Israel orders troop reinforcements as hostilities ramp up


PTI, May 11, 2021, 6:18 PM IST

Gaza City: The Israeli army said in a statement that the chief of staff has called in troop reinforcements in the country’s south as hostilities in Gaza press into a second day.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has ordered the mobilisation of 5,000 reserve troops to expand the current campaign “and deepen home front defence.”

Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza early Tuesday, hitting the high-rise home of a Hamas field commander and two border tunnels dug by militants, as Hamas and other armed groups fired dozens of rockets toward Israel.

The escalation in the conflict was sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem.

Since sundown Monday when the cross-border attacks began, 24 Palestinians — including nine children — were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, Gaza health officials said.

The Israeli military said 15 of the dead were militants.

During the same period, Gaza militants fired more than 250 rockets toward Israel, injuring six Israeli civilians in a direct hit on an apartment building.

The exchange of fire was preceded by hours of clashes Monday between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, including dramatic confrontations at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a sacred site to both Jews and Muslims.

In fighting in the contested city and across the West Bank, more than 700 Palestinians were hurt, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals.

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