Gaza/Jerusalem: Israeli planes fired missiles in Palestinian territory, and militants in Gaza fired rockets at Israel for the second consecutive day on Tuesday. The number of casualties caused by the violence increased to at least 26, including 9 children.
The most serious outbreak of fighting between armed factions in Hamas-run Gaza and Israel since 2019 began with confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem on Monday.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions have been high in the holy city during Ramadan, with sporadic clashes and possible evictions of Palestinians from homes claimed by Jewish settlers in a long-running court case adding to the friction.
A Palestinian official said that Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations are trying to stop the escalating violence because the international community fears that developments may get out of control.
The Gaza Ministry of Health said at least 26 Palestinians (including 9 children) were killed in an Israeli strike in the 2 million enclave and 122 others were injured since Hamas launched a rocket to Jerusalem for the first time since 2014.
Israel disputed this claim, saying that it had killed at least 15 Hamas fighters and that one-third of the more than 250 rockets launched by the militants failed to meet the target, causing Palestinian civilian casualties.
In one Gaza neighbourhood, an Israeli missile exploded inside an apartment in a multi-story building, killing three Islamic Jihad members, an official from the militant group said.
Police said 31 people were hurt by rocket strikes in southern Israel, though the military said its air defences were intercepting around 90% of the cross-border launches.
Hamas said that in one five-minute barrage alone, it had fired 137 missiles at Ashkelon and Ashdod, two coastal cities south of Tel Aviv, where live TV showed at least two homes on fire.
The multiple launches appeared to be an attempt to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.
The Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service company said that a school in Ashkelon was hit by a rocket. Courses in the area have been cancelled and the building is empty.