that left more than 500 injured on the Esplanade des Mosques, the third holy place of Islam named Temple Mount by the Jews, in East Jerusalem.
According to a final report by the Israeli army shortly before midnight, more than 150 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel, of which “dozens” were intercepted by the “Iron Dome” missile shield. And as the salvos continued into the night, an Israeli Arab died of gunshot wounds on the sidelines of clashes with Israelis in the city of Lod (center), where cars were set on fire, local police said. without epilogue.
The missile shield intercepts rockets
The violence coincided with Jerusalem Day, which according to the Hebrew calendar marks the capture of the eastern part, populated by Palestinians, of the Holy City by the Israeli army in 1967. And it comes after weeks of tension in Jerusalem.
After violent clashes in the morning in Jerusalem, Hamas had issued an ultimatum to Israel demanding that its forces withdraw by 6:00 p.m. from the Mosque Square, a hotbed of tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in the heart of the Old City. . And, at 6:00 p.m., a barrage of rockets was launched from this impoverished enclave of two million inhabitants, towards Israel. While the majority of the rockets were intercepted by the “Iron Dome” missile shield, some fell on Israeli territory, and an anti-tank missile was slightly injured in an Israeli locality bordering the Gaza Strip.
20 dead including nine children in Gaza
Local authorities in Gaza have reported 20 dead, including nine children, and many injured in the strikes, the largest since November 2019. Israeli rescuers reported three injured and seven people affected by panic attacks who were taken to hospital.
Monday evening, diplomatic sources told AFP that the UN, with the help of Qatar and Egypt, had initiated a mediation with the parties “concerned” in order to obtain a de-escalation. “It is imperative that all parties take measures” in this direction, for his part pleaded the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, while France said to fear a “large-scale escalation”. The European Union called on both parties to put an end to this “outbreak of violence”.
After a weekend marked by heightened tensions in East Jerusalem, Monday began head-on, with stone throwing by hundreds of Palestinians against Israeli security forces positioned on the Mosque Esplanade and who responded with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, more than 520 Palestinians have been injured, many in the eyes and heads, as Israeli police have reported at least nine injured in their ranks in the most violent clashes since 2017 in East Jerusalem.