At least 24 Palestinians were killed, including nine children, in a new round of airstrikes between Israel and Palestinian forces
Israeli authorities claim the strikes were in response to Palestinian militants firing rockets from Gaza toward Jerusalem.
But Hamas insists that its territory was attacked first: “We fired rockets at Ashkelon following an Israeli attack and an attack on a house west of Gaza City,” said a spokesman for Hamas’s military wing. “If Israel continues to attack, we will turn Ashkelon into hell.”
The strikes follow weeks of extreme violence in Jerusalem. Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the inside of Gaza, launched the rockets toward Jerusalem for the first time in more than seven years.
Hamas’ statement asserts that “as long as the Israeli occupation continues to perpetrate crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, the Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas, will respond and defend Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Gaza Strip.”
Gaza health officials said seven members of a single family, including three children, had died in one of the blasts. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that only 15 Palestinian militants were killed in a targeted attack.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricussaid militants in Gaza fired more than 200 rockets toward Israel and that 90% of the missiles that penetrated the Gaza-Israeli border were blocked by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Clashes in Jerusalem on Monday morning and night left 520 Palestinians wounded. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency medical service, more than 333 were transferred to hospitals, according to Palestinian Red Crescent emergency medical service.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a hardy speech in response to the attacks at a ceremony to celebrate Jerusalem Day, per CNN.
“We are in a fight on several fronts: Jerusalem, Gaza and elsewhere in the country. This evening, on Jerusalem Day, the terrorist organizations in Gaza have crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles in the outskirts of Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.
In a video posted to his Twitter account on Tuesday morning, Netanyahu said the IDF has ” attacked hundreds of attacks on Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.”