Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired a steady barrage of indiscriminate missiles into Israel since the expiry of an ultimatum the terrorist groups issued to Israel on Monday evening local time, the IDF said.
It has been over 24 hours since the firing began, yet rockets are still being fired into Israel. Around 300 rockets have been reported so far. And this number is only the estimate on Tuesday afternoon local time.
Israel is preparing to call 5,000 reserve troops to defend the country in case of any escalation, according to the Times of Israel.
The hail of rockets Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza fired caused “code red” sirens to sound throughout Israel. The sirens notify Israelis that they have 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter before the rocket impacts.
Multiple areas in Ashdod and Ashkelon have been hit by the most recent barrage of missiles fired by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.
Prior to the most recent barrage, Israel conducted strikes that destroyed terror tunnels and infrastructure and killed multiple Palestinian militants in Gaza, and children, according to the Associated Press. Around 24 people, including militants, civilians, and children have been killed in Gaza.
When the barrage began on Monday evening, the Israeli Parliament, called the Knesset, was forced to evacuate mid-session while it was commemorating the fall of Nazi Germany.
According to data from the Israeli rocket warning system Cumta, the militants launched dozens of rockets into multiple civilian areas in Southern Israel, as well as into the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.
Major cities included Sderot, Ashkelon, and Beit Shemesh. In addition, communities neighboring Gaza, such as Sderot, have been sprayed with multiple rounds of fire.
Regarding the first round of rockets, which targeted Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that “seven rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory. One of the rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System.”
Once the threat subsided, some Israeli lawmakers returned to the Knesset, Times of Israel reported.
רוב שוכני משכן הכנסת פונו למרחב מוגן, באזור הסמוך ללשכת יו”ר הכנסת pic.twitter.com/ruy3PZZAJf— ערוץ כנסת (@KnessetT) May 10, 2021
According to reporting and footage obtained by Times of Israel Breaking News Editor Emanuel Fabian, one of the rockets, which was aimed at Jerusalem, hit a neighborhood near the city.
More footage from the Gaza rocket impact near Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/rGiiusGrxw— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) May 10, 2021
The IDF also reported that militants in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile at a civilian vehicle in Sderot, lightly injuring the civilian inside, who has since been hospitalized for further treatment.
Earlier on Monday, following a riot which featured clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al Aqsa yard on the Temple Mount, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement threatening Israel, saying, “The resistance is ready and motivated, and will not stand idly by, and its word will be the final word in the battle if the Zionist occupation does not retreat and put an end to its satanic plans in the occupied city of Jerusalem.”
In preparation for attacks from Gaza, the IDF had announced a lockdown of civilian areas, such as a beach and entire roads near Gaza. Troops were being asked to be prepared and ready for a potential confrontation with Gaza.
At 4:40 p.m. local time in Israel (9:50 a.m. Eastern), Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida had conveyed an ultimatum issued by the “Common Room” addressed to Israel.
The “Common Room,” or the Palestinian “Joint Operations Room,” is a group of Gazan terrorist groups that act like a “quasi-army” fighting Israel, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In the ultimatum, the group demanded that Israel removes soldiers and Israeli civilians from the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. They also asked for the release of those detained during violent overnight clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police officers in Jerusalem since the beginning of Ramadan.
The group said Israel had until 6:00 p.m. local time to meet those demands, though they were unlikely to be ever be met. Once the 6:00 p.m. deadline passed, the groups had begun their attacks.
“The Hamas terrorist organization is accountable for all that is done in and from the Gaza Strip toward the State of Israel, and it will therefore bear the consequences for the violence committed against the country’s citizens,” Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced in a statement, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In response to the barrage of rockets, Israel has reportedly closed the Erez border crossing on the border with Gaza until further notice. Only for humanitarian and exceptional cases will crossings be allowed, according to The Post.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.