Hostilities between Israel & Hamas escalated overnight, with at least 35 killed in Gaza & five in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years, reported Reuters. Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into the early hours of May 12, as the Islamist group & other Palestinian militants fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv & Beersheba. One multi-storey residential building in Gaza collapsed & another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes. Israel said its jets had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on May 12, reported Reuters. Other strikes targeted what the military said were rocket launch sites & Hamas offices. It was the heaviest offensive between Israel & Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza & prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control. U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted, "Stop the fire immediately”. The violence followed weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police & Palestinian protesters in & around Al-Aqsa Mosque. These escalated in recent days ahead of a, now postponed, court hearing in a case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from East Jerusalem homes claimed by Jewish settlers.
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