Israel latest updates – Hamas fires 1,600 rockets from Gaza 'as military plans ground invasion' amid all out war fears

HAMAS has fired 1,600 rockets from Gaza as the Israeli military 'makes plans for a ground invasion' in the worst fighting in the area since 2014.

Israel has threatened to invade Gaza and has killed at least 11 Hamas leaders following renewed rocket attacks.

At least 74 people have died in the violence so far including 67 Palestinians and 17 children.

Six Israelis, including two children, have also been killed, medical officials have confirmed.

Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas that it "will pay a heavy price for their belligerence" following a rocket attack on Jerusalem on Monday.

Read our Israel-Gaza live blog below for all the latest news and updates…

 

  • Caroline Mortimer

    TIMELINE CONTINUED

    May 12: Israel declares a state of emergency in the central city of Lod after rioting by Israeli Arabs.

    Hamas says it launched 130 rockets at Tel Aviv after an Israeli air strike destroyed a tower block in Gaza.

    May 13: A total of seven people have been killed in Israel, including four people who died on Wednesday, May 12.

    Among them were a soldier killed by an anti-tank missile and a six-year-old child hit in a rocket attack.

    Gaza’s Health Ministry said the death toll rose to 69 Palestinians, including 16 children and six women.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    TIMELINE OF LATEST VIOLENCE

    May 7: Clashes erupted on Friday as Muslims packed the Al-Aqsa mosque to pray during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

    May 8: Prayers at the mosque compound are held peacefully but violence flares elsewhere in east Jerusalem.

    May 9: The justice ministry delays the Supreme Court hearing in light of "the circumstances."

    May 11: The Sun reports that Hamas threatens to turn Israel “into hell” after it said an air strike on Gaza killed nine children.

    Israel's military claimed it carried out air strikes in retaliation for rocket attacks from the coastal strip.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    TRUMP BLAMES BIDEN FOR RENEWED VIOLENCE

    Ex-President Donald Trump has blamed the Biden administration for its "weakness and lack of support" for the deadly Hamas rocket attacks against Israel.

    Trump wrote in a website post on Tuesday: "When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency, because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked.

    "Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies," he continued.

    "America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself," the former president continued.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    BIDEN SAYS ISRAEL HAS "A RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF"

    President Joe Biden said Israel has a “right to defend itself” from Palestinians as airstrikes have killed at least 70 people in Gaza.

    The Democrat expects the violence between Israeli forces and the militant group Hamas to end “sooner rather than later” as fears of an all-out war breaking out in the region continue to escalate.

    The president expressed hope for peace but warned that Israel has a right to protect its people.

    Biden said: “Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    UK GOVERNMENT RESPONSE (CONTINUED)

    Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said a two-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict can only be advanced once the current violence ends.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the UK wants to see a two-state solution, with land swaps "recognising significant Jewish communities on West Bank and Arab communities in Israel".

    He said: "It is a challenge, of course it's a challenge, and it's an incredibly sensitive issue.

    "But, ultimately, those longer-term aims can only really be advanced through a negotiated settlement, and that has to come once this conflict has been resolved and comes to an end.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    ISRAEL HAS 'LEGITIMATE RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF'

    Israel has a "legitimate right to defend itself but must do so proportionately", a Foreign Office minister has said as he urged Hamas to cease rocket attacks after violence intensified in the region.

    James Cleverly called footage from the region "heart-breaking", and said the UK Government is speaking with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to encourage de-escalation on both sides.

    He told LBC on Thursday: "We have got to remember that the military wing of Hamas, which is firing these rockets, is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK.

    "There is no legitimate reason for these rockets to be fired, and we have demanded that they cease doing that.

    "We recognise that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself but must do so proportionately."

  • Caroline Mortimer

    WHAT HAS TRIGGERED THIS BOUT OF VIOLENCE?

    Clashes erupted last Friday as Muslims packed the Al-Aqsa mosque to pray during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.Violence had been building in Jerusalem and occupied West Bank for the previous week.

    Palestinians hurled stones, bottles and fireworks at Israeli police who fired rubber bullets and stun grenades.

    On Saturday, prayers at the mosque compound were held peacefully but violence flares elsewhere in east Jerusalem.

    Much of the recent unrest stems from the long-running legal effort by Jewish settler groups to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

    A lower court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers' decades-old claim.

    A Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal had been set for Monday and risked inflaming tensions further but the justice ministry delayed the hearing over the weekend in light of the tensions.

