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Operation Guardian of the Walls
Part of the Gaza–Israel conflict and the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis
Date10 May 2021 – present


 Gaza Strip

Commanders and leaders
Benjamin Netanyahu
(Prime Minister)
Benny Gantz
(Defence Minister)
Aviv Kochavi
(Chief of General Staff)
Amikam Norkin
(Air Force Commander)
Ismail Haniyeh
(Leader of Hamas)
Yahya Sinwar
Ziyad al-Nakhalah (Leader of PIJ)
Casualties and losses
  • 5 civilians killed; 90+ civilians wounded[2][3]
  • 1 soldier killed, 2 wounded[4]

53 civilians and militants killed, 304 wounded[5]

  • 14 children[5] and 3 women killed[2]
  • 2 Hamas and 3 PIJ commanders killed (per Palestinian sources),[6][7] 4 Hamas and 3 PIJ commanders killed (per Israel)[8]

Operation Guardian of the Walls (Hebrew: מבצע שומר החומות‎), dubbed by Hamas as Operation Sword of Jerusalem (Arabic: سيف القدس[9]), is an ongoing armed conflict between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.


Main article: 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis

In May 2021, Israeli police had been clashing with Palestinian protestors over possible evictions of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah. On May 9, the final Friday of Ramadan, there was a massive presence of Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount. Among the tens of thousands present, some stockpiled and threw stones at the Israeli police who were present to maintain order.[10] As the conflict escalated, the outnumbered police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.[11] [12]

Military strikes

Hamas demanded Israel remove its forces from Al-Aqsa mosque by 10 May 6pm.[13][14] Minutes after the deadline passed,[15] Hamas began firing rockets towards Israeli cities. From 9-10 May 2021, over 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.[16] On the night of the 10th, Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, announced that the attacks would be met with "great force" from the Israeli Air Force in order to ensure the safety of the Israeli civilians that Hamas rockets were targeting.[17]

Later the same day, the cabinet confirmed the beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls.

On 11 May, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Islamist groups, had fired more than 500 rockets, with an Israeli military spokesman saying about one-third of the rockets fell short and landed in Gaza,[18][19] and at one point reported 137 rockets in under five minutes.[20]


53 Palestinians were killed, fourteen of whom were children, three women and five farmers; while 304 more were wounded. Several were killed when residential civilian buildings were bombed. Twenty-four died on May 10, eight the next day, and twenty-one two days later.[5]

On 10 May, a Hamas commander, identified as Mohammed Abdullah Fayyad, was killed.[21] The Israel Defense Forces have also confirmed that the commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket unit, identified as Sameh Abed al-Mamluk, and another Islamic Jihad militant, were killed in an airstrike with collaboration from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) on 11 May. The deaths of other Hamas and PIJ militants are suspected but not confirmed.[22] In the evening, Hamas anti-tank missile unit commander, Iyad Fathi Faik Sharir, was reportedly also killed by Israeli Air Force aircraft.[23]

An elderly woman and her Indian caregiver were killed after being unable to reach a shelter in time, when a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed on their home in Ashkelon.[24][25]

Over 130 rockets had been launched towards Sharon plain and Gush Dan at 20:46 local time on 11 May from Gaza, resulting in the death of a woman in Rishon LeZion.[26] Two more civilians and a soldier died the next day.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ @SimNasr (11 May 2021). "In a com dated 10May Jaich al-Umma (close to #AQ) claims clearly the « honor » of starting the hostilities against #Israel on the 10th at 6:23am against #Sderot, 3:30pm #Negev and 9:30pm al-Majdal » and complains about #Hamas pressure without naming it" (Tweet). Retrieved 11 May 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b Federman, Josef; Akram, Fares (12 May 2021). "Israel, Hamas escalate heavy fighting with no end in sight". Associated Press. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Two Israelis dead, over 90 injured after Gaza rockets strike Ashkelon". The Jerusalem Post.
  4. ^ "Israeli bombardment escalates as Gaza death toll rises: Live news". Al Jazeera.
  5. ^ a b c "Israeli bombardment escalates as Gaza death toll rises: Live news". Al Jazeera.
  6. ^ "Israeli bombardment escalates as Gaza death toll rises: Live news". Al Jazeera.
  7. ^ "35 Palestinians killed in Gaza as Israel targets Hamas with airstrikes; rockets kill 3 in Israel". CBC News. 11 May 2021.
  8. ^ Boxerman, Aaron (10 May 2021). "IDF kills 4 Islamic Jihad, Hamas commanders in targeted strikes in Gaza". Times of Israel. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  9. ^ Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner (11 May 2021). "Israel Hits Gaza With Airstrikes as Hamas Increases Rocket Fire". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Haaretz (10 May 2021). "From TikTok to Temple Mount clashes: 28 Days of Violence in Jerusalem". Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  11. ^ Holmes, Oliver (10 May 2021). "Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque ahead of Jerusalem Day march". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  12. ^ "US expresses concern as Israeli police crack down in Jerusalem - Jerusalem News". Al Jazeera. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Hamas rocket attacks provoke Israeli retaliation in Gaza".
  14. ^ "Jerusalem violence leads to rockets, air strikes".
  15. ^ "Israel, Hamas Trade Deadly Rocket Strikes as Tensions Mount Over Jerusalem".
  16. ^ "מבצע שומר החומות ברצועת עזה. צה״ל תוקף בתגובה לירי 150 רקטות לעבר ישראל". Arutz Sheva (in Hebrew). Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  17. ^ staff, T. O. I. "Netanyahu vows Hamas will pay 'heavy price' for firing rockets at Jerusalem". Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates". AP NEWS.
  19. ^ "Two Israeli women killed in Palestinian rocket strikes, ambulance service chief says". Sky News. Retrieved 11 May 2021. "33% estimated"
  20. ^ "Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza Strip after Hamas rocket attacks". the Guardian. 10 May 2021.
  21. ^ "Jerusalem violence: Deadly air strikes hit Gaza after rocket attacks". BBC. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  22. ^ staff, T. O. I. "Two killed, others hurt by rocket in Ashkelon, amid massive barrages from Gaza". Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  23. ^ "IDF eliminates Hamas anti-tank array commander, 150 Gaza rocket launchers". Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  24. ^ "2 הרוגים במטח לעבר אשקלון". כאן-תאגיד השידור הישראלי. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  25. ^ staff, T. O. I. "One killed, one badly hurt by rocket in Ashkelon amid massive barrages from Gaza". Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  26. ^ Gross, Judah Ari. "Woman killed in rocket strike in Rishon Lezion". Retrieved 11 May 2021.