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33 killed in Israeli airstrikes, Hamas rocket attacks as unrest spreads beyond Jerusalem

Israel would "increase both the intensity of the attacks and the rate of attacks," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

At least 30 Palestinians, including 10 children, and three Israelis were killed as tensions in Jerusalem spread west toward the seacoast Tuesday. Israeli airstrikes flattened a multistory apartment building in Gaza and rockets fired from the Gaza Strip reached Tel Aviv in an unusually far-reaching barrage that sent residents of Israel's largest city scrambling into bomb shelters.

The clashes prompted international calls for calm and raised fears that the situation could ignite into a wider conflict, as Israelis and Palestinians promised that their respective campaigns were far from over.

"We’re in the midst of a big operation," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Tuesday. "We decided that Hamas and Islamic Jihad will pay a heavy price for their aggressive acts; their blood is in their heads. This operation will take time."

Benny Gantz, defense minister and opposition leader, sounded a similar note: "We will restore quiet and security, and we will do so for the long term."

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to stop "the Israeli aggression against our people."

Ziyad Al-Nakhalah, secretary general of the Islamic Jihad movement, said his group "will continue this battle, and we promise our people that we will not retreat and will continue to resist, God willing."

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement that he was "gravely concerned" about the escalation of violence in Gaza, which he said adds "to the heightened tensions and violence in occupied East Jerusalem."

"He is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza. The Secretary-General’s thoughts are with the families of the victims."

The 13-story residential building in Gaza, containing 80 apartments, was struck Tuesday evening. Reuters reported that it was hit by an Israeli airstrike, and the Israeli military confirmed Tuesday that it struck a multistory building in Gaza's Rimal neighborhood that it said was being used by Hamas.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Smoke billows from an Israeli air strike on the Hanadi compound in Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 11, 2021.Mahmud Hams / AFP - Getty Images

Shortly after, 130 rockets were fired toward Tel Aviv, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, and its suburbs, Hamas said in a statement. Israel briefly halted all flights at Ben Gurion Airport.

The Israeli military called up 5,000 reservists for active duty.

In Ashkelon, an Israeli city less than 10 miles from Gaza, two people were killed in rocket attacks Tuesday, Israel's Zaka emergency response team said.

Israeli firefighters check out damaged vehicles in the Israeli town of Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets are launched towards Israel from the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement.Ahmad Gharabli / AFP - Getty Images

Hamas, a militant group that controls the strip and is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, has launched 480 rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, including targeting Jerusalem, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.

In response to the rockets, the IDF bombed 130 targets in Gaza, including a Hamas commander's home. It released photos of fighter jets laden with missiles.

Israel's emergency agency Magen David Adom said a bus was hit in Holon, a city south of Tel Aviv, injuring seven people, including a 5-year-old.

One woman has been confirmed dead after a rocket attack in Rishon LeZion, a suburb south of Tel Aviv, according to a volunteer emergency response team.

Several injured were also reported in the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, and in Giv'atayim, east of the city.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington tweeted a video that appears to show rockets over Tel Aviv.

Abu Hamza, military spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, said, "Tel Aviv is now the closest place to the Gaza Strip, and the enemy should be well aware of what we say, and that our agenda is full and we have more."

Netanyahu said in a video posted online that Hamas "will receive blows here that it did not expect." A day earlier, he had warned that the "conflict may continue for some time."

The Palestinian Health Ministry earlier said that 26 people were killed, including nine children, and 122 people were wounded in the airstrikes.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called the Israeli airstrikes "indiscriminate and irresponsible" and said Israel was responsible for the "dangerous escalation" in Jerusalem, Reuters reported.

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As in other years, recent hostility centered around Jerusalem's Old City, which has some of the holiest sites for Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians claim the city as their capital.

On Monday night, unrest spread to Lod, a city southeast of Tel Aviv, where Mayor Yair Revivo said "Arab youths" vandalized public property, threw Molotov cocktails and lowered the Israeli flag to be replaced with the Palestinian one. He said one person was shot to death, with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reporting it was an Arab man killed by a Jewish resident.

A rocket launched from Gaza city controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, is intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, on May 11, 2021.Mohammed Abed / AFP - Getty Images

Nightly clashes have punctuated Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. The unrest has been fueled by plans to evict Palestinian families from a neighborhood in east Jerusalem whose land is claimed by Jewish settlers.

Tensions escalated Friday and Monday as Israeli police used stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets on Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest site of Judaism.

Israeli officials said this was in response to Palestinians throwing stones toward the Western Wall, where thousands of Jews had gathered to pray. Netanyahu's spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted that "extremist Palestinians planned well in advance to carry out riots."

But a spokesperson for the mosque said the clashes began when police tried to evacuate the compound, where many Palestinian worshippers sleep during Ramadan, to allow Israelis in.

The violence came as some Israelis were celebrating the anniversary of their country's capture of the Old City and its eastern neighborhoods in the 1967 Six-Day War.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S has "urged Israelis to de-escalate, we have urged Palestinians to de-escalate" and he "condemned in the strongest possible terms, the Hamas rocket fire, that is, within recent minutes, has been raining down on Israel."

Alexander Smith reported from London, and Lawahez Jabari and Paul Goldman reported from Jerusalem. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Tim Fitzsimons contributed.