Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued to report rocket attacks by Gazan militants through 01:00 (local time) on Sunday, May 5, following a significant increase in hostilities along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF, militants launched around 250 rockets since Saturday, May 4, wounding at least two Israelis. The Iron Dome missile defense system also reportedly intercepted dozens of the rockets. IDF aircraft conducted retaliatory airstrikes on about 130 suspected Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least four people and wounding another 18 people.
School will be canceled in Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza Strip, notably including Ashkelon, on Sunday, May 5, due to the cross-border violence. Israeli places of work in areas near the Israeli-Gazan border will also only be allowed to open if they are equipped with a bomb shelter; gatherings of over 300 people have been prohibited.
According to local media reports, IDF airstrikes are ongoing in the Gaza Strip as of 04:00 on Sunday morning. Further cross-border engagements are likely in the coming hours.
This flare-up in tensions comes after a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) sniper firing from the Gazan side of the Israeli-Gazan border wounded two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops on the Israeli side on May 3. Israeli forces retaliated by launching an airstrike, killing two Hamas militants; Israeli troops also reportedly killed two Palestinian protesters participating in the weekly Friday demonstrations - part of the "Great March of Return" movement - along the Israeli-Gazan border.
In general, rocket fire and strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip have intensified since early December 2017. Hundreds of rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip, often followed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation and seek immediate shelter in the event of a rocket attack.
Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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