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Resources updated between Monday, April 29, 2019 and Sunday, May 05, 2019

May 5, 2019

Magen David Adom paramedics treat a factory worker injured in a rocket strike in Ashkelon on May 5, 2019. (courtesy Magen David Adom)

Four Israelis Killed by Hamas Rockets; Hundreds of Rockets Fired from Gaza into Israel Document

May 4, 2019

The Israeli rocket defense system Iron Dome in action (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

A man was killed when a rocket slammed into his home in southern Israel early Sunday morning, as Gazan terrorists pummeled Israeli towns with projectiles and Israel responded with hundreds of airstrikes over the weekend.

The man, in his 60s, was declared dead after being rushed to Ashkelon's Barzilai hospital with shrapnel wounds after the rocket hit his home in the city at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The man was not immediately identified but appeared to be the first Israeli fatality from Gazan rocket attacks since 2014's war with terrorists based in the Strip.

A Palestinian man working in Israel was killed in a rocket strike in Ashkelon in November.

The killing came as intense fighting engulfed the region over the weekend, sharply intensifying tensions after several months of relative calm between Israel and the Strip.

In a familiar scene, air raid sirens wailed across southern Israel throughout Saturday and into Sunday as barrages of rockets were repeatedly fired. Retaliatory airstrikes caused large explosions to thunder across Gaza, as plumes of smoke rose into the air. Outgoing Palestinian rockets left long trails of smoke behind them and puffs of smoke bloomed overhead as dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Three Israelis were injured Saturday, including an 80-year-old woman seriously hurt from rocket shrapnel in Kiryat Gat.

According to the IDF Saturday, some 70 percent of the incoming rockets and mortar shells struck open fields, where they caused neither injury nor damage. Of the remaining 30 percent, which were heading toward populated areas, most were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Several directly struck homes or landed just outside them. At least two rockets landed in the courtyards of schools in southern Israel, which were empty due to the weekend, causing damage to the buildings.

The rocket fire continued after midnight, keeping Israelis in the affected areas pinned close to rocket shelters, and leading authorities to cancel school Sunday throughout the region. Aside from Ashkelon, a rocket strike was also reported in Sderot after 2 a.m.

In response to the strikes, Israel hit at least 120 targets in Gaza on Saturday, including a cross-border attack tunnel, an underground rocket factory and a six-story building used by Hamas's military intelligence, the army said.

Palestinians reported continuing strikes overnight and into Sunday morning.

At least two Palestinians were reported killed in the Israeli strikes, both of whom were said to have been part of rocket launching teams.

Gazan authorities also blamed the deaths of a mother and her baby on Israel, but the IDF denied responsibility and said it was likely the result of a failed rocket launch.

The Israeli military also flattened a building housing the offices of the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency, prompting outcries of condemnation from Ankara. The IDF said the eight-story building was used by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups to conduct terrorist activities.

The Israeli army said it was prepared to continue conducting airstrikes if the attacks from Gaza continued. Israeli military officials told reporters that the fighting could continue for several days. Terror groups in the enclave made similar threats, saying they would attack deeper into Israel if the IDF continued its strikes.

The US said in a statement it backed Israel's right to self-defense.

"The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel. We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

The European Union's ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, sharply criticized the rocket attacks on Twitter, saying "firing indiscriminately against civilians (is) unacceptable."

The fresh exchange - one of the larger battles of the past year - began on Friday evening when Palestinians in the Strip shot two soldiers on patrol near the border in southern Gaza.

In response, the Israeli military bombed a Hamas post, killing two of the terror group's operatives.

Shortly after 9:30 on Saturday morning, terror groups in the Strip began launching rockets and mortar shells at Israel.

The military launched a series of reprisal strikes from air and land, hitting targets throughout the coastal enclave connected to Hamas, the islamist group that rules Gaza, and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, also said it was closing the fishing zone off Gaza's coast altogether and sealing Israel's two land crossings with Gaza.

The crossings are used by Palestinian medical patients to enter and exit the territory, and provide the main entry for cargo into the blockaded territory.

Hamas in a statement said it was "prepared to respond to Israel's crimes" and vowed to stop it from "spilling the blood of our people." Gaza's second-largest terror group, Islamic Jihad, threatened to disrupt the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, due to take place in Tel Aviv May 14-18, as well as issuing a video threatening the Dimona nuclear facility, Ben Gurion Airport and other sensitive sites in Israel.

