Seven rockets were fired at Jerusalem and more rockets at other communities in Israel this evening, right after the ultimatum issued by Hamas expired. The Gaza-ruling group had warned earlier in the day that Israel must withdraw its security forces from the Temple Mount compound and from the east Jerusalem Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, or else it would retaliate. Both locations, together with the Old City’s Damascus Gate, have become in recent days flashpoints for violence and confrontation.
Sirens warning over rocket fire sounded this evening in Jerusalem and its environs; in the town of Beit Shemesh, not far from Jerusalem; in the southern towns of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Sderot; and in the villages near the border with Gaza. Knesset members were evacuated from the parliament’s plenum when sirens sounded in Jerusalem. Some air traffic was rerouted. One house in the village of Bein Nekufa near Jerusalem was damaged, but so far there are no reports of injuries. Authorities have ordered schools within a radius of 40 kilometers from the Israel-Gaza border to shut down tomorrow, and several roads in the region near the border with Gaza are now blocked for traffic.