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Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Dozens of Rockets Fired From Gaza Strip Towards Israeli Cities

The situation in Israel has been escalating over the past few days, with violent clashes in Jerusalem and constant exchanges of fire between the Israeli military and Hamas engulfing the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the militants are going to pay a "high price" for the attacks, blaming them for the hostilities.

As tensions are flaring up, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin voiced the United States' "ironclad" support for Israel’s right to defend itself and its people.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in turn, condemned the rocket attacks and stressed that the United States will continue to engage with all sides. He noted that a senior US diplomat is scheduled to travel to the region to engage on the issue.

Follow our live feed to find out more!

Table of contents
12:54 GMT 12.05.2021
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03:34 GMT 13.05.2021
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2020 file photo, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin delivers a speech during a special meeting of the German Parliament Bundestag commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, in Berlin, Germany - Sputnik International, 1920
Israel’s Rivlin Implores Israelis to Stop ‘Madness’ as Gaza Strip Tensions Soar
03:27 GMT 13.05.2021
In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, surface-to-surface missiles and a portrait of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in an exhibition marking the anniversary of outset of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran. - Sputnik International, 1920
IRGC Pledges 'More Powerful' Support to Palestinians Amid Confrontation Surge in Gaza
02:12 GMT 13.05.2021
01:35 GMT 13.05.2021
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks a meeting of the PLO executive committee and a Fatah Central Committee at the Palestinian Authority headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Abbas Tells Blinken About Need to End Israel's Aggression Against Palestinians - Report
01:12 GMT 13.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of people, who were killed by the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, has risen to 67, the enclave's Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

The list of the victims includes 17 children, according to the ministry.

The Israeli strikes also left 388 Palestinians injured, including 115 children and 50 women.

00:44 GMT 13.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A Palestinian has been shot dead by Israeli servicemen south of the city of Nablus in the West Bank, Palestinian media reported.

The incident took place near the village of Madama on Wednesday, the WAFA news agency reported, citing the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that the servicemen had thwarted an attack on a military post by killing the suspected assailant.

"An initial report regarding a shooting attack adjacent to the city of Nablus was received. There are 2 injured at the scene. The assailant was neutralized by our troops," the IDF wrote on its Twitter page.

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TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called Hamas Islamists, who control the Gaza Strip, a threat to the wider region.

"They are trying to put the Palestinian Authority at risk and risk to destabilize the entire region, not only Israel, and the countries around us," Lior Haiat, a ministerial spokesperson, said at a news briefing.

19:44 GMT 12.05.2021
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CAIRO (Sputnik) - Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) said on Wednesday, amid the escalation of the conflict with Israel, that the Palestinians would take all measures to protect themselves and would study various options to guarantee this.

In a speech to the media in Ramallah, Abbas said that Jerusalem "was, will and will remain Palestinian and Islamic."

"The call from Jerusalem unites us. Let's put all our differences aside," the president said.

Abbas also noted that the Palestinians "will continue to exercise the right to self-defense, as well as the protection of shrines," until "the overthrow of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem."

"We will continue to do our best to protect our people and remove the hands of this occupation from our people and their shrines, today we will explore all options that will guarantee this," the PNA head said.

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“The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority. Due to the current situation in Israel, we cancelled round trip flights to Tel Aviv on May 11 and May 12,” spokesperson Maddie King told Sputnik on Wednesday.

17:09 GMT 12.05.2021
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony for fallen soldiers of Israel's wars at the Yad Lebanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, April 13, 2021. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS - Sputnik International, 1920
'This is Only the Beginning': Netanyahu Vows to 'Inflict Blows That Hamas Has Not Dreamt Of'
16:55 GMT 12.05.2021
16:54 GMT 12.05.2021
16:49 GMT 12.05.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United States is the only UN Security Council member state that expressed opposition to the adoption of a press statement expressing concern about the situation in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, a source at the UN Security Council told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the UN Security Council held a closed emergency meeting to address the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The only party blocking the adoption of the elements is the United “States,” the source said.

The statement, which was seen by Sputnik, urged exercising maximum restraint and immediately ceasing all acts of violence.

The Security Council members reiterated in the statement their support for a two-state solution and called for intensifying diplomatic efforts toward achieving that end.

According to another source at the United Nations, a US envoy at the closed UN Security Council meeting said a press statement was not necessary at this time as Washington had been in contact with both parties and remained fully engaged to decrease violence.

The United States also expressed concern about the escalating situation and emphasized that Israel and Palestine must both refrain from violence, the source said.

The US Mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request to clarify its position on adopting the UN Security Council statement.

16:44 GMT 12.05.2021

"Israel is under a terrorist attack. It is coordinated and planned by the terrorist group Hamas. It targets millions of civilians in Israel," Lior Haiat, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday.

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"We are deeply concerned about what we're seeing there [West Bank and Gaza] images that came out overnight are harrowing and the loss of any civilian life is a tragedy", Blinken said during a briefing. "We fully support Israel's legitimate right to defend itself. Then, and I condemn again the rocket attacks in the strongest possible terms. I believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live with safety and security, and will continue to engage with Israelis, Palestinians and other regional partners, to urge the escalation, and to bring calm".

