Vatican News
Smoke billows following Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on Wednesday Smoke billows following Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on Wednesday  (AFP or licensors)

Fighting intensifies in Gaza and Israel

Violence escalates in Tel Aviv and Gaza Wednesday as the United Nations raises fears the situation could spiral out of control.

By Vatican News staff reporter

Rocket fire lit up the night sky in the early hours of Wednesday morning as violence escalated between Israel and Hamas.

Israel carried out scores of air strikes in Gaza while Palestinian militants fired multiple rockets at Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba.

Six people have been killed in Israel and at least 43 in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday.

Damage and destruction

In the Hamas controlled enclave, a residential tower block collapsed after those inside were evacuated. Another building was badly damaged, after heavy bombardment.

Meanwhile, an Israeli was killed when an anti-tank guided missile, fired from the northern Gaza Strip, struck a jeep on the border.

Israel said air strikes had targeted and killed several of the Islamist group Hamas's intelligence leaders early on Wednesday.

Fears of all-out war

These exchanges between Israel and Hamas are the heaviest since a 2014 war in Gaza, and at the UN, there are fears that this latest escalation could led to all-out war.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said the United Nations was working with all sides to restore calm, while the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said he was "gravely concerned" by the ongoing offensive.

Simmering tensions

The escalation of violence follows weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Both sides have been using strong rhetoric amid the exchanges. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said militants would pay a "very heavy" price for the rocket attacks.

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, "If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready, if they want to stop, the resistance is ready."

12 May 2021, 16:12