At least 24 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza, while Palestinian fighters fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, as a ferocious cross-border conflict stretched into a second day.

Rockets rained down on southern and central Israel sending civilians scrambling for bomb shelters while in Gaza, airstrikes eviscerated whole buildings as the fighting showed no signs of waning.

Gaza’s health ministry officials said in total 24 had been killed including three were minors, and over 70 had been wounded, since the violence erupted on Tuesday after an Israeli airstrike killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander accused of masterminding recent attacks.  

Sources within the 25 mile-long besieged strip told The Independent that of the 24 dead, at least 13  were fighters. 

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The Israeli military said that militants had fired more than 250 rockets at Israel, with rocket sirens sounding as far north as Tel Aviv and Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem.

There were no reported casualties in Israel, due to Israel’s powerful Iron Dome missile system which the military said intercepted some 90 per cent of the projectiles.

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World news in pictures

Shape Created with Sketch.
World news in pictures

1/50 13 November 2019

An anti-government protester flashes the V-sign for victory in front of burning tyres used to block a main road at the entrance of Tripoli. The previous night, street protests erupted across Lebanon after President Michel Aoun defended the role of his allies, the Shiite movement Hezbollah, in Lebanon’s government, cutting off several major roads. In his televised address, Aoun proposed a government that includes both technocrats and politicians

2/50 12 November 2019

An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel’s military killed a commander for Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence

3/50 11 November 2019

A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam. The deer is around the size of a domestic cat

4/50 10 November 2019

The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor

5/50 9 November 2019

People knock over a mock-up of the former Berlin Wall during a performance prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig on the 30 anniversary of the fall off the wall

6/50 8 November 2019

Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney. Australian firefighters warned they were in “uncharted territory” as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country

7/50 7 November 2019

Demonstrators shine lasers during a protest against Chile’s government in Santiago, the capital

8/50 6 November 2019

Activists from India’s main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they are stopped by police during a protest against what the activists say is economic slowdown in the country, in Guwahati, India

9/50 5 November 2019

Smoke rises from a fire in downtown Lagos, Nigeria. Firefighters worked hard to try and extinguish a fire at the Balogun market. Thick black smoke and flames shot from the five-story buildings as fire trucks attempted to get access

10/50 4 November 2019

Women run down a sand dune as they take part in the desert trek “Rose Trip Maroc” in the erg Chebbi near Merzouga. It is a female-oriented trek where teams of three must travel through the southern Moroccan Sahara desert with a compass, a map and a topographical reporter

11/50 3 November 2019

Riot police descend an escalator inside the City Plaza mall in Hong Kong after a bloody knife fight wounded six people there. A local pro-democracy politician had his ear bitten off during another chaotic day of political unrest in the city

12/50 2 November 2019

People participate in the celebration of the ‘muerteadas de Jalapa del Valle’, as part of the Day of the Dead in Mexico

13/50 1 November 2019

Firefighters work to control flames from a backfire during the Maria fire in Santa Paula, California

14/50 31 October 2019

Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over the Vestrahorn mountain in the east of Iceland

15/50 30 October 2019

A model presents a creation at the show Heaven Gaia by Xiong Ying during the China Fashion Week in Beijing. The fashion event runs from 25 October to 2 November

16/50 29 October 2019

Hindu devotees collect rice as offerings on ‘Annakut’ or ‘Govardhan Puja’ festival at the Madan Mohan temple in Kolkata. People in large numbers gather at the temple to collect the rice offerings in the belief that it will keep them in good health and they’ll never face poverty or scarcity of food

17/50 28 October 2019

Authorities investigate after a Port Authority bus was caught in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

18/50 27 October 2019

South Africa players celebrate after beating Wales in their Rugby World Cup semi-final match. The Springboks will face England in next Saturday’s final following fly-half Handre Pollard’s match-winning penalty four minutes from time. The match ended 19-16

19/50 26 October 2019

Participants from Thailand pose in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as they take part in the annual gay pride parade in Taipei. Some two hundred thousand revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage

20/50 25 October 2019

A girl enjoys a ball bath as she is being photographed at the made-for-Instagram museum ‘Cali Dreams’ in Dusseldorf, Germany. No artworks are shown in this museum, rather each visitor himself becomes an artwork by staging himself in front of one of the 25 sceneries. Cali Dreams is initially open for three months. After this test phase, however, the museum is planned as a long-term project

21/50 24 October 2019

A fire lorry speeds towards a rampant wildfire near Geyserville, California

22/50 23 October 2019

Protesters facing Lebanese army soldiers wave national flags in the area of Jal al-Dib in the northern outskirts of Beirut. A week of unprecedented street protests against the political class showed no signs of abating, despite the army moving to reopen key roads. Protests were sparked on October 17 by a proposed tax on WhatsApp and other messaging apps

23/50 22 October 2019

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to supporters beside his wife Sophie after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal. He managed to hold on to power, albeit of a minority government, in one of the most divisive elections in the country’s history