  • Caroline MortimerChaos in Israel as mob attack Arab driver
  • Caroline Mortimer

    THE PRE- AND POST-1967 BORDERS

     

  • Caroline Mortimer

    WHY IS 1967 SIGNIFICANT?

    The Israeli state was founded in 1948 but it was not recognised by its predominantly Islamic neighbours.

    In 1967 tensions between Israel and Egypt boiled over when then Egyptian leader Gamal Nasser declared the crucial Straits of Tiran – a narrow strip of waterways between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas – would be closed to Israeli shipping.

    Israel took this to be an act of war and launched a series of airstrikes against Egyptian airfields which grounded the Egyptian Air Force – giving the Israelis control of the skies.

    Jordan and Syria had agreed to come to Egypt's aid in the event of an attack but Israel swiftly launched a ground invasion which soon overwhelmed the Gaza Strip, the Sinai peninsula, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

    A ceasefire was declared several days later and it is now known as the Six-Day War.

    But Israeli forces continue to control large swathes of previously Palestinian territory such as the Golan Heights (previously controlled by Syria) and the West Bank (previously controlled by Jordan) as well as all of Jerusalem. They withdrew from the Gaza strip in 2005 but have blockaded it since 2007 following the election of Hamas there.

    These claims are not recognised by the international community so many refer to a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders when talking about a reaching a peace settlement – something the majority of Israelis oppose.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    HOW THE CONFLICT BEGAN (CONTINUED)

    Israel finally left Gaza in 2005, and Hamas took control there after winning elections.

    But Israel still controls most of Gaza's borders and coastal territory, deciding who can get in and out of Gaza, including goods.

    Hamas has demanded that Israel stop its restrictions.

    Hamas claims Israel is occupying Palestinian land and claims to resist occupation by launching rocket attacks from Gaza, while Israel retaliates to such attacks with further force.

    Hamas – the largest of several militant Islamist groups in Palestine – refuses to recognise Israel as a country and wants Palestinians to be able to return to their old home.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    HOW DID THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT BEGIN?

    The Israel-Palestine conflict began over a dispute between land and borders.

    After World War II and the Holocaust, Jews seeking their own country were given a large part of Palestine.

    Arabs already living in the area didn't accept this, so the two parties went to war in 1948.

    In 1967, after another war, Israel occupied the Palestinian areas. Israeli troops have stayed there for years.

  • Caroline MortimerBiden says Israel has ‘a right to defend itself’ from Palestinians as airstrikes pound Gaza killing over 70
  • Caroline Mortimer

    WHAT IS ZIONISM?

    Zionism is “a religious and nationalist ideology”.

    The Zionist movement works for the return of the Jewish people to Israel and the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty there.

    Zionism is a “movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to the historical land of Israel, and thus support for the modern state of Israel”, says BBC News.

    Zionism is Israel’s national ideology, explains Vox.

    It adds: “Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion, and that Jews deserve their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel, in the same way the French people deserve France or the Chinese people should have China.

    “It’s what brought Jews back to Israel in the first place, and also at the heart of what concerns Arabs and Palestinians about the Israeli state.”

  • Caroline Mortimer

    ISRAEL THREATENS INVASION OF GAZA STRIP

    Israel has threatened to invade Gaza as they prepare to intensify operations after “neutralising” 11 Hamas leaders.

    The terror group is “stockpiling enough rockets to bomb Israel for two months” with many fearing that the region is on the brink of all-out war.

    Six high-ranking commanders and a further five key Hamas figures were killed in a series of airstrikes on Wednesday, including Brigadier General Bassem Issa and Jamal Zabda, head of the group's rocket unit, according to the Israeli Defence Force.

    And of the 300 military targets struck, at least 20 of those killed were senior operatives from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    FIRE AND FURY

    The UN has warned Israel is heading for a “full-scale war” in Gaza as Hamas vows “we’re ready” for conflict and riots erupt near Tel Aviv.

    Rockets streamed out of Gaza and Israel pounded the territory with airstrikes this morning in the most deadly outbreak of violence since the 2014 war – with no endgame in sight.

    As the UN Security Council readied for another emergency meeting on the bloody crisis, the UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned that “we’re escalating towards a full-scale war”.

    “Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation,” he said.

  • Caroline Mortimer

    FOREIGN MINISTER DEMANDS HAMAS STOPS ROCKET ATTACKS

    Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said the UK is demanding Hamas stops its rocket attacks as he said de-escalation is the "only way" to stop casualties and deaths in the region.

