Terrifying video footage has emerged of a rocket launched by Hamas militants blowing up a bus in Israel as civilians watched on in horror.
Video shows the city bus erupting in flames, with black smoke billowing from the burning vehicle, in the central city of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, last night.
In other videos, dozens of Israel’s Iron Dome defence system’s missiles can be seen lighting up the night sky yesterday as they shot down a bombardment of rockets fired by Hamas militants.
Residents of Tel Aviv, Israel’s most populous city, hid in their houses and under shelters as scores of rockets were seen flying overhead before they were struck down by Israeli missiles.
Video shows the city bus erupting in flames, with black smoke billowing from the burning vehicle, in the central city of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, last night
In other videos, dozens of Israel’s Iron Dome defence system’s missiles can be seen lighting up the night sky yesterday as they shot down a bombardment of rockets fired by Hamas militants
It comes as Israel said the militants have fired more than 1,050 rockets since Monday, killing five civilians, including an Arab-Israeli girl in the city of Lod in the early hours of this morning.
Around 200 of the rockets fell short and landed inside Gaza, injuring many of their own, while the vast majority have been intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
In Tel Aviv a scene of carnage unfolded last night as a bus was engulfed by flames after being hit by a rocket. Further along the street, other vehicles were also on fire.
The flames from the bus leapt up into the air while explosions could be heard from the vehicle as black smoke billowed into the air.
Sirens blared from nearby cars rocked by the explosion and wreckage from nearby buildings was strewn across the ground.
Daniel Laufer, who posted the video on Twitter, said four people were injured in the blast, including a five-year-old.
The footage emerged amid the worst fighting between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 Gaza War, which left more than 2,000 people dead.
The flames from the bus leapt up into the air (right) while explosions could be heard from the vehicle as black smoke billowed into the air. Sirens blared from nearby cars rocked by the explosion and wreckage from nearby buildings was strewn across the ground (left)
More than a hundred Hamas rockets were launched at Tel Avi last night after a tower block in Gaza suspected of being a Hamas headquarters was destroyed by an Israeli air strike.
In a further video, a rocket can be heard soaring through the sky in Holon – and after a piercing second of silence, an explosion erupted at the end of the street and appears to hit a building.
Locals, who were stood outside a restaurant, panicked and ran away while one man looks aghast as he lifts his hands to his head in shock.
Fire can be seen lighting up the night sky as shocked bystanders begin running towards the fire while others begin screaming as they look towards the devastation.
In a further video, a rocket can be heard soaring through the sky in Holon – and after a piercing second of silence, an explosion erupted at the end of the street (left) and appears to hit a building. Fire can be seen lighting up the night sky as shocked bystanders begin running towards the fire (right) while others begin screaming as they look towards the devastation
In another video, an aftermath of a Hamas rocket fired into Holon can be seen with vehicles on fire as black smoke fills the air.
As the camera pans across the scene of devastation, the entire street appears to be filled with burning vehicles.
Fearful residents in Tel Aviv hid in their houses or under shelters last night as they were bombarded with scores of rockets fired by Hamas militants.
Video shows some people having to stand in on the staircase of their apartment building because they don’t have a staircase.
Sirens can be heard as large bangs can be heard every few seconds, marking the moment a rocket is shot down by the Iron Dome defence system.
Rockets were first fired on Monday as Hamas carried out a threat to strike Israel unless it withdrew security forces from the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem after days of clashes with Palestinian protesters there.
Since then, Hamas says it has fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israel with the bombardment continuing today – while Israel has carried out dozens of missile strikes of its own.
At least 48 Palestinians, including 14 children and three women, have died in the strikes so far, according to the Health Ministry, with hundreds more wounded.
Six Israelis, including three women and a child, have been killed by rocket fire with dozens more hurt.
Also overnight, rioting broke out inside Israel itself as Israeli Arabs particularly in the city of Lod.
Heavy clashes broke out between police and Arabs following the funeral of an Arab man who was killed the previous night, the suspect a Jewish gunman.
Israeli media reported that the crowd fought with police, and set a synagogue and some 30 vehicles on fire.
Israeli men carry Torah scrolls from a synagogue in the city of Lod which was torched last night amid rioting. Netanyahu personally visited the central city in the early hours of Wednesday to declare a state of emergency
Then, in the early hours of Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Lod killing an Israeli Arab man and his daughter – identified locally as 16-year-old Nadin Awad.
Her cousin, Ahmad Ismail, told public broadcaster Kan that he was near Nadin when she was killed alongside her father Khalil Awad, 52.
‘I was at home, we heard the noise of the rocket. It happened so quickly. Even if we had wanted to run somewhere, we don’t have a safe room,’ Ismail told Kan.
As a result of the fighting, two men were seen clearing Torah scrolls from the torched synagogue on Wednesday through the blackened and debris-strewn yard.
In further video footage from Wednesday, rockets launched from Gaza by Hamas can be seen flying over the southern town of Ashkelon.
