Sun, 20 Jun 2021

Jerusalem [Israel], May 12 (ANI): Two women, including an Indian were killed and dozens were injured after the Hamas Islamist movement in Gaza fired massive barrages of rockets at southern Israel on Tuesday, which prompted retaliatory airstrikes from Israeli forces.

Among the deceased was a 32-year-old Indian caregiver, Soumya Santosh. Soumya was killed while her elderly charge, 80, was hospitalised in serious condition after one of the rockets struck her home, The Times of Israel reported citing local media.

Santosh is survived by her husband and nine-year-old daughter.

The deaths marked the first fatalities in Israel in the round of fighting with Gaza terrorist groups that began Monday evening, which has seen hundreds of rockets fired at Israeli territory and retaliatory airstrikes from Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, Hamas said that it fired 137 rockets in around five minutes in an apparent attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defense system. Less than an hour later, the two women were killed in an apparently separate attack.

According to The Times of Israel, a technical issue with an Iron Dome battery during the massive rocket barrage toward the coastal city prevented some rockets from being intercepted and may have been responsible for the casualties.

The Israel Defence Forces instructed residents to remain in reinforced areas following a number of buildings in the city suffering direct hits throughout the day.

Over 630 rockets were fired at Israel from Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon, 200 of which were intercepted by Iron Dome missile defence batteries while 150 others fell short of their targets and landed inside the Strip, according to the army.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint and calibrate use of force in Gaza.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza," according to a statement.

Earlier on Monday, at least 20 people were killed in Palestine after Israeli forces launched retaliatory airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Monday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

This came after Palestinian terror groups reportedly launched a massive barrage of rockets towards Israel.

This incident marked a major escalation of violence from the enclave signaling the possible start of a wider conflict, reported The Times of Israel.

The country has been embroiled in conflict over the impending eviction of dozens of Palestinians from East Jerusalem's neighbourhood.

Over 70 Palestinians in total are set to be evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in the coming weeks to be replaced by right-wing Jewish Israelis. The Palestinians live in houses built on land that courts have ruled were owned by Jewish religious associations before the establishment of Israel in 1948, reported The Times of Israel.

Over 300 Palestinians have been injured in the riots, several of them seriously hurt by rubber-tipped bullets in the head, eye and jaw.

On Sunday, US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan spoke to Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat to express the United States' serious concerns about the situation in Jerusalem, evictions of Palestinians, including violent confrontations at the Haram al-Sharif /Temple Mount during the last days of Ramazan. (ANI)

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