The UN's Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said the United Nations was working with Egypt to restore calm and called on all sides to "de-escalate" and restore recent understandings.

"Those who seek to destroy them will bear responsibility for a conflict that will have grave consequences for all," he said in a statement.

Following heavy fighting in early April, Israel agreed to ease its blockade on Gaza in exchange for a halt to rocket fire. This included expanding a fishing zone off Gaza's coast, increasing imports into Gaza and allowing the Gulf state of Qatar to deliver aid to cash-strapped Gaza.

That agreement appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Palestinians launching arson balloons and rockets into Israel and Israeli warplanes striking Hamas targets. Hamas has said the incendiary balloons were a message to Israel not to hold up the transfer of millions of dollars in Qatari aid funds to the cash-strapped Hamas government in Gaza.

On Thursday, a Hamas delegation led by the group's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of the territory in 2007. Jerusalem says it is necessary to prevent terror groups from rearming and becoming an even greater menace.

The sides are bitter enemies and have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller flare-ups of violence.

Man killed as Palestinian rocket hits Israeli home during overnight barrage Document

A rocket fired from Gaza (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday afternoon launched a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip from both land and air, as around 200 rockets were fired toward Israel from the Palestinian enclave.

The army said dozens of the projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

A woman, aged around 80, was in serious condition after being hit by shrapnel from a rocket in Kiryat Gat, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of the Gaza Strip. She was treated by medics at the scene and taken to hospital, where she was in stable condition.

A man was in a moderate condition after he was injured by shrapnel after a rocket attack on the coastal city of Ashkelon.

Shortly after 3 p.m. the army said fighter jets and tanks had struck 30 "terror targets" in the Strip belonging to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups. The operations were ongoing.

The army said it targeted several Hamas compounds in Gaza City used for training and for weapons production. It said one of the sites was used by the organization's naval force.

It also struck several Islamic Jihad compounds throughout the Strip, and a number of rocket launchers and outposts near the border.

The strikes came after IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held talks with Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman, Southern Command chief Herzi Halevi and other top brass. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, was set to hold consultations at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv as well.

The strikes were in response to around 200 rockets launched at Israeli communities from the Strip since the morning, with thousands of Israelis forced into shelters throughout multiple towns and cities near Gaza, including in Rehovot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot.

And at 3 p.m. sirens sounded for the first time as far as Beit Shemesh, a city 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Jerusalem.

The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted dozens of projectiles.

A home in a community in the Eshkol Regional Council suffered a direct hit, without reported casualties, as the residents had run to a nearby shelter moments earlier once sirens were heard. Police were at the scene.

Also in Eshkol, a rocket fell inside a community but did not cause damage. Another rocket impacted on Route 4, a major highway, near Ashkelon. Sappers handled the rocket remains.

Magen David Adom said none were injured by the rocket barrages. However, a 15-year-old boy was lightly hurt running to a shelter, and two people suffered from shock.

In its initial response to the attacks in the morning, the IDF said the air force struck at least two rocket launchers in the Strip, and tanks fired at several posts belonging to the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said a 22-year-old man was killed and four people were injured by the Israeli strikes. It did not say whether the casualties were people affiliated to any terror group. Channel 12 news reported that the dead man may have been a member of a rocket-launching squad that had fired at Israel, but there was no official confirmation.

No Gaza terror group immediately claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. However, Hamas in a statement said it was "prepared to respond to Israel's crimes" and vowed to stop it from "spilling the blood of our people." Gaza's second-largest terror group, Islamic Jihad, warned that "If Israel continues the aggression it will face surprises." And a spokesperson for the Popular Resistance Committees said "The resistance groups are breaking the formula that Israel tried to create, whereby it could attack without there being a response."

An unidentified Hamas source told the Haaretz newspaper that the group had "warned of escalation for the past two weeks due to the delay in carrying out the understandings of the ceasefire. In Israel they asked for calm and got it, and in the Strip we didn't get any improvement."

According to the Walla news site, IDF troops in the region were alert to possible attempts to snipe at or launch anti-tank missiles at forces near the border, as well as possible abduction attempts.

In light of the ongoing attacks, the IDF's Home Front Command issued instructions for residents in affected areas to remain near protected spaces. It also limited public gatherings to 300 people in enclosed spaces only and halted agricultural work. Many municipalities opened public shelters. Beaches and national parks in the south were closed, and sporting events canceled.

