A confrontation between Israel and Hamas sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem escalated Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets, according to the Associated Press. The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least two Israelis.
The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and airstrikes into the territory continued almost nonstop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war. The fire was so relentless that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system seemed to be overwhelmed. Columns of smoke rose from many places in Gaza.
By late Tuesday, the violence extended to Tel Aviv, which came under fire from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The outgoing volleys set off air raid sirens across the city, and the main international airport quickly closed.
President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing conflict saying he had recently spoken to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“My national security staff and defense staff has been in constant contact with our counterparts, not just with the Israelis but also everyone from the Egyptians to the Saudis to the Emiratis etc…My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner rather than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself amidst thousands of rockets flying into their territory,” said Biden.
The march was billed as an “Emergency Rally for Palestine” outside the Israeli consulate at 42nd Street and Second Avenue in Midtown.