The death toll continues to rise this Sunday as civilian casualties increased on both sides after more than 600 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza in less than 24 hours, in one of the most intense flareups of violence in the region in years.
The barrage of rockets from Gaza started Saturday with Israelis running for bomb shelters as 200 rockets rained down that were fired from the Gaza Strip, according to Israel Defense Forces. And that time, miraculously, no one was killed.
But today, more than 600 rockets rained down on Israel again with three Israelis killed, according to rescue and recovery organizations and hospitals.
Also, four Palestinian militants were killed in airstrikes, according to Gaza health officials, as well as two other Palestinian men, as Israel has so far responded with airstrikes on 260 targets across Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “massive attacks against terrorist elements” in Gaza will continue after militants in the coastal enclave fired approximately 600 rockets towards Israel.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Netanyahu said: “Hamas bears the responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also for the actions of Islamic Jihad, and it is paying a very heavy price for this.”
The UN said it is working with Egypt to try to restore a ceasefire and says both sides are putting at risk efforts to relieve the suffering of people in Gaza.
In response to the rockets, the IDF said it carried out airstrikes against militant targets in Gaza, including a tunnel, rocket launcher sites and other military compounds used by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ.)
The military also struck a mosque in al-Shati in northern Gaza, which the IDF said was used as a command and control center by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Turkey has condemned a strike on a building housing the office of its state-run Anadolu news agency, a building which Israel says is also used by Hamas’s military intelligence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said that he is reinforcing the Israeli presence around the Gaza Strip with armored forces, artillery and infantry.
The heightened tensions come as Israel marks Memorial Day and Independence Day this week, when masses head out to ceremonies at military cemeteries and then street parties across the country. The following week it hosts the Eurovision song contest for which huge numbers of tourists are expected to arrive.
The U.S. State Department strongly condemned the rocket attacks in a statement and called on “those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self defense against these abhorrent attacks.”
The Biblical prophecies (Zechariah 14, Daniel 9) foretell that Israel and Jerusalem will become the focus of the world in the Last Days signaling we are nearing the end of this age and the coming of Jesus Christ.
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