Israel-Palestine: a timeline of the latest outbreak of violence

Weeks of tensions and simmering rage have given way to the bloodiest violence in years

After tensions grew in Jerusalem throughout Ramadan, the bloodiest violence in years has broken out between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Sparked by policing during Ramadan and developments in a years-long bid by Jewish settlers to take over Arab homes in occupied East Jerusalem, armed groups in Gaza launched more than 1,000 rockets towards Israel, while more than 150 Israeli air strikes hit the strip.

At least 35 Palestinians have been killed in the unrest, while five people died in Israel.

This is how the tensions escalated into a conflict:

Friday, May 7

Throughout the holy month, police and protesters clashed as authorities tried to block people gathering at Damascus Gate – a popular evening meeting spot during Ramadan.

On April 23, police on horseback fought to keep crowds of young Palestinians and ultranationalist Israelis chanting “death to Arabs” near Damascus Gate.

The crisis starts in earnest on May 7, the final Friday of Ramadan, when the rumbling tensions boil over and Israeli riot police clash with crowds of Palestinians at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinians hurl stones, bottles and fireworks at police who fire rubber bullets and stun grenades.

The site is also sacred to Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples.

More than 220 people, mostly Palestinians, are wounded.

Saturday May 8 to Sunday May 9

On May 8 violence flares elsewhere in East Jerusalem.

At least 121 Palestinians are wounded overnight, the Palestinian Red Crescent says, while 17 Israeli police officers are hurt.

The Middle East Quartet – the US, Russia, EU and the UN – express "deep concern" over the violence.

As well as the Ramadan tensions, much of the recent unrest stems from the long-running legal effort by Jewish settler groups to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah.

A lower-court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers' decades-old claim infuriated Palestinians who saw it as a further annexation of their land.

But a Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal is postponed at the weekend by the Justice Ministry in light of "the circumstances".

Pope Francis joins calls for an end to the violence as Palestinians face off with Israeli police again overnight Saturday and on Sunday evening in East Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends Israel's response to the protests as countries across the region and internationally condemn heavy-handed tactics.

Monday, May 10

Early on Monday morning, Israeli police storm Al Aqsa compound saying they are responding to rock-throwing protesters ahead of Jerusalem Day marches by ultranationalist Israeli Jews.

Jerusalem Day celebrates the Jewish state's 1967 capture of the Old City.

Visits by Israelis to Al Aqsa are cancelled, even as some settler groups try to break into the compound. The controversial march through the Old City is rerouted.

By the end of Monday, over 700 Palestinians have been wounded and more than 500 are treated in hospital after police clear Al Aqsa and the streets of the old city with batons, stun grenades and tear gas.

Hamas issues an ultimatum for Israel to pull security forces from Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah by 6pm Monday night.

Militants in Gaza then fire more than 200 rockets towards Israel.

Israel responds with 130 strikes by fighter jets and attack helicopters on "military targets" in the Hamas-run enclave.

At least 28 Palestinians – including 10 children – are killed in the exchange of fire.

Islamic Jihad says two of its commanders were among those killed.

Tuesday, May 11

Israel says two people were killed on Tuesday in an intense rocket bombardment of the coastal town of Ashkelon to the north of Gaza.

Mr Netanyahu vows to intensify attacks in reply.

North of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian is killed and another wounded by Israeli army gunfire.

Rocket fire and air strikes continue through the day.

In the evening, a 12-storey building in Gaza where several top Hamas commanders have offices is completely destroyed in an Israeli air strike.

In retaliation, Hamas says it has launched 130 rockets towards Tel Aviv, where air raid sirens ring out.

Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv halts flights.

Wednesday, May 12

At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have now been killed since Monday.

Israel says on Wednesday that it has been the target of some 1,050 rocket attacks over the last 60 hours.

It said 850 have either landed in Israel or been intercepted by its Iron Dome air defence system, while 200 fell short and came down in Gaza.

More than 150 air strikes have been carried out by Israel with Gaza residents reporting some of the most intense bombardments they have ever experienced – eclipsing the 2014 Gaza war.

Thursday, May 13

Fighting between Israel and Palestinians overnight and into the day on Thursday took the death toll in Gaza to 83 people, including 17 children, after days of near-relentless Israeli air strikes hit a number of residential buildings in the Gaza strip.

Almost 500 people have been injured.

Israel’s military said 1,600 rockets were launched from Gaza over the last few days that killed seven people, including a six-year-old child.

The civilian neighbourhood of Petah Tikva was also hit by rockets from Gaza resulting in a number of injuries and a fire.

Both sides have thus far vowed to continue fighting with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordering, "massive reinforcements" of security forces.

Israel said it had hit nearly 1,000 targets in Gaza.

Overnight, inter-communal clashes broke out into violent confrontations.

Israeli television broadcast footage of a far-right mob beating a man they believed to be Arab until he lay unconscious on his back in a street of Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv.

The attack was described by medics as an attempted lynching and it drew condemnation from Israeli politicians and religious leaders.

After two days of violence largely unchecked by police, Mr Netanyahu on said “nothing justifies” Jews attacking Arabs or Arabs attacking Jews. He pledged to restore order.

“It doesn’t matter to me that your blood is boiling," Mr Netanyahu said. "You can’t take the law in your hands.”

Updated: May 13, 2021 06:06 PM

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