Fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies, with dozens dead

Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel.
(Image credit: Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

The fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated on Tuesday to levels not seen since the 50-day war in the summer of 2014.

An Israeli airstrike targeting an apartment building in Gaza City left three senior members of the Islamic Jihad militant group dead, as well as 10 children and a woman, The Associated Press reports. Another airstrike destroyed a 12-story building that housed Hamas offices; because warning shots were fired, civilians were able to flee, and no casualties have been reported. At least 35 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the fighting began, AP says.

Hamas started firing rockets into Israel on Monday, and in response to Tuesday's Israeli airstrikes, launched hundreds more into the country, killing three women and injuring dozens more. One rocket hit a bus in Holon, wounding three people, including a young girl. There have also been reports in cities across Israel of synagogues, Jewish-owned business, and cars owned by Arabs being set on fire.

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The current conflict began last week after Palestinians held demonstrations against Israel's planned evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Over the course of several days, Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews. Police used tear gas and stun grenades inside the mosque, and the Palestinians in turn threw stones and chairs at officers.

During a televised address Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has fired at hundreds of targets, and Hamas and smaller militant groups "have paid, and I tell you here, will pay a heavy price for their aggression." He added that the "campaign will take time. With determination, unity, and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel." Qatar, Egypt, and the United Nations are trying to work out a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

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