If you're wondering what exactly is happening between Israelis and Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sums it up plainly: "We are in the midst of a significant operation." The AP describes it as the "worst fighting since the 2014 Gaza war," with CNN describing the airstrikes unleashed by both sides: hundreds of rockets flew into Israel Tuesday night by way of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, with the numbers at times overwhelming Israel's missile defenses; the Israeli military pumped up its airstrikes in response. That continued in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with warning sirens heard around 3am as rockets were sent toward Tel Aviv.
- The BBC provides a slew of numbers: hundreds of airstrikes carried out by Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday; more than 1,000 rockets fired by Hamas in a 38-hour period (though 200 of them fell short and landed in Gaza); and a death toll that includes 43 Palestinians (13 of them children) and six Israelis since Monday.
- Israel destroyed two residential tower blocks in the Gaza Strip, with civilians having had been told in advance to evacuate. Hamas, for its part, described its fury at "the enemy's targeting of residential towers," and the AP notes that Israel engaged in the same tactic, to heavy criticism, in 2014.
- The Guardian notes that since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007, Israel and Hamas have engaged in three wars, "which were largely seen as failures for both sides, with Hamas still in power and Israel continuing to maintain a crippling blockade."
- A journalist in Gaza City described this as much worse, per the BBC: "What is happening is unbelievable. What we experienced this morning was more war than what we lived during the last three wars."
- As for the genesis of the fighting, the BBC traces it to a holy hilltop site in East Jerusalem—the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews. Hamas has insisted that Israeli police exit the site as well as the nearby Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Rockets were launched when Israel did not comply.
- The UN Security Council will on Wednesday hold its second closed-door emergency meeting in three days to discuss the situation. As for the US response, White House rep Jen Psaki said Tuesday that President Biden is focusing on de-escalation. Reuters quotes her as saying that Biden's support for "Israel's security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver," and that "Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith around the world, must be a place of co-existence."
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