24/50 21 October 2019

A convoy of US vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq

25/50 20 October 2019

Japan players go over to thank their fans after South Africa beat them in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup. Makazole Mapimpi double ended the hosts’ dreams in Tokyo 3-26. The Springboks will now face Wales in the semi-finals for a place in the final

26/50 19 October 2019

Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at Al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt

27/50 18 October 2019

A protester throws a tire on a fire to block the highway north of Beirut, Lebanon. Protesters, mainly civil activists, started demonstrating in the downtown area on 17 October, condemning proposed taxes in the 2020 budget. An unexpected addition to impose a daily fee for using WhatsApp calls caused outrage. However, according to the Telecommunications Minister Mohamed Choucair, the charge will not make it through the government palace after the impact it has made on the streets

28/50 17 October 2019

Children watch as army tanks are transported on trucks in the outskirts of the town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border of Syria

29/50 16 October 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse amongst the first snow at Mouth Paektu

30/50 15 October 2019

Protesters create a burning barricade after the Supreme Court in Madrid handed lengthy prison sentences to nine of the detained Catalonian leaders for up to 13 years each

31/50 14 October 2019

Protestors light their torches during a peaceful rally in central Hong Kong’s business district. The protests that started in June over a now-shelved extradition bill have since snowballed into an anti-China campaign amid anger over what many view as Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s autonomy that was granted when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997

32/50 13 October 2019

Japan players celebrate victory after beating Scotland 28-21 to reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first ever time. The hosts head coach Jamie Joseph paid tribute to those who lost their lives in Typhoon Hagibis

33/50 12 October 2019

Surging waves generated by typhoon Hagibis hit the seashore in Mihama, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Hagibis is the strongest storm to hit in six decades and battered the country’s main island with torrential rain and violent winds
Firefighters battle the Saddleridge fire in Sylmar, California

35/50 10 October 2019

People run to take cover after mortars fired from Syria, in Akcakale, Turkey. An Associated Press journalist said at least two government buildings were hit by the mortars in Sanliurfa province’s border town of Akcakale and at least two people were wounded

36/50 9 October 2019

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting where at least two people were killed at multiple locations in Germany, including near a synagogue in the city of Halle

37/50 8 October 2019

This multi-exposure picture shows USA’s Simone Biles performing on the beam during the women’s team final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart

38/50 7 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion activists block an intersection in Melbourne, Australia

39/50 6 October 2019

Protesters hold smoke grenades as they gather in central Kiev to demand broader autonomy for separatist territories, part of a plan to end a war with Russian-backed fighters

40/50 5 October 2019

Anti-government protesters rush to an injured man during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq

41/50 4 October 2019

Footage of a hugely rare polka dot zebra has been captured in Kenya. The foal was photographed in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

42/50 3 October 2019

A devotee dressed as the Hindu deity Maha Kali performs during Navratri festival celebrations in Ajmer in Rajasthan state, India

43/50 2 October 2019

A gust of wind lifts the cassock of Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St.Peter’s square in the Vatican

44/50 1 October 2019

Protesters clash with an Iraqi riot police vehicle during a demonstration against state corruption and poor services in Baghdad

45/50 30 September 2019

A student protester throws a burning stick at riot police officers during a clash in Jakarta, Indonesia

46/50 29 September 2019

An anti-government protester wearing a mask depicting U.S. President Donald Trump is pushed away by riot police during a demonstration at Causeway Bay district in Hong Kong, China

47/50 28 September 2019

A Japan fan smiles before the Japan v Ireland Rugby World Cup match in Shizuoka, Japan

48/50 27 September 2019

The Duke of Sussex walks through a minefield in Dirico, Angola, during a visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa

49/50 26 September 2019

A policeman stands on a blocked road in Le Petit-Quevilly as smoke billows from a Lubrizol factory classified SEVESO high-threshold site. Residents of twelve towns including Rouen have been asked to stay at home after a fire broke out according to the prefect of Normandy

50/50 25 September 2019

Participants dressed in traditional attire pose for pictures during rehearsals for Garba, a folk dance, in preparations for the upcoming Navratri, a festival during which devotees worship the Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India

1/50 13 November 2019

An anti-government protester flashes the V-sign for victory in front of burning tyres used to block a main road at the entrance of Tripoli. The previous night, street protests erupted across Lebanon after President Michel Aoun defended the role of his allies, the Shiite movement Hezbollah, in Lebanon’s government, cutting off several major roads. In his televised address, Aoun proposed a government that includes both technocrats and politicians

2/50 12 November 2019

An Israeli missile launching from the Iron Dome defence missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells. They were sent up to intercept rockets launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israel’s military killed a commander for Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence

3/50 11 November 2019

A species of deer thought to be extinct, the chevrotain, has been spotted for the first time in 30 years in the wilds of Vietnam. The deer is around the size of a domestic cat

4/50 10 November 2019

The royal motorcade of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, under tight security, passes through a street in Tokyo. Thousands of people gathered for the rare open-top car parade featuring the newly enthroned Emperor

5/50 9 November 2019

People knock over a mock-up of the former Berlin Wall during a performance prior to the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig on the 30 anniversary of the fall off the wall

