Inside weeks of deadly violence between Israel and Palestinians

Here’s a recap of events leading up to and since violence escalated on 10 May with heavy military exchanges of fire.

A ball of fire erupts from a building in Gaza City's Rimal residential district on 16 May 2021, during massive Israeli bombardment on the Hamas-controlled enclave. Picture: Bashar TALEB/AFP

JERUSALEM - Israel and the Palestinians are mired in their worst conflict in years, in which Islamists have fired rockets and Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with air strikes and artillery.

One week since violence escalated with heavy military exchanges of fire on May 10, here is a recap of events leading up to the escalation, and beyond:

PALESTINIAN EVICTION THREAT

On the evening of 3 May, clashes erupt in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, sparked by a years-long bid by Jewish settlers to take over Arab homes.

The Star of David and an Israeli flag are seen on top of a house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied east Jerusalem on 5 May 2021. Israeli Jews backed by courts have taken over houses in Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem on the grounds that Jewish families lived there before fleeing in Israel's 1948 war for independence. Picture: Emmanuel DUNAND/AFP

The Star of David and an Israeli flag are seen on top of a house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied east Jerusalem on 5 May 2021. Israeli Jews backed by courts have taken over houses in Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem on the grounds that Jewish families lived there before fleeing in Israel's 1948 war for independence. Picture: Emmanuel DUNAND/AFP

On 6 May, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain urge Israel to end its settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories and expulsions from east Jerusalem.

CLASHES AT AL-AQSA COMPOUND

Major clashes break out on 7 May as tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers pack the holy Al-Aqsa mosque compound - revered by Jews as the Temple Mount - to pray on the last Friday of Ramadan.

Israeli police say Palestinians hurl stones, bottles and fireworks at officers, who fire rubber-coated bullets and tear gas.

Palestinian protesters rush away amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, on 7 May 2021. Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI/AFP

Palestinian protesters rush away amid clashes with Israeli security forces at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, on 7 May 2021. Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI/AFP

Video footage shows Israeli forces storming the mosque's plaza and firing sound grenades inside the building.

Clashes erupt over the following days in other parts of east Jerusalem.

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem's Old City on 10 May 2021, ahead of a planned march to commemorate Israel's takeover of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP.

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem's Old City on 10 May 2021, ahead of a planned march to commemorate Israel's takeover of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP.

On 10 May, hundreds of Palestinians and 32 Israeli police officers are wounded in clashes, mainly in the mosque compound.

The violence coincides with what Israel calls "Jerusalem Day", marking its 1967 seizure of the city's eastern sector.

More than 700 Palestinians are wounded in the violence at Al-Aqsa and other parts of east Jerusalem over several days.

ISRAEL-HAMAS ESCALATION

On the evening of 10 May, Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas launch volleys of rockets towards Israel, which responds with deadly strikes on the Palestinian enclave.

The next day, Hamas rains rockets down on Tel Aviv after an Israeli air strike destroys a Gaza City tower block where senior Hamas officials are said to have offices.

Rockets fired towards Israel from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome Aerial Defence System on 10 May 2021. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

Rockets fired towards Israel from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome Aerial Defence System on 10 May 2021. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

RIOTS IN MIXED TOWNS

On the evening of 11 May, unrest flares in mixed Jewish-Arab towns.

Israel declares a state of emergency in Lod, near Tel Aviv, after police report rioting by some Arab residents following the death of an Arab Israeli.

Up to 1,000 border police are called up as reinforcements. More than 400 people, Jews and Arabs, are arrested.

Israeli special forces gather in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod on 13 May 2021, during clashes between Israeli far-right extremists and Arab-Israelis. Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI/AFP

Israeli special forces gather in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod on 13 May 2021, during clashes between Israeli far-right extremists and Arab-Israelis. Picture: Ahmad GHARABLI/AFP

BUILD-UP NEAR GAZA

On 12 May, the US says it is rushing an envoy to Israel and the occupied territories. Russia calls for an emergency meeting of the Middle East Quartet - the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations.

The next day, Israel masses armoured vehicles and troops along Gaza's border. The defence ministry gives the army the green light to mobilise thousands of reservists.

The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepts rockets (R) fired by the Hamas movement towards southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip as seen in the sky above the Gaza Strip overnight on May 14, 2021. Israel bombarded Gaza with artillery and air strikes on Friday, May 14, in response to a new barrage of rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave. Picture: ANAS BABA/AFP

The Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system (L) intercepts rockets (R) fired by the Hamas movement towards southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip as seen in the sky above the Gaza Strip overnight on 14 May 2021. Picture: ANAS BABA/AFP

On 15 May, an Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza's Shati refugee camp kills 10 members of an extended family.

Hours later a strike flattens a 13-floor building in Gaza City housing Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and the US news agency the Associated Press.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells US President Joe Biden that Israel is doing its utmost to safeguard civilians in Gaza as Biden expresses his "grave concern" over the flare-up.

The White House says it has cautioned Israel about the importance of protecting independent media.

WEST BANK CLASHES

Demonstrations across the occupied West Bank have led to clashes with the Israeli army, leaving 11 Palestinians dead on 14 May alone and more than 150 wounded, health officials and medics say.

On 16 May, Israel says strikes destroyed the home of Hamas' political leader in Gaza. Medics say raids across the territory left at least 42 dead, the highest daily death toll.

UN chief Antonio Guterres appeals for an immediate end to the "utterly appalling" violence, but a virtual meeting of the Security Council results in no joint statement.

A ball of fire erupts from a building in Gaza City's Rimal residential district on 16 May 2021, during massive Israeli bombardment on the Hamas-controlled enclave. Picture: Bashar TALEB/AFP

Since conflict escalated on 10 May, the death toll has risen to 198 in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza, including at least 58 children, and to 10 in Israel, according to authorities on each side.

Israel's army says over 3,000 rockets have now been fired from Gaza.

The bombardment of Gaza has displaced 38,000 people and made 2,500 homeless, the United Nations says.

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