As Gaza buries its dead, militants and Israel vow to fight on

Families have been ripped apart and children killed but both sides say there is no end in sight for rockets and air strikes

Follow the latest updates as violence escalates in Israel and Palestine

As violence flairs between Gaza’s armed groups and Israel, the families of the civilians killed in the strip mourn as rockets tear communities apart.

The grief and tears left Khames Al Shanbari unable to speak as he buried his brother, Ibrahim, who was killed in an Israeli air strike while out jogging in Gaza’s Beit Hanoun.

Ibrahim’s friend Abed Al Masry told The National that the death had hit the whole community.

“I am so sad for losing Ibrahim and it’s not only me," Mr Al Masry said. "The whole town is sad. He was known for his kind heart and his loving attitude towards others.

Ibrahim is just one of the at least 35 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and five in Israel in the most intensive aerial bombardments in years.

“Our family is so sad,” Mahmoud Suliman, whose extended family lost a father and his son on Monday night, told The National.

"We can’t believe that we lost Saber and his son. Saber had a good reputation and we won’t forget him," he said as he called on “the resistance” of Hamas and Gaza's armed groups to avenge the loss.

Saber and his son Mohammad were buried in Jabaliya camp, north of the Gaza Strip, along with seven others killed on Monday and early Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit criticised Israel’s “dangerous escalation” in Jerusalem and “indiscriminate and irresponsible” air strikes in Gaza.

Israel said on Tuesday that at least 15 of the dead in Gaza were militants. At least nine others were children, Palestinian health officials said.

Hamas confirmed several senior figures had been killed along with other fighters since the latest escalation began Monday.

The Israeli military and Palestinian factions continued to exchange fire on Tuesday, with a rocket fired into the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon killing two Israelis in the afternoon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would step up its Gaza strikes.

Hamas vowed retaliation, saying it would not stop firing rockets as long as the violations continued in Jerusalem, Gaza and West Bank.

“We have entered a state of war on all Palestinian fronts,” a fighter told The National.

Talal Abu Zarifa, a local activist, blamed Israel for the latest bout of fighting, saying it attacked unarmed civilians with police raids on Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Monday.

In Gaza, the rocket fire by Hamas and other armed groups has support on the streets.

“The resistance is defending our dignity, holy places and the rights of the Palestinian nation,” Mr Abu Zarifa told The National.

“As long as the occupation doesn’t stop their violations against Sheikh Jarrah and Jerusalem, the Palestinian resistance will continue defending.”

The Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah has been a hot spot for protests over Palestinian residents being threatened with evictions to allow Jewish settlers to move in.

Since Monday evening, Gaza militants have fired more than 450 rockets towards Israel, according to the Israeli army.

The EU condemned the attacks, calling on all sides to de-escalate and prevent further civilian casualties.

More on Gaza

Arab League chief blames Israel for Jerusalem and Gaza violence

Hamas firing rockets at Jerusalem shows crisis may not end soon

Palestinians mourn loved ones killed by Israeli air strikes

Updated: May 12, 2021 11:05 PM

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