by Cnaan Liphshiz, Gabe Friedman
(JTA) – Two Israelis and at least 20 Palestinians have died from the ongoing rocket exchanges between the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to multiple reports.
The tensions that spilled over into protests in Jerusalem have escalated into a minor war of rocket fire between Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the Israeli military.
Here’s what happened on Monday:
- At least one residential building in Ashkelon, in southern Israel, was hit by a rocket killing a man and a woman. Another person was seriously injured from a rocket elsewhere on the city and several others were lightly wounded, Ynet reported.
- Police have arrested two Jewish men in Lod for allegedly murdering a young Arab man there in what is being seen as a retaliatory attack for the Gaza rockets and other violence. Videos from the incident Monday night show about a dozen men approaching a car, some of them carrying burning objects that appear to be firebombs. Multiple shots ring out as the men disperse and one of them shouts in Arabic: “He was shot, Allah hu akbar,” or “Allah is the greatest.”
- Police have also arrested dozens of Arabs in connection with rioting in Lod, Haifa and elsewhere in the Negev region. It is the worst wave of Arab rioting in Israel since October 2000, when police killed 13 rioters in a series of clashes that would turn into the second intifada.
- At least a dozen Jewish Israelis have sustained minor injuries in riots carried out by Palestinians that have included hurling rocks at vehicles and arson incidents.
Some background: Since Sunday, Palestinian militants have launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to fire retaliatory strikes into Gaza. At least 20 people have died from the return fire, including a Hamas official on Monday and a ballistic specialist of the Islamic Jihad, Israeli and Palestinian media reported.
Read more about the start of the violence in the JTA explainer.