(GAZA) JUST IN: Israel’s military says it has killed a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza, after rockets fired from the territory killed two women in southern Israel #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.12: Israel said the man it targeted was the head of the Islamic Jihad’s rocket unit, and identified him as Samih al-Mamluk:

GAZA: Israel claims assassination of senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, rockets kill two women in Ashkelon: ‘The latest violence came the day after militants in Gaza fired rockets at Jerusalem amid soaring tensions after days of clashes at an iconic mosque in the holy city’

Posted 4h ago, updated 28m ago

Key points:

  • Two women in southern Israel were killed in rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip
  • At least 28 Palestinians have been killed, most in Israeli airstrikes
  • The military escalation follows days of clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem
Israeli airstrike destroys Palestinian building
A Palestinian man stands at the site of an Israeli airstrike.(Reuters: Suhaib Salem)

The military said other senior militants in the organisation were also killed in the same strike.

Islamic Jihad confirmed the three killed in an airstrike on an apartment in Gaza City were senior members of its armed wing.

The militant group vowed retaliation.

Hundreds of mourners later lined Gaza streets to mourn the three men.

Mourners carry the body of a Gazan man slain in Israeli airstrikes.
Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian man slain amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, during his funeral.(Reuters: Mohammed Salem)

Earlier rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip killed two women in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, according to the head of the Magen David ambulance service.

The two were killed in two separate strikes that hit two houses in the city.

Israeli media reported one of the victims was an 80-year-old woman.

The roof of an Israeli house destroyed after Gazan rocket fire.
The roof of a house damaged by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip.(Reuters: Ilan Rosenberg)

Responding to the latest rocket attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would step up its attacks on Gaza.

“At the conclusion of a situational assessment, it was decided that both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased,” he said in video statement.

Rubble littered some Gaza streets early on Tuesday following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Monday.

This round of violence, like previous ones, is being fuelled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

By Tuesday morning, Hamas and other Gaza militants had fired more than 200 rockets into Israel.

An Israeli building with a blown out window after a Gazan rocket attack.
An Israeli police bomb disposal expert looks out from the window of a residential building that was damaged after it was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel May 11, 2021. (Reuters: Amir Cohen)

The Israeli military said it had carried out dozens of air strikes, targeting what it said were Hamas military installations and operatives, killing at least 16 militants.

Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.

More than 700 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and across the West Bank in 24 hours, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals. The Israeli military said six Israeli civilians were hurt by rocket fire.

At least twenty-eight Palestinians have been killed, most in airstrikes, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Islamic nations form united front

In response to the incidents a gathering of representatives of Muslim nations condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. 

The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation was held on Tuesday to present a unified response from the Muslim world.

A building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza.
The site of an Israeli air strike in Gaza City.(Reuters: Mohammed Salem)

In a communiqué, they denounced Israel’s “continuous violations” of the mosque, “barbaric attacks” against worshippers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound.

It said that it considered Israel’s actions a “provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world and a serious violation of international law.” 

It called on the international community to hold Israel liable for the escalation and to press it to halt attacks that threaten “the security and stability of the region.” It also reaffirmed the long-standing Arab stance of support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Palestinians to build up their fighting power to stop Israel’s “brutality”.

“Zionists understand nothing but the language of force, so the Palestinians must increase their power and resistance to force the criminals to surrender and stop their brutal acts,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

International Organisations weigh in

The United Nations is urgently working to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is saddened by “the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres is unacceptable,” Mr Dujarric said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, in a statement to Reuters, called on all sides in the conflict  to de-escalate the violence.

Reuters/AP

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: May.12: 2021:

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