Suspected Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militants have fired over 430 rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel from Saturday, May 4, into Sunday, May 5. As of 07:30 (local time) on Sunday, at least one Israeli citizen was killed in Ashkelon, while another 24 have been wounded in Be’er Sheva, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat, and Ashkelon. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continue to launch retaliatory strikes on suspected militant positions throughout Gaza. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, at least seven people have been killed and another 49 wounded in the strikes.
School will be canceled in Israeli cities and towns near the Gaza Strip, notably including Ashkelon, on 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.
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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