Hamas vows to continue rocket attacks against Israel as Gaza death toll reaches 24

Hamas vows to continue rocket attacks against Israel as Gaza death toll reaches 24
Hamas vowed to continue rocket strikes against Israel following violence on Monday which saw hundreds of Palestinians injured at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and 24 people killed in Gaza.
3 min read
11 May, 2021
Hamas launched rockets towards Israel on Monday and Tuesday [Getty]

Hamas on Tuesday vowed to continue rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza following Monday's violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Gaza-based movement has given the name Seif Al-Quds ("Sword of Jerusalem") to its latest anti-Israel operations.

"We have decided to continue [rocket strikes] as long as the [Israeli] occupation doesn't end all forms of aggression and terrorism in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque," Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas' political bureau said in a brief statement.

The statement followed a day and night of violence, deaths, and injuries in Gaza and Jerusalem.

Health authorities in the Gaza Strip said at least 24 people, including nine children, have been killed by Israeli strikes on the besieged Palestinian enclave, with more than 65 wounded.

Nineteen Israelis were injured in Hamas rocket strikes on the city of Ashkelon north of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Hamas and other Palestinian factions launched rockets on Monday evening towards west Jerusalem and cities in Israel after hundreds of Palestinian worshippers and protesters at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque were injured by Israeli police who stormed the holy site and fired rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas.

Hamas' armed wing, Kataeb Al-Qassam, said that it had used new A120 rockets with "high destructive power" and a range of 120 kilometres in Monday's strikes.  

In his statement, Haniyeh tied Gaza's fate to that of the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

"When Jerusalem called, Gaza answered," he said, adding that Palestinians in Jerusalem "had established a new balance of power".

The Palestinian Red Crescent announced on Monday night that 612 people were injured in the Israeli assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with hospitals in East Jerusalem filling up with wounded people.

Read more: Israel is seeking to turn Arab Jerusalem into a ghetto

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups gave Israel an ultimatum on Monday to withdraw its forces from the mosque by 1500 GMT and launched rockets after it expired.

John Conricus, an Israeli army spokesman, said that over 200 rockets had been fired towards Israel on Monday, claiming that 90 percent were intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" defence system.

He said that the Israeli military had killed 15 "operatives" from Hamas and other Palestinian factions.

Israeli forces withdrew from the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday evening but the situation in the city remains tense.

Palestinians are anticipating the return of Israeli forces and families in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem still face expulsion from their homes.

The violence around the Al-Aqsa Mosque followed a campaign of harassment and intimidation by Israel against Palestinians in Jerusalem coinciding with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Last month, Israeli extremists marched through East Jerusalem under police protection, chanting "Death to Arabs" and assaulting and wounding scores of Palestinians.

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