JERUSALEM—In a major escalation that could set off a full-blown war, Hamas has just fired rockets at Jerusalem from the Gaza Strip. A 49-year old Israeli woman was wounded. The IDF is currently launching airstrikes against targets in Gaza. Sirens began sounding in the Israeli capital just after 6 p.m. local time.
“I have not heard the sirens go off here in a war-time situation since 2014,” Joel Rosenberg reported from ALL ISRAEL news.
A staff member reports that an Israeli house has been struck by a rocket. We do not want to report the exact location for security purposes. “I see smoke on the hills near us – and the electricity here has been knocked out,” he reported.
ALL ARAB NEWS reports earlier this afternoon, Hamas called for beheading Jews. In a video from a Hamas leader, Fathi Hammad, he called on the Palestinians of Jerusalem to buy knives for five shekels and behead Jews in Jerusalem. Hammad quoted verses from the Qur’an to incite murder against Jews and was surrounded by several Hamas gunmen in the video.
Earlier this afternoon, Al-Qassam Brigades Spokesman Abu Obeida warned Israel it had until 6 p.m. to withdraw from Jerusalem or it would declare war: “The Joint Military Operation Room room gives the Israeli occupation a grace period until today, 1800 hrs, to withdraw his soldiers from Al-Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.”
The sirens warning of incoming rockets sounded around Israel exactly at 6 p.m.
The Knesset was evacuated as the warning sirens sounded.
Seven rockets were fired at Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. Dozens of rockets already fired at Ashdod and Israeli communities surrounding Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces is deploying more troops to the Gaza border and into West Bank.
Islamic Jihad says it has fired 30 rockets at southern Israel. Countless sirens are sounding around southern Israel at this time.
A report from the United Nations said: “Initial report: Security alert/ incident at Erez Crossing area, southern Israel. More updates will follow….. a cornett anti-missile targeted IDF armored vehicle on Gaza borders… IDF denied, however, Palestinian resistance faction confirmed the attack.”
Naftali Bennett, head of the Yamina party and possibly next prime minister: “With Palestinian terrorism, an iron fist must be used. Anyone who puts Israeli residents in shelters should know that he will regret it. We will take determined action.”
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who was just given the mandate to form a government, said, “No country can allow its citizens to live under the threat of terrorism. Israel must act resolutely and strongly and restore deterrence. We will collect the actions of the government in the war against the enemies of Israel.”
Gideon Sa’ar, head of the New Hope party, said: “Hamas’ aggression requires a sharp response to restore deterrence and we will collect government decisions that will lead to this.”
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and UN Gilad Erdan said: “Israel did everything to calm the situation, in coordination with the international community, but Palestinians continue their terror. Israel will defend its citizens and expects the world to hold Palestinians accountable for this violence.”
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem sent out an emergency alert: “Due to recent violent confrontations, upcoming celebrations, and commemorations, the Old City is off-limits to embassy personnel through 8 a.m. on May 16. Embassy personnel in East Jerusalem and City Center advised remaining indoors from 7 p.m.-8 a.m.”