80 ISRAELI JETS BLAST GAZA TARGETS; 35 PALESTINIANS KILLED
More than 680 rockets were fired upon Israel from Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip throughout Tuesday, as at least 80 Israel warplanes pummeled the tiny coastal territory with airstrikes and the death toll mounted on both sides, Sebastian Engel, Sara Lemel and Maher Abukhater reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
The cross-border violence, which erupted on Monday following weeks of rising tensions in the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel suppressed Muslim worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque and threatened to evict Palestinians from their homes to pave the wave for the entry of settlers, is the worst the region has experienced in years.
The attacks prompted Israel to shut down the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv and suspend classes in all schools. Embattled Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bragged that he will attack more than 500 Gaza targets.
At least 35 Palestinians have been killed in the massive Israeli response to a barrage of rockets that Hamas fighters vowed to unleash if Tel Aviv fails to stop the suppression of worshippers.
At least 10 of those killed by wayward Israeli missiles were children, the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters also reported. Three Israelis, all women, were killed by direct hits of rockets on homes and a car.
In total, Gaza militants aimed around 480 rockets towards Israel over 24 hours. Of these, some 200 were intercepted and 150 failed to properly launch, the Israeli military said Tuesday evening.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which it said were in retaliation for a deadly Israeli strike on a high-rise residential building in the western part of the Gaza Strip. The apartment belonged to a member of Islamic Jihad, according to witnesses, dpa reported.