Israel has been under heavy rocket fire from Gaza since 6pm on Monday evening. Hamas opened the barrage with seven rockets fired on the Jerusalem Hills west of the capital, with one direct hit on a house in Kiryat Anavim, although nobody was hurt.
In the hours following, dozens of rockets were fired on Israeli towns surrounding Gaza, including Ashkelon, with one person lightly injured, when a car was directly hit by an anti-tank missile. Classes are cancelled in all schools in Israel tomorrow, within a 40 kilometer radius of Gaza.
In retaliation to the rocket fire, the Israeli Air Force has been attacking Hamas and Jihad Islam targets in Gaza, with reports of at least three Palestinians killed.
The attacks come following a week of tension in Jerusalem, with clashes on the Temple Mount between Palestinian protestors and Israel Police, and demonstrations against the possible eviction of Palestinians from homes in Sheikh Jarrah, following a court petition by Jewish groups that the homes had belonged to Jews before 1948.
Hamas had threatened to attack Jerusalem at 6 pm, unless Israeli Police had vacated the Temple Mount. But even though there were no Israeli police on the Temple Mount, and the Flag March through the Old City to mark Jerusalem Day had been called off, Hamas still attacked the Jerusalem region with rockets.
The assumption is that neither Israel or Hamas are interested in a full blown conflict and that Hamas has recorded a major achievement in the eyes of Palestinian public opinion, by positioning itself as the defender of Jerusalem. But while the latest round of Gaza rocket fire and Israeli air retaliation is only expected to last for a few days before a ceasefire is brokered, such situations have in the past escalated into more violent combat than the sides had planned.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 10, 2021
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