Surreal and scary scenes as Palestinian rocket attacks invite heavy Israeli response in second day of fighting

Israel responded with airstrikes against suspected militant positions in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday following a second day of indiscriminate rocket attacks targeting cities and civilians in the Jewish state amid new clashes in Jerusalem.

According to videos posted online, explosions rocked the region as rocket attack sirens blared, sending Israeli civilians scrambling for underground shelters overnight, The Epoch Times reported.

More than 100 people have been wounded in airstrikes and at least two Palestinians were killed, according to reports, while six Israelis were injured in rocket attacks.

A wounded Palestinian woman is evacuated during clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protestors in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Twenty people in Gaza including nine children were killed on Monday, as Israeli missile defenses via Iron Dome intercepted many of the scores of rockets launched by Palestinian militants and suspected Hamas fighters.

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus city, in the occupied West Bank on May 10, 2021. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

The attacks aimed at the Jerusalem region were the first since 2014 when Israel fought a brief but bloody war with Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue responding to those attacks, which he said crossed a “red line.”

A picture shows Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 10, 2021. – Israel launched deadly air strikes on Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets fired by the Islamist movement Hamas amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

The fighting intensified after confrontations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque near the Temple Mount located at the heart of the walled Old City, an area sacred to Jews and Muslims alike.

Reports said that rock-throwing Palestinians located inside the mosque targeting Israeli police led officers to storm the house of worship. More than 300 Palestinians were reportedly injured in their battles with Israeli police who reportedly used rubber bullets, stun guns, and tear gas inside the compound. In addition, Israeli police said 21 officers were injured as well.

Israeli security forces deploy in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 10, 2021 during clashes with Palestinians. (Photo by ahmad gharabli / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Tensions also rose in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem as several Palestinian families faced eviction from homes that had been claimed by Jewish settlers in a legal case that has lasted years.

Hamas issued an ultimatum to Israel, demanding the removal of military and police forces from Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah. When the deadline passed and Israel had not complied, “sirens wailed in Jerusalem and rockets pounded the city’s outskirts,” The Epoch Times reported.

The Israelis claim all of Jerusalem as the country’s capital, including East Jerusalem which was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, also known as the Third Arab-Israeli War, with Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. The Palestinians, however, have staked claim to East Jerusalem, which they want for their capital in an eventual Palestinian state.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – MAY 10: Israeli Police officers clash with Palestinians at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s old city during Israel’s ‘Jerusalem Day’ on May 10, 2021 in Jerusalem, Israel. The Israeli national holiday, which celebrates the unification of Jerusalem under Israel’s control following the 1967 Six-Day War, comes amid protests over the potential eviction of Palestinian families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The Israeli Supreme Court was expected to rule today on whether to uphold a lower court’s decision in a longstanding legal dispute between the resident families and Jewish settlers who claim ownership of the land, but the court delayed its decision for up to 30 days due to a request from the attorney general. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump solidified Israel’s claims when he fulfilled a campaign pledge to relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Several previous U.S. presidents had made a similar pledge but never followed through.

A picture shows Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 10, 2021. – Israel launched deadly air strikes on Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets fired by the Islamist movement Hamas amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Posts of missile attacks, conflicts between Palestinians and Israeli police, as well as of residents on both sides taking cover were posted to social media.

“This needs to be said: every single Palestinian and Israeli death as a result of this escalation is the responsibility of Hamas and Hamas alone. If there were no Hamas rockets, there would be no Israeli airstrikes. Dozens of lives would be spared. Yes, it really is that simple,” American Jewish Committee global communications director Avi Mayer wrote Tuesday.

Jon Dougherty

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