Fewer Rockets Fired Overnight Tuesday

EVENING UPDATE

For the second day in a row, Hamas fired a mortar barrage at the Kerem Shalom crossing, halting the transfer of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. Insult was added to injury when UNRWA accused Israel of preventing the aid from entering. So Israel’s Foreign Ministry replied:

“UNRWA’s claim that Israel is preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza
is a cynical misrepresentation and simply a lie.”

US President Joe Biden is reported to have told Benjamin Netanyahu to move towards de-escalation. But in a speech to Israelis, Netanyahu said only that he greatly appreciates Biden’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself, and added:

“I am determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved
— to bring back peace and security to you, the citizens of Israel.”

 

MORNING REPORT

The IDF says another 50 rockets were launched at Israel overnight. That total is lower than in the previous few nights, perhaps indicating Israel’s strikes are reducing the terrorists’ capabilities.

Rockets fired from Gaza 18th May 2021Rockets fired from Gaza 18th May 2021 (photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP)

Hamas’ health ministry says that 219 Gazans have been killed in the current fighting and claims that 63 of them are minors. But there does not seem to be any way of confirming those numbers. It also says that 1,530 people have been wounded.

Israel says that at least 150 of the fatalities are members of Palestinian terror groups, and that many of the civilian casualties were caused by hundreds of errant Hamas rockets that fell short inside the Gaza Strip.

Over the last nine days, nearly 3,500 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, with as many as 500 falling short – a surprisingly large proportion.

Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom report Israel’s casualties as 12 dead and more than 330 injured. The two latest casualties were workers from Thailand killed in a direct hit on a packing house in a community close to the Gaza border. Both were in their 30s.

The IDF reports that 52 Israeli planes dropped 122 bombs on 40 underground targets overnight. Those targets include parts of the ‘Hamas metro’, weapons storage facilities and a command centre.

After that series of night-time strikes, the IDF struck another site in Deir el-Balah in the central part of the Gaza Strip this morning, targeting a weapons manufacturing facility run by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

It seems Hamas is becoming aware of international criticism of its indiscriminate rocket fire targeting civilians. It has claimed that several rocket barrages fired late Tuesday and early Wednesday were aimed at Israeli Air Force bases.

The IDF says there were no hits on those bases.