The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is under fire from a barrage of 130 rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
The volleys set off air raid sirens across Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, and Israel’s anti-rocket defense systems were activated.
It is not clear how many rockets were blocked by the Israel Defense Forces’ Iron Dome missile defense system, though shrapnel from projectiles could be seen breaking through.
Earlier Tuesday evening, Israel launched airstrikes into the Gaza Strip after Hamas and other Islamic jihadist militants bombarded multiple locations in Israel with rockets.
The Islamic Jihad vowed to fire rockets into Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city, in retaliation for the attack, which led to the collapse of a 13-story residential building.
“In response to the targeting of residential towers and civilians, your appointment with the resistance’s rockets in the skies of Tel Aviv is at 9 p.m.,” a statement by an Islamic Jihad spokesman said.
In total, it fired 130 rockets, marking its most aggressive strike thus far.
Sirens could be heard blaring across the southern and central parts of Israel on and off for hours as the two exchanged rocket fire. The sound of the outgoing rockets could also be heard in Gaza.
As the rockets made their way up in the skies, mosques across the Strip blared with chants of “God is great,” “Victory to Islam” and “Resistance.”
In Holon, a suburb outside Tel Aviv, a rocket struck a passenger bus. It is unclear how many individuals were on board.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is negotiating with opposition leader Benny Gantz to form a government, has yet to respond to this latest escalation. Nor has Gantz.
In response to rocket fire on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel “will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens, or our soldiers” before vowing to retaliate.
“Israel will respond with great force. We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens, or our soldiers,” he said at the time.
In a tweet in the immediate aftermath of the missile attack, the IDF warned, “One of the 100s of rockets that were just fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv and central Israel exploded on a civilian bus.
“Hamas’ intentions are clear: kill Israeli civilians. We won’t stand by and let this happen.”
Asked about the developing situation during a briefing Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden had “directed his team to engage intensively with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials as well as leaders throughout the Middle East.
“His team is communicating a clear and consistent message in support of de-escalation and that is our primary focus. The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem.”
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