JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians (all times local):
Israeli media reports that a rocket has struck an empty school in the coastal city of Ashkelon, not far from the Gaza Strip.
Television footage showed thick smoke rising from cars that had caught on fire.
Israel’s Home Front Command had ordered the closure of schools on Monday in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip, including Ashkelon. The move came during the escalation of tension that's built for weeks over contested Jerusalem..
Since Monday, Gaza militants have fired hundreds of rockets toward Israel.
Israel has fired back. An airstrike has hit a high-rise building in the middle of Gaza City. Local media reported that Tuesday’s airstrike killed an unknown number of militants inside.
The strike in the middle class Rimal neighborhood sent terrified residents of the building into the streets. They included screaming women and children, some of whom were barefoot.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel hit a high-rise where it said a Hamas commander was hiding.
An Egyptian intelligence official says Egypt is engaged in “intensive” talks with Israel and Gaza militants on reaching a cease-fire to end the latest round of fighting.
The official said the efforts began in late April as the situation in Jerusalem worsened. He said Israeli actions, including the recent storming of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the planed evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood, have frustrated the mediators.
The official says “the situation is changing rapidly,” but officials nonetheless hope to reach a truce before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr later this week. Egypt frequently mediates between Israel and Hamas.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing ongoing diplomatic efforts.
-Samy Magdy in Cairo
An Israeli airstrike has hit another high-rise building in the middle of Gaza City.
Local media reported that Tuesday's airstrike killed an unknown number of militants inside.
But the airstrike in the middle class Rimal neighborhood sent terrified residents of the building into the streets. They included screaming women and children, some of whom were barefoot.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel hit a high-rise where it said a Hamas commander was hiding. Palestinian health officials said a woman and her 19-year-old disabled son were killed. The fate of the Hamas commander was not immediately known.
Since Monday, Gaza militants have also fired hundreds of rockets toward Israel.
The escalation in the conflict was sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem.
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