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Hamas targets Israel settlements in massive rocket attack; raids to grow in scale

Picture taken in the city of Ashkelon on May 11, 2021, shows the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ rocket launch against the occupied territories. (By AP)

The armed wing of Palestine’s Hamas resistance movement has staged a massive rocket launch against the occupied territories, with attacks expected to still grow in scale and extent.

The Palestinian Information Center reported on Tuesday that the barrage targeted the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon that lie to the north of the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas.

The rocket launch saw as many as 137 of the projectiles being flown towards the cities in just five minutes, the Hamas’ branch said.

“In response to the enemy’s action to target the houses and members of the resistance, we staged the biggest-ever attack against” the cities, it noted.

The regime’s so-called Iron Dome missile system reportedly intercepted some of the rockets, but some directly hit the buildings in the targeted areas.

According to Israeli media, two were killed in the rocket barrage and more than 80 others injured.

Earlier, the Israeli air force took areas in the north and south of the Gaza Strip under fire, killing at least 26 Palestinians, including nine children. 

The bloodletting was the worst to hit the enclave in a relatively long period of time. It came amid the occupying regime’s early Ramadan-present brutal crackdown on Palestinian worshipers in the holy occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds and its attempts to force Palestinians out of the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The coastal sliver’s resistance factions have announced “Operation al-Quds Sword” in retaliation for the Israeli aggression in al-Quds. They have specified the city’s liberation from Israeli occupation as the goal of the operation.

Before the Tuesday strike against Ashdod and Ashkelon, the groups fired hundreds of rockets against the occupied territories, some flying as far as al-Quds itself.

According to the Israeli army, until Tuesday noon, a whopping 360 rockets had been flown towards the occupied territories, a sheer 250 of them passed right through the Iron Dome. The army acknowledged that this clearly indicated Hamas’ readiness.

The Israeli outlets also noted how the situation governing the occupying regime had caused the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to suffer a plunge.

Amid the explosive situation surrounding the occupied territories, the Israeli army asked the settlers in Ashkelon to remain in rocket shelters until further notice.

‘We stand up for our people as long as aggression persists’

Hamas’ spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group’s struggle was to last as long as the aggressor kept up its atrocities.

He said the enemy’s efforts to break down the resistance’s will or change the equations that the resistance has imposed on it, were all doomed to fail.

Barhoum noted that the occupier was suffering from various challenges that it was trying to evade by projecting them onto the Palestinians, adding, however, that the movement would keep standing right by the Palestinians’ side.

Israeli war minister orders more attacks on Gaza

Also on Tuesday, Israeli minister for military affairs Benny Gantz ordered continuation of the aggression against Gaza. 

He requested both an artillery buildup around the strip and call-up of 5,000 reservists to assist the crackdown across the occupied territories.

Israeli media outlets have reported that the regime has been mobilizing more artillery units and tanks towards Gaza’s border.

According to Sky News Arabia, Gantz’s decisions followed his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other security officials.

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