Speed Reads

crisis in Israel and Gaza

Israeli airstrikes kill senior Hamas figures

The fighting between Israel and Hamas continued on Wednesday, with Israeli airstrikes killing several senior Hamas figures and rockets fired from Gaza leaving four Israelis, including a 6-year-old, dead.

Since the conflict escalated three days ago, 65 Palestinians have been killed, including 16 children, Gaza's Health Ministry said. In Israel, seven people have died.

Israeli airstrikes leveled two high-rise buildings in Gaza that housed Hamas facilities, residential apartments, and businesses. In response, hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, with some traveling as far north as Tel Aviv. An Israeli military spokesman said at least 14 Hamas militants were killed Wednesday, including members of "top management" and weapons experts; Hamas confirmed that a senior commander and several members have been killed.

The fighting began over Israel's planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem. During demonstrations at the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters, and in response, Hamas began firing rockets into Jerusalem on Monday.

In addition to airstrikes and rocket attacks, there has been a surge in acts of violence between Jews and Arabs in cities across Israel, with reports of fighting in the streets and synagogues and Jewish and Arab-owned businesses being torched. In Bat Yam, a suburb of Tel Aviv, ultra-nationalist Israelis pulled a man they thought was Arab out of his car and beat him; he has been hospitalized in serious condition, The Associated Press reports. Israeli police said they arrested roughly 400 people on Wednesday "involved in riots and disturbances."