Gaza militants fire rockets at Jerusalem; Israel responds with airstrike nine dead.

Gaza military air attack

Gaza military air attack

Gaza officials say 20 people were killed in the airstrikes. In Jerusalem, the rocket fire caused Israel's parliament to be evacuated as sirens sounded.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians spiraled in recent days.

The escalation followed clashes between the Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.Weeks of simmering tensions in Jerusalem between Palestinian protesters, the police, and right-wing Israelis. On Monday, Gaza's Hamas rulers had threatened to strike after hundreds of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem. After a raid by the Israeli police on the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem left hundreds of Palestinians and a score of police officers wounded, militants in Gaza responded by firing a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem, drawing Israeli airstrikes in return.

The catalyst for the escalation was the conflict over recent Israeli efforts to remove Palestinians from strategic parts of the city. Israel said it had killed at least three Hamas militants. "We have started, and I repeat started, to attack military targets in Gaza," Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus told reporters. Hamas sources told the BBC a commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Abdullah Fayyad, had been killed. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had "crossed a red line" and that Israel would respond "with great force."US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Hamas needed to end the rocket attacks "immediately," adding: "All sides need to de-escalate.

"The past few days have seen the worst violence in Jerusalem for years, with more than 300 Palestinians wounded in confrontations with Israeli police outside the al-Aqsa mosque on Monday.

 

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