Black smoke billows after a series of Israeli airstrikes targeted Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza strip early on Wednesday. According to military experts, the plumes of smoke seen rising suggest the Israelis are deploying bunker buster bombs, targeting underground infrastructure
Israeli artillery fires shells at the Gaza border on Wednesday after the defence chief vowed to bring ‘total, long-term quiet’ to the Gaza Strip
A fire rages at an oil refinery in the southern town of Ashkelon which has been heavily targeted by hundreds of Hamas rockets fired since Monday
In retaliation for the hundreds of of missiles fired at its cities, Israel launched massive bombardments.
Hamas confirmed that several of its top commanders were killed in air strikes on the Gaza Strop today.
Israel has vowed to bring ‘total, long-term quiet’ to the region despite growing international alarm at the numbers of civilian casualties being sustained in its barrages on densely populated areas.
Hamas said the commander of its Gaza City Brigade, Bassem Issa, was among those ‘martyred’ in the strikes.
Hamas militants and their allies have fired more than 1,000 missiles at Israel, though many have been shot down by the Iron Dome defence system, while others have landed inside Gaza. The Israeli towns of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Yehud have been struck, as well as the most populous city, Tel Aviv. In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Air Force has targeted suspected Hamas strongholds in Gaza City as well as the southern settlements Rafah and Khan Yunis
Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, named another three slain Hamas officers: Jamaa Tahla, responsible for the improved accuracy of the group’s rockets; Jamal Zabeda, chief of ‘special projects’ in the munitions department; and Hazzem Hatib, head engineer in the munitions wing.
‘The army will continue to attack to bring a total, long-term quiet. Only when we reach that goal will we be able to speak about a truce,’ Defence Minister Benny Gantz said today from the southern town of Ashkelon where two Israeli women were killed by Hamas rockets on Tuesday.
The United Nations has warned the two sides they risk a ‘full-scale war’ if there is not an urgent ceasefire.
‘Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of de-escalation,’ Tor Wennesland UN Special Envoy to the Middle East tweeted.
Just after daybreak, the Israeli Air Force unleashed dozens of strikes within the course of a few minutes with what appeared to be bunker buster bombs targeting underground Hamas infrastructure.
Smoke billows from an Israeli bombardment at sunrise on Khan Yunish in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday
The Israeli Defence Forces later dispatched two infantry brigades to the area of a downed militant drone, indicating preparations for a possible ground invasion.
Boris Johnson condemned the spiralling conflict this morning hours after his former counterpart Donald Trump blamed ‘weak’ Joe Biden for allowing things to escalate.
‘I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties.’
Despite international condemnation for the bloodshed, the worst since the 2014 war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls for ceasefire, vowing last night to ‘step up’ attacks.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in turn that ‘if Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it’.
The tensions began a month ago in Jerusalem, where heavy-handed police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Muslim neighbourhoods ignited protests and clashes with police. On Monday, a riot on Temple Mount left hundreds of Palestinians wounded before Hamas started launching rockets.
The International Criminal Court at the Hague announced this morning it was looking at possible ‘crimes’ committed as the ferocious cross-border engagement entered its third day.
‘I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute (which founded the ICC)’, Fatou Bensouda tweeted.
How clashes in Jerusalem and a bloody end to Ramadan led to 1,000 Hamas rockets in 60 hours and ferocious Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip
This is a recap of the last few bloody days of violence between Israel and Palestinians, sparked by a years-long bid by Jewish settlers to take over Arab homes in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
– Bloody end to Ramadan –
Clashes erupt on Friday as Muslims pack the Al-Aqsa mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site – to pray on the last Friday of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Violence had been building in the Holy City and occupied West Bank for the previous week.
Palestinians hurl stones, bottles and fireworks at police who fire rubber-coated 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.
– Second night –
On Saturday violence flares elsewhere in east Jerusalem.
Some 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.
– Court case delay –
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 neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
A lower court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers’ decades-old claim infuriated Palestinians.
But a Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal is postponed by the justice ministry in light of ‘the circumstances’.
– Third night –
As Pope Francis joins calls for an end to the violence, Palestinians and Israeli police face off again overnight Saturday and on Sunday evening in east Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defends Israel’s response to the protests.
– March cancelled –
In fierce clashes on Monday morning at the mosque compound, the Palestinian Red Crescent says at least 395 Palestinians are wounded, with more than 200 hospitalised.
Fears of further chaos eases temporarily when the planned ‘Jerusalem Day’ march to celebrate the Jewish state’s 1967 capture of the Old City is cancelled.
– Dramatic escalation –
But Hamas then threatens to up the ante, unless Israel pulls its security forces out of the compound.
Militants in Gaza 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.
Twenty-eight Palestinians – including 10 children – are killed in the exchange of fire.
Islamic Jihad said two of its commanders were among those killed.
Israel said two people were killed Tuesday in an intense rocket bombardment of the coastal town of Ashkelon north of Gaza, with Netanyahu vowing to intensify attacks in reply.
– 1,050 rockets in 60 hours –
In the north of the occupied West Bank a Palestinian is killed and another wounded by Israeli army gunfire.
In the evening, a 12-storey building in Gaza where several top Hamas commanders had 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.
With 35 Palestinians and five Israelis now killed since Monday, Israel says 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 coming down in Gaza.