Jerusalem, May 11 (EFE).- At least 22 Palestinians, including nine children, have been killed in a wave of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip that came in relation to rocket fire from Palestinian militants.
The health ministry in the enclave said hundreds of others had been injured in the strikes, which coincided with some of the worst violence between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem for years.
The Islamist Hamas group’s armed wing, the Qasam Brigades, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired over 200 rockets into Israel.
The Israeli Defense Forces said they struck 130 “terror targets” in the Gaza Strip, including two attack tunnels and a weapons storage and manufacturing site, adding that they had killed 15 Hamas militants.
The IDF said six Israeli civilians were injured by Hamas rocket fire in the town of Ashkelon, 13 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip.
A military spokesman said 90% of the rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
A number of the rockets were aimed towards Jerusalem, causing the air raid sirens to sound in the city for the first time since 2014.
Hamas, which rules over Gaza, said it was firing the rockets after hundreds of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli security forces outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, the third-holiest site in Islam. It shares the religious compound with Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said late Monday that 395 Palestinian protesters required first aid following the clashes.
One Palestinian man with Israeli citizenship was shot dead during the protests. Local newspaper Haaretz said the alleged assailant, an Israeli citizen, was arrested Tuesday.
On Monday, an Israeli nationalists’ march to mark Jerusalem Day — originally scheduled to pass through Muslim areas of the Old City — had to be rerouted over fears the parade would be targeted.
Jerusalem Day commemorates Israel’s 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of a potential future independent state, but Israel views the whole of the city as its own “eternal and indivisible” capital.
Monday’s unrest came in the wake of daily protests as Palestinian families are facing possible eviction from their homes in nearby Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli authorities to make way for Jewish settlers.
An Israeli Supreme Court hearing on that case slated for Monday has been postponed due to the violence.EFE