    "The simple truth is that the only way they can minimise civilian casualties is for the weapons to stop," he told BBC Breakfast.

    "That's why we demand Hamas to stop flying the rockets and we are encouraging a de-escalation so that Israel does not feel the need to make military strikes into Gaza.

    "And that's the only way really that we are going to stop the casualties, stop the injuries and stop the deaths."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHERE DID HAMAS COME FROM?

    Hamas is the largest of several Palestinian militant Islamist groups, explains BBC News.

    Its name is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement – Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya.

    Hamas was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric.

    He became an activist in the local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood after dedicating his early life to Islamic scholarship in Cairo.

    From the late 1960s, Yassin preached and performed charitable work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both of which were occupied by Israeli forces following the 1967 Six-Day War, explains the CFR.

    Yassin established Hamas as the Brotherhood’s local political arm in December 1987.

    This followed the outbreak of the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

    Hamas later emerged at the forefront of armed resistance to Israel.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT IS HAMAS?

    Hamas is a Palestinian militant movement that also serves as one of the territories’ two major political parties, explains the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

    Since 2008, Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza have fought three cross-border wars and have had numerous clashes since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED – ‘GROWING VIOLENCE’ 

    "Unbelievably, Democrats also continue to stand by crazed anti-American Rep. Ilhan Omar, and others, who savagely attack Israel while they are under terrorist assault," he ended.

    Trump's remarks come after the White House condemned ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel.

    The Biden administration has also called for de-escalation in the region after 30 have died in some of the worst violence seen for several years.

    Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that President Joe Biden has been briefed "daily" on the conflict in Jerusalem and Gaza, including a video showing a barrage of rockets striking Tel Aviv earlier today.

    “Since last week he has directed his team to engage intensively with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials as well as leaders throughout the Middle East," Psaki said of the president during her daily briefing.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'GROWING VIOLENCE' 

    Ex-President Donald Trump has blamed the Biden administration for its "weakness and lack of support" for the deadly Hamas rocket attacks against Israel.

    Trump wrote in a website post on Tuesday: "When I was in office we were known as the Peace Presidency because Israel’s adversaries knew that the United States stood strongly with Israel and there would be swift retribution if Israel was attacked.

    "Under Biden, the world is getting more violent and more unstable because Biden’s weakness and lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies," he continued.

    "America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself," the former president continued.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT IS ZIONISM?

    Zionism is a "movement to create a Jewish state in the Middle East, roughly corresponding to the historical land of Israel, and thus support for the modern state of Israel.

    "Anti-Zionism opposes that," says BBC News. Zionism is Israel’s national ideology, explains Vox.

    It adds: "Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion, and that Jews deserve their own state in their ancestral homeland, Israel, in the same way the French people deserve France or the Chinese people should have China.

    "It’s what brought Jews back to Israel in the first place, and also at the heart of what concerns Arabs and Palestinians about the Israeli state."

    The Zionist movement works for the return of the Jewish people to Israel and the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty there.

    The Week describes Zionism as "a religious and nationalist ideology".

    The publication adds that Zionism has "facilitated the creation of a Jewish state in modern-day Israel based on both ancestral and biblical ties to the region."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    ISRAELI PM MAKES STATEMENT ABOUT 'UNACCEPTABLE' LAST FEW DAYS

    In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "what has been happening in the last few days in the cities of Israel is unacceptable".

    "Nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews and nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THE LATEST –

    • Hamas launched an offensive after a 13-storey residential block in the Gaza Strip collapsed
    • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the city of Lod
    • National Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai called the events "unprecedented"
    • Israel unleashed dozens of airstrikes in the course of a few minutes on Wednesday morning
    • The death toll in Gaza rose to 62 Palestinians – including 14 children and five women
    • Five Israelis, including three women and a child, have been killed
    • The UN Security Council plans to hold its second emergency meeting in three days today over the escalating violence

    FIRE AND FURY

    The UN has warned Israel is heading for a "full-scale war" in Gaza as Hamas vows "we're ready" for conflict and riots erupt near Tel Aviv.

    Rockets streamed out of Gaza and Israel pounded the territory with airstrikes this morning in the most deadly outbreak of violence since the 2014 war – with no endgame in sight.

    As the UN Security Council readied for another emergency meeting on the bloody crisis, the UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned that "we're escalating towards a full-scale war".

    "Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation," he said.

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