Hundreds of rockets, dozens of dead: why is the conflict between Israel and Hamas flaring up again?

Naher Osten Hundreds of rockets, dozens of dead: why is the conflict between Israel and Hamas flaring up again?

Light trails from rockets launching from two locations on the horizon run through the night sky over a city
Watch the video: Hamas fires rockets Tel Aviv - several Israelis are killed.

In the Israeli coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv there are more Missile attacks the radical Islamic Hamas killed several people. Even early Wednesday morning, several rocket alarms were triggered in the city within a short time. Howling warning sirens and several explosions could be heard. Hamas had already fired 130 rockets at Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening. The Hamas armed arm said it was currently firing projectiles at Tel Aviv and others at the city of Beershev. The attack is a response to the attack by the Israeli military on a high-rise building in the Gaza Strip. Hamas had previously reported the destruction of a nine-story building in the center of Gaza City. In the house were therefore apartments, shops and a local television station. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously stated that Palestinian militants would pay “a very high price” for the rocket attacks. Israel will increase the "strength and frequency" of its air strikes in light of the ongoing shelling. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians had come to a head again in the past few days. According to the Israeli army, militant Palestinians have fired more than 800 rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel since Monday. Israel's air force, for its part, attacked around 500 targets. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the number of Palestinians killed rose to 35, including children and women. More than 200 people were injured. In the days before, there had been riots between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Hundreds of people were injured.

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There have already been three wars between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip since 2008. Is the fourth bloody argument now beginning? Radical Palestinians have been bombarding their neighbors with rockets for days, and the Israeli army is flying attacks. 

Between Israel and the old conflict is escalating again in the Palestinian territories: Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip again fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, and there were more deaths. The Israeli army in turn attacked targets in the coastal strip, there were also fatalities.

Between 2008 and summer 2014 there were three conflicts between Israel and the Hamas given in the Gaza Strip. Shortly before the war in 2014, the two sides' last attempt to negotiate peace failed. The current escalation began in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In Jerusalem - and there in particular on the Temple Mount - Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed several times, hundreds of people are said to have been injured.

Police barriers were one of the reasons for this

Triggers were, among other things, police barriers in the old town and the threat of evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah district by the Israeli authorities. Then early on Monday evening, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip began Raketen shoot down on Israel.

A spokesman for the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip called the attacks a message to the enemy Israel and a "response to its crimes and aggression against the holy city". Several missiles were launched on Monday JerusalemDay, on which Israel commemorates the conquest of the Arab East, including the Old City, during the Six Day War in 1967, also fired in the direction of the city.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw this crossing a red line. He put the Israeli citizens in the mood for a longer conflict. The EU and the US condemned the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Temple Mount: holy place for Jews and Muslims

The status of Jerusalem is one of the central issues in the Middle East conflict. Israel claims Jerusalem as "the eternal and indivisible capital" for itself. For their part, the Palestinians maintain their claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state.

The Temple Mount in the old town with the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque is of outstanding importance for both Jews and Muslims. It is the third holiest site in Islam. At the same time there used to be two Jewish temples, the last of which was destroyed by the Romans in 70. The Western Wall is a remnant of that ruined temple and the holiest place for the Jews.

According to an army spokesman, the Iron Dome defense system intercepted most of the rockets from the Gaza Strip. The "Iron Dome" mobile system developed by Israel is intended to protect the country from missiles. A radar device detects approaching projectiles and forwards the information to a rocket launcher. He launches an interceptor missile in order to destroy the enemy projectile in the air, if possible before the impact.

Editor's note: This article has been updated on May 11th when it was first published.

nik / wue DPA AFP