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Death toll climbs as violence between Israeli forces and Hamas escalates

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Israel launched new airstrikes into Gaza on Tuesday, leveling an evacuated 13-story residential building, while “hundreds” of rockets from Palestinian militants reportedly hit southern Israel and extended the violence to Tel Aviv, according to CNN.

Since Monday, at least 28 Palestinians — including ten children — have been killed, say Palestinian officials, and at least three Israeli women were also killed in the first Israeli deaths in this current standoff.

The exchanges between the two sides represent “some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war,” according to AP.

On Monday, Israeli police fired stun grenades in the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites, and Palestinian demonstrators threw stones at police.

On Tuesday, Palestinian militants launched rockets into Israel in response to the incident in Jerusalem, CNN reports. Israeli PM Netanyahu promised to “further increase force.”

Even before the two Israeli deaths, the Israeli military said it was sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border and the defense minister ordered the mobilization of 5,000 reserve soldiers.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the ongoing violence. After meeting with senior officials, Netanyahu said that Israeli forces will “further increase force and pace of the attacks” and that “we still have a way to go.”

Israeli police fired stun grenades inside the Al-Aqsa mosque, and Palestinian demonstrators threw stones at police on Monday. Hundreds of Palestinians and around 30 police were injured, according to reports.

Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem before Israel launched airstrikes against what it said was militant targets in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds were injured as violence escalated at Al-Aqsa mosque.

Monday began with early-morning confrontations at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s walled Old City on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – the most sensitive site in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Tensions have been building through Ramadan. As Ramadan began, clashes erupted nightly between police and Palestinians protesting against security barriers outside Damascus Gate which had prevented them from gathering there.

Palestinian anger was further exacerbated by a march by ultra-nationalist Jewish extremists close to the same area held in protest at a spate of videos posted on social media showing Palestinians assaulting ultra-Orthodox Jews in the city, and by revenge assaults on Palestinians by Jewish extremists.

Then on April 16, the first Friday of Ramadan, tensions escalated further when Israel imposed a 10,000-person limit on prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were turned away.

Four Palestinian families are facing eviction by Jewish settler organizations in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The impending expulsion has sparked protests and renewed clashes in Israel.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on parties to “de-escalate, reduce tensions and take practical steps to calm things down.”

Lois Lane

Lois Lane is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Daily Planet. The daughter of General Sam Lane, she grew up learning hand-to-hand combat and survival techniques. After being hired by Perry White at the Daily Planet, Lois coined the name "Superman" and, because of incisive reporting on the Super Hero's incredible adventures, her career is forever linked to the Man of Steel. She remains one of Superman's strongest allies.

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