oPt

Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): Flash Update #2 - Escalation in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel (as of 17:00, 12 May 2021)

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  • Violence and hostilities in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank continue at high intensity.

  • In response to the continued launching of hundreds of rockets and mortar shells into Israel by Hamas militants, Israeli forces have carried out extensive airstrikes and shelling across Gaza. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, clashes continue to take place between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Civil disturbance has also been reported within Israel.

  • Over fifty Palestinians have reportedly been killed since 10 May in Gaza and over 320 injured. Extensive damage is reported to residential and commercial buildings as well as to schools. Three Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces and hundreds were injured overnight. In Israel, six people have been killed in rocket attacks and hundreds have been injured.

  • The escalation risks worsening an already poor humanitarian situation, especially in Gaza, where the struggling health sector is further burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaza’s sole power plant might shut down by the end of this week due to lack of fuel, undermining the provision of vital services.

Situation overview

According to the health authorities in Gaza, as of 17:00 on 12 May, fifty-three Palestinians have been killed, including 14 children and three women, and 320 people have been wounded since the start of the escalation on 10 May. According to Israeli officials, Israeli forces have targeted members of Palestinian armed groups, who are among the casualties, with some of the fatalities confirmed by the groups themselves.

Israeli airstrikes and shelling have hit houses and apartment buildings. In some of these properties, residents report receiving prior warning to evacuate from callers identifying themselves as members of Israeli security forces. The Hanadi Building in Gaza city, a 14-storey structure containing residential and office units, was destroyed, and three other multi-storey buildings in the city were hit and severely damaged. Over 350 housing units have been destroyed or damaged, and hundreds of others have sustained moderate damages. Numerous families have been displaced, with an estimated 1,750 people affected.

Seven factories, eight schools and a health centre have also been damaged by Israeli airstrikes and shortfalls of Hamas launched rockets. In addition, scores of military sites, police and security facilities, as well as open areas, have been hit, with the police headquarters in Gaza city destroyed. Generally, the population is fearful and many in a state of panic and hostilities continue at high intensity. Street, markets and shops remain closed and traffic is limited to emergency teams.

The Israeli authorities have kept the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings closed and still forbid any fishing off Gaza’s coast. The Rafah crossing and Salah Ad Din gate with Egypt are closed due to the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr.

According to the Israeli authorities, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired over 1,200 rockets and mortar shells into Israel since the current round of hostilities began on 10 May, with a significant number landing short inside Gaza, suggesting that some of the casualties and damage in Gaza may have resulted from Palestinian fire. In Israel, Palestinian rocket fire killed five civilians, including three women and a girl; hundreds have been injured. An anti-tank missile that Palestinians fired from Gaza over the Israeli perimeter fence on 12 May killed an Israeli soldier and injured two others.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, protests have continued in multiple locations, resulting in three fatalities and 624 injuries. During the night of 11 May, disturbances were again reported in Al Aqsa, the Damascus Gate area, Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem, resulting in 122 injuries.

Civil disturbances within Israel have resulted in one fatality, multiple injuries and property damage, especially in ‘mixed cities.’

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.