15:54 GMT 12.05.2021

"(Austin) reiterated the importance of all involved parties to take steps to restore calm", Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

15:41 GMT 12.05.2021

"Abu Marzouq, on behalf of the Hamas leadership, assured that the Movement is ready to stop any military actions against Israel on a reciprocal basis on the understanding that the international community will exert the necessary pressure on the Israeli side to suppress military actions in the Al-Aqsa mosque complex in East Jerusalem and unlawful measures against its indigenous Arab inhabitants", the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

15:32 GMT 12.05.2021
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Masked Palestinian Hamas gunmen attend a funeral for six of their fighters who were killed in an explosion Saturday, in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip - Sputnik International, 1920
Hamas Says Several Top Military Commanders Have Been Killed in Israeli Strikes
14:54 GMT 12.05.2021
Palestinians run away from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Monday, May 10, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Palestinians ‘Stockpiled Fireworks’ Near Al-Aqsa Mosque Ahead of Last Week’s Unrest, Report Says
14:32 GMT 12.05.2021
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The building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Ostankino TV Tower before the illumination was turned off as part of the Earth Hour environmental campaign. - Sputnik International, 1920
Russia Condemns Violence Against Civilians in Israel, Palestine, Foreign Ministry Says
14:17 GMT 12.05.2021
14:14 GMT 12.05.2021
China Expresses Deep Concern Over Escalation of Palestinian-Israeli Tensions, Special Envoy on Middle East Says
13:29 GMT 12.05.2021

Matteo Salvini, the former interior minister of Italy and the leader of the Lega party, called on Wednesday on the Italian government to support Israel in the ongoing clashes with Palestinians and condemn "Islamist violence".

"A propos, I expect a firm condemnation of this aggression also from the Italian government ... Long live Israel which is defending its right to exist, long live peace and co-existence between people", Salvini said as quoted by Ansa English News.

The recent unrest in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court's decision to evict several Palestinian families from the area prompted a major confrontation on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. At least 43 Palestinians were killed and about 300 injured. Israel reported 5 killed and over 200 injured.

13:12 GMT 12.05.2021

The commander is the highest-ranking militant to be killed since the 2014 Gaza war.

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The international community must step in to resolve the current escalation between Palestinians and Israel, as a new approach is in urgent demand to tackle the "disaster", Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal said on Wednesday.

"Palestinian society, the Palestinian state, will stand firm and steadfast in defence of its positions. I think the current situation in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in Israel itself, requires international involvement. What is needed is a new international vision, a new United Nations position. Why is the international community doing nothing new? This is a disaster. Efforts must be made", Nofal told a press conference.

The diplomat argued that the policy that Israel is pursuing is contrary to its own interest, which is to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

"Any military escalation can only lead to more violence, deaths of civilians, destruction of towns and villages. That's why we stand for the end of violence, for the international community and the UN to speak out now with determination, so that no more civilian blood will be spilled", the ambassador added.

The UN Security Council is set to meet behind closed doors on Wednesday morning to discuss the developments in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, a diplomatic source in the Security Council told Sputnik.

11:57 GMT 12.05.2021
Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City near Barcelona Park and multiple government places, one of the biggest air strikes on the Gaza Strip, early on May 12, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Situation in Gaza Amid Raging Hostilities Between Israelis and Palestinians
11:55 GMT 12.05.2021

“The sight of the pogrom in Lod and the disturbances across the country by an incited and bloodthirsty Arab mob, injuring people, damaging property and even attacking sacred Jewish spaces is unforgivable”, Rivlin says. “Tearing down the Israeli flag by Arab rioters and replacing it with the Palestinian flag is a brutal assault on shared existence in the State of Israel.”

11:51 GMT 12.05.2021

"We still believe that both sides must find the strength within themselves, come up with a solution to the well-known problem, relying on, first of all, the relevant resolutions of the Security Council", Peskov told reporters, adding that Russia is concerned over growing number of civilian casualties in the conflict.

11:47 GMT 12.05.2021

“We are using all our strength to protect the country from enemies on the outside and rioters on the inside”, Netanyahu said.

11:24 GMT 12.05.2021

"The German government condemns these incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities in the strongest terms", Angela Merkel's spokesperson said. 

11:16 GMT 12.05.2021

"The army will continue to attack to bring a total, long-term quiet. Only when we reach that goal will we be able to speak about a truce", Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz said.

10:42 GMT 12.05.2021

Jordan and Palestine hope that Russia will play a role in de-escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Jordanian Ambassador to Russia Khaled Shawabkeh said on Wednesday.

"We do not just ask Russia, we tell the Russian government that we need your help, we need you to increase pressure on Israel to make it stop the aggression against Palestine and stop violating international humanitarian law and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. We do not just ask for mediation, we ask to increase the pressure on Israel to make it stop the aggression", Shawabkeh said at a press conference.

According to the ambassador, Jordan and Palestine are "ready for negotiations and always seek peace that would be acceptable for all Palestinians."

"We are ready to negotiate with the Israelis and agree on peace", Shawabkeh added.

10:32 GMT 12.05.2021

Palestine is afraid that the situation in East Jerusalem can spiral out of control and hopes that Arab nations and the international community in general will make Israel revise its policy, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal said on Wednesday.

Nofal slammed Israel's policy on Palestinian settlements in East Jerusalem as "racist."

"We are afraid that the events can fully get out of control and I hope now that the attitude of the Arab nations and the international community will somehow make Israel stop this policy", Nofal said at a press conference.

"Even if Israel improves relations with all Arab states but does not improve relations with Palestine, there will still be a risk of crisis emergence", the ambassador noted.

10:26 GMT 12.05.2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed the situation in East Jerusalem during a phone conversation on Wednesday and expressed concern over the clashes and the growing number of fatalities, the Kremlin said.

The two presidents also noted that Moscow and Ankara support a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on international law.


09:41 GMT 12.05.2021
Israeli firefighters check out a burnt bus in the Israeli town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets are launched towards Israel from the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement - Sputnik International, 1920
Hamas Leader Claims 'Victory in the Battle for Jerusalem' Amid Israeli-Palestinian Escalation
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