43 dead in Gaza and 5 in Israel amid riots, air strikes, and more than 1,000 rockets fired at cities

43 dead in Gaza and 5 in Israel amid riots, air strikes, and more than 1,000 rockets fired at cities
  • Forty-eight people have been reported dead overnight in escalating violence between Gaza and Israel.

  • Hamas launched volleys of rockets toward Tel Aviv, and Israel launched air strikes.

  • The scene shows the worst violence since the 2014 Gaza War.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A total of 48 people in Israel and Gaza have died in intense overnight hostilities that saw hundreds of air strikes and more than 1,000 rockets fired.

Hamas launched volleys of rockets toward Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities overnight, triggering Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system.

Israel followed with air strikes, destroying a 12-story building housing Hamas offices, and heavily damaged a residential building that Israel said also held Hamas intelligence offices, the Associated Press reported.

An aerial view of a destroyed tower block by the coast in Gaza City, May 12 2021.
The remains of a building destroyed in Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

Israeli authorities said they had killed several Hamas militant leaders in the strikes, Reuters reported.

As of early Wednesday, the Gaza Health Ministry said that 43 people in Gaza, including 13 children, had been killed in the strikes, Sky News reporter Mark Stone reported.

Five people in Israel, including three women and a child, were reported dead, according to the AP. Hundreds more have been wounded.

The Israeli city of Lod, located nine miles from Tel Aviv, has been put under a state of emergency after two nights of rioting by its population of Palestinian citizens of Israel, The Guardian reported.

A group of men outdoors in Gaza standing in prayer pose behind a trolley holding the shrouded body of a Palestinian.
People offer funeral prayers next to the body of a Palestinian, who was killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City on May 12, 2021. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The violence had ratcheted against a backdrop of numerous tensions that started around the beginning of May, as Insider's Joshua Zitser reported.

The Israeli Supreme Court has been deliberating over a plan to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, to make way for Jewish Israeli settlers.

The court's verdict, due on May 10, was postponed amid protests and considerable international attention, The Times of Israel reported.

In another incident last Friday, more than 200 Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem, when Israeli police officers shot rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades inside the al-Aqsa mosque.

In a statement posted to social media early Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces said that its strikes had hit "significant terror targets" overnight, in its largest operation since the 2014 war with Hamas.

Tor Wennesland, a UN Middle East peace envoy, called for calm and described the situation on Twitter as "escalating towards a full scale war."

The hostilities coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is due to culminate Wednesday evening with Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important celebrations in the religion's calendar.

They also come ahead of what Palestinians calls Nakba - "Catastrophe" - Day on May 15, which annually commemorates the displacement of Palestinians upon the establishment of Israel in 1948.

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