The instructions applied to communities in the border area near Gaza, the central Negev, Lachish region and southern Shfela plain.

The rocket attacks came a day after two soldiers were shot and injured while on patrol near the border in southern Gaza. One soldier was moderately wounded in the attack and a female soldier was lightly hurt, the IDF said.

In response to the shooting, an IDF aircraft attacked a nearby Hamas post, the army said. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said two people were killed in the strike and two others were wounded.

Hamas confirmed the two men killed in the airstrike were members of its military wing and pledged to respond to what it called "Israeli aggression."

The Hebrew-language Twitter account of the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency issued a threat to Israel Friday night: "We will respond to the crimes of the occupation and the killing of our people."

The Islamic Jihad also said it held Israel responsible for the deaths.

The incidents, which marked a serious escalation, came during weekly border protests in which several thousand Gazans gathered at five sites. Some of the demonstrators rioted, throwing rocks and makeshift explosive devices at soldiers, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

A third Palestinian was killed during the border riots, the Gaza health ministry said, identifying him as Ra'ed Khalil Abu Tayyer, 19, adding that 40 protesters had been injured. The IDF said troops had identified several attempts to breach the fence. Overnight Friday, a fourth Palestinian died from injuries sustained during the riots, according to Hebrew media reports.

On Thursday, a Hamas delegation led by the group's Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce with Israel, Hamas officials said.

That agreement has appeared to be under stress in recent days, with Palestinians launching arson balloons and rockets into Israel and Israeli warplanes striking Hamas targets.

Hamas has said the incendiary balloons were a message to Israel not to hold up the transfer of millions of dollars in Qatari aid funds to the cash-strapped Hamas government in Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, seized control of the territory in 2007. Jerusalem says it is necessary to prevent terror groups from rearming and becoming an even greater menace.

The sides are bitter enemies and have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller flare-ups of violence.

Tensions have been rising in recent days amid allegations from Hamas that Israel has been delaying implementation of last month's ceasefire understandings.

Following heavy fighting in early April, Israel agreed to ease the blockade in exchange for a halt to rocket fire. This included expanding a fishing zone off Gaza's coast, increasing imports into Gaza and allowing the Gulf state of Qatar to deliver aid to cash-strapped Gaza.

Hamas has hoped that Egyptian mediators could further ease the blockade, which has ravaged Gaza's economy. For over a year, the Islamic group has orchestrated mass demonstrations each week along the Israeli frontier to draw attention to Gaza's plight.

Gaza terrorists fire 200 rockets toward Israel, injuring 2 Document

May 3, 2019

Iranian workers gather at the start of a peaceful Labor Day rally outside the Iranian parliament in Tehran, May 1, 2019. (Citizen journalist)

Rights Activists Denounce Iran's Crackdown on May Day Protesters Document

May 2, 2019

The United Nations Security Council (File photo)

U.N. Security Council to Informally Meet on West Bank Settlements Ahead of Trump Plan Article

Hamas incendiary balloons (File photo by Minozig via Wikimedia Commons)

Hamas Launches Hundreds of Incendiary Balloons at Israel Document

May 1, 2019

Boko Haram terrorists (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

25 People Killed in Boko Haram Attack on Nigerian Village Document

Mourners after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Antisemitic attacks spike, killing most Jews in decades Document

April 30, 2019

A hanging in Iran (File photo courtesy Fars News Agency/Wikimedia Commons)

Iranian Boys Flogged, Secretly Executed After Rape Charges Document

The International Criminal Court (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The International Criminal Court's Decision on Alleged U.S. Crimes in Afghanistan: Implications for Israel Article

A church in Burkina Faso (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Six Killed in Church Attack in Northern Burkina Faso Document

Rockets fired from Gaza (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Islamic Jihad Launches Rocket at Israel from Gaza Document

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, April 29, 2019 (Courtesy U.N. Web TV)

Bible is Jewish deed to Land of Israel, Israeli Ambassador tells U.N. Security Council Article

April 29, 2019

Nasrin Sotoudeh (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Human rights lawyer is sentenced to 148 lashes and 38 years in jail in Iran Document

Hamas terrorists (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Shin Bet prevented Hamas suicide attack on election day Document