Video shows Iron Dome interceptors filling the sky as more than 100 rockets rain down on Israel
- The Israel Defense Forces released video Tuesday of its Iron Dome system shooting down rockets.
- Hamas fired the rockets amid heightened tensions and fighting that has already killed dozens.
- Long-standing tensions were recently stoked by planned evictions of Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a video of its Iron Dome air defense system filling the sky with interceptors as more than 100 rockets rained down on Tel Aviv and central Israel Tuesday evening, the latest in a string of rocket attacks over the past couple of days.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas soared this week as Palestinian militants began firing rockets at Israel on Monday evening and Israel conducted airstrikes on targets in Gaza in a serious escalation of violence.
The recent fighting appears to be some of the most intense since the 2014 conflict, and it has already left dozens dead, The Associated Press reported. While there have been losses on both sides, the majority of the casualties have been on the Palestinian side, and the dead include both combatants and civilians.
During the fighting on Tuesday, an Israeli airstrike struck a high-rise office and residential building controlled by Hamas. Though occupants were warned to evacuate, an IDF spokesman said that "we expect that this powerful attack on the high-rise building, which shook all of Gaza, will lead to extensive shooting toward Israel," according to Haaretz.
-Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) May 11, 2021
"The Al-Qassam Brigades has launched the largest missile strike on Tel Aviv and its environs, with 130 missiles, in response to the enemy's targeting of civilian high-rises," Hamas said in a statement Tuesday evening, The Times of Israel reported.
The IDF posted a video of its defense of the city and the surrounding area on Twitter.
-Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
Another angle of the defense of Tel Aviv was posted by a former IDF spokesperson.
-Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) May 11, 2021
Israel's Iron Dome is a short-range air-defense system designed to intercept rockets, artillery, and mortars. The system has been in use since 2011 and has helped reduce casualties from rocket attacks against Israeli cities.
The air-defense system was developed by the Israeli defense firms Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries with support from the US. It works alongside the David's Sling and Arrow interceptors, which are in place to counter medium- and long-range threats.
It is considered a very effective system, with a reported success rate of more than 90%, but it is not impenetrable. Some rockets have made it through and resulted in deaths.
-Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
The video posted Tuesday was not the first video of the Iron Dome defending against recent rocket attacks. On Monday, IDF posted on its official Twitter account video of its defense against a Hamas rocket attack on Ashkelon.
-Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 10, 2021
The recent escalation in violence, coming during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is driven by a number of historic and immediate factors.
Long-standing territorial-control issues remain at the center of much of the animosity, but more recently, the planned evictions of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem has stoked tensions and sparked demonstrations.
Prior to the latest exchange of fire, Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites. Police fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas in the compound, Reuters reported. While 21 officers were wounded, over 300 Palestinians were injured in the process, according to Palestine Red Crescent Society.
At least 28 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli airstrikes Tuesday, including ten children and a woman, The Associated Press reported. At least three Israelis have been killed by the rockets fired by militant groups in Gaza. Injuries from the fighting are reported to be in the hundreds.
"Any loss of civilian life is deeply lamentable, whether it is an Israeli life or a Palestinian life," Ned Price, a US State Department spokesman, stated Tuesday, adding, "That is why we continue to call for calm, continue to call on all sides to de-escalate and exercise restraint."
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel would "increase both the intensity of the attacks and the rate of attacks." In a later statement, he said Hamas "will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence."
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