On May 4, 2019, another round of escalation from the Gaza Strip began, the eighth since the return marches began on March 30, 2018. It has not yet ended. It began when Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) snipers attacked IDF soldiers under the cover of the return march on May 3, 2019. The IDF responded by attacking two Hamas targets, killing two of its terrorist operatives. The following day a massive barrage of rocket and mortar fire began attacking the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, and it expanded to attack Israeli civilian targets at a range of more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Gaza Strip.
The attack included the southern Israeli cities of Ashqelon, Ashdod, Qiryat Gat, Qiryat Malachi and Beersheba. As of noon, May 5, 2019, more than 500 rockets and mortar shells had been fired at Israel.
On the morning of May 5, 2019, the IDF continued attacking terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. At around noon, after a pause of about four hours, massive rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip resumed. Three Israelis were killed and about 100 wounded (most of them not seriously). According to the Palestinian ministry of health, nine Palestinians were killed and about 80 wounded.
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