The Israeli army has declared a “state of readiness” for war after Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip fired an intense barrage of rockets early Saturday toward Israel, reports Israel Broadcasting Authority.
The rocket salvoes were fired from different locations in the enclave but Israel’s Iron Dome defence system intercepted many, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
At least five people were killed and 15 others injured in the Gaza rockets attack, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority reported.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Galant approved a “large-scale reserve mobilization,” the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
“A state of emergency has been declared on the internal front in preparation for long-term fighting,” Galant said, according to the same source.
Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Rishon Lezion, and the Palmachim Airbase, according to media outlets, including the Walla news website.
Sirens also sounded in Jerusalem city, where explosions were heard as Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system was activated, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, announced starting an operation with rockets targeting enemy sites, airports, and military installations.
“5,000 rockets and shells were fired from Gaza towards Israel in the first 20 minutes of operation,” the Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement.
The Israeli Radio reported that a number of Palestinian gunmen sneaked into Israeli areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
Israel deployed its forces to deal with the Palestinian gunmen’s infiltration from Gaza, the Army Radio added.
Hamas gunmen took control of a police station in Israel’s Sderot where a number of people were injured in a fire exchange, the Israeli Broadcasting Authority reported.
Armed clashes between Palestinian factions and Israeli forces are taking place on the eastern Gaza Strip’s fence, according to an Anadolu correspondent.
The Israeli army said that it has begun attacking Hamas targets in Gaza.
Witnesses told Anadolu that gunmen from Palestinian factions opened fire on Israeli boats off the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian factions have been firing rockets toward Israeli settlements and cities continuously for more than an hour, witnesses added.
Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip shared pictures and video clips on social media showing members of Palestinian factions and citizens “seizing” Israeli vehicles.
Some photos and video clips showed Israeli vehicles being driven into Palestinian residential neighbourhoods.
An Anadolu correspondent reported that one of the Israeli vehicles arrived at Al-Khalifa Square in Jabalia Camp, north of the Gaza Strip.
Schools were closed in the Gaza Strip until further notice, according to the Palestinian Education Ministry in Gaza.