Bloodshed in the Holy Land continued Tuesday after Israel and militant groups in Gaza exchanged rocket fire, with the recent death toll Tuesday up to at least two Israelis and 28 Palestinians, including 10 children.
In its most intense airstrike to date, Hamas launched over 130 rockets at Israel following an attack on a 13-story building in Gaza, which caused it to collapse.
The latest air bombardment was largely stopped by Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, but some buildings in the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod were struck earlier in the day, reported the Times of Israel.
Videos posted to social media show Hamas rockets fired over Petach Tikvah — a city roughly six miles from Tel Aviv – seemingly blocked by Israel’s missile defense system.
“We are also deeply concerned about the reported loss of life in Gaza and Israel, including the deaths of children, as well as many innocent civilians injured,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “We call on all sides to exercise restraint and to exercise caution.”
“The United States will continue to remain engaged with senior Israeli officials, and Palestinian leadership in the days and weeks ahead,” he added.
Tensions escalated roughly 10 miles south of Tel Aviv in the city of Lod Tuesday night, as Arab and Jewish communities clashed on the streets. Lod Mayor Yair Revivo called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a state of emergency in the city.
“We are in a state of emergency,” he wrote on Twitter. “I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Bnei Gantz to demand that the barriers be lifted and that a closure be imposed in the city of Lod immediately.”
“People could die tonight if the government does not impose a closure on the city in the next hour. Police and army forces are required to arrive immediately to enforce the closure,” he added.
The violence started Monday following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a Jerusalem mosque.
Drone strikes and rocket fire persisted throughout Tuesday, eventually reaching Tel Aviv on Israel’s west coast.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following a “situational assessment, it was decided that both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased.”
“Hamas will receive blows now that it didn’t expect,” he warned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.