6/50 8 November 2019

Flames from an out of control bushfire from a nearby residential area in Harrington, northeast of Sydney. Australian firefighters warned they were in “uncharted territory” as they struggled to contain dozens of out-of-control bushfires across the east of the country

7/50 7 November 2019

Demonstrators shine lasers during a protest against Chile’s government in Santiago, the capital

8/50 6 November 2019

Activists from India’s main opposition Congress party shout slogans as they are stopped by police during a protest against what the activists say is economic slowdown in the country, in Guwahati, India

9/50 5 November 2019

Smoke rises from a fire in downtown Lagos, Nigeria. Firefighters worked hard to try and extinguish a fire at the Balogun market. Thick black smoke and flames shot from the five-story buildings as fire trucks attempted to get access

10/50 4 November 2019

Women run down a sand dune as they take part in the desert trek “Rose Trip Maroc” in the erg Chebbi near Merzouga. It is a female-oriented trek where teams of three must travel through the southern Moroccan Sahara desert with a compass, a map and a topographical reporter

11/50 3 November 2019

Riot police descend an escalator inside the City Plaza mall in Hong Kong after a bloody knife fight wounded six people there. A local pro-democracy politician had his ear bitten off during another chaotic day of political unrest in the city

12/50 2 November 2019

People participate in the celebration of the ‘muerteadas de Jalapa del Valle’, as part of the Day of the Dead in Mexico

13/50 1 November 2019

Firefighters work to control flames from a backfire during the Maria fire in Santa Paula, California

14/50 31 October 2019

Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, over the Vestrahorn mountain in the east of Iceland

15/50 30 October 2019

A model presents a creation at the show Heaven Gaia by Xiong Ying during the China Fashion Week in Beijing. The fashion event runs from 25 October to 2 November

16/50 29 October 2019

Hindu devotees collect rice as offerings on ‘Annakut’ or ‘Govardhan Puja’ festival at the Madan Mohan temple in Kolkata. People in large numbers gather at the temple to collect the rice offerings in the belief that it will keep them in good health and they’ll never face poverty or scarcity of food

17/50 28 October 2019

Authorities investigate after a Port Authority bus was caught in a sinkhole in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

18/50 27 October 2019

South Africa players celebrate after beating Wales in their Rugby World Cup semi-final match. The Springboks will face England in next Saturday’s final following fly-half Handre Pollard’s match-winning penalty four minutes from time. The match ended 19-16

19/50 26 October 2019

Participants from Thailand pose in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as they take part in the annual gay pride parade in Taipei. Some two hundred thousand revellers marched through Taipei in a riot of rainbow colours and celebration as Taiwan held its first pride parade since making history in Asia by legalising gay marriage

20/50 25 October 2019

A girl enjoys a ball bath as she is being photographed at the made-for-Instagram museum ‘Cali Dreams’ in Dusseldorf, Germany. No artworks are shown in this museum, rather each visitor himself becomes an artwork by staging himself in front of one of the 25 sceneries. Cali Dreams is initially open for three months. After this test phase, however, the museum is planned as a long-term project

21/50 24 October 2019

A fire lorry speeds towards a rampant wildfire near Geyserville, California

22/50 23 October 2019

Protesters facing Lebanese army soldiers wave national flags in the area of Jal al-Dib in the northern outskirts of Beirut. A week of unprecedented street protests against the political class showed no signs of abating, despite the army moving to reopen key roads. Protests were sparked on October 17 by a proposed tax on WhatsApp and other messaging apps

23/50 22 October 2019

Liberal leader and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves to supporters beside his wife Sophie after the federal election at the Palais des Congres in Montreal. He managed to hold on to power, albeit of a minority government, in one of the most divisive elections in the country’s history

24/50 21 October 2019

A convoy of US vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq

25/50 20 October 2019

Japan players go over to thank their fans after South Africa beat them in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup. Makazole Mapimpi double ended the hosts’ dreams in Tokyo 3-26. The Springboks will now face Wales in the semi-finals for a place in the final

26/50 19 October 2019

Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at Al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt

27/50 18 October 2019

A protester throws a tire on a fire to block the highway north of Beirut, Lebanon. Protesters, mainly civil activists, started demonstrating in the downtown area on 17 October, condemning proposed taxes in the 2020 budget. An unexpected addition to impose a daily fee for using WhatsApp calls caused outrage. However, according to the Telecommunications Minister Mohamed Choucair, the charge will not make it through the government palace after the impact it has made on the streets

28/50 17 October 2019

Children watch as army tanks are transported on trucks in the outskirts of the town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border of Syria

29/50 16 October 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse amongst the first snow at Mouth Paektu

30/50 15 October 2019

Protesters create a burning barricade after the Supreme Court in Madrid handed lengthy prison sentences to nine of the detained Catalonian leaders for up to 13 years each

31/50 14 October 2019

Protestors light their torches during a peaceful rally in central Hong Kong’s business district. The protests that started in June over a now-shelved extradition bill have since snowballed into an anti-China campaign amid anger over what many view as Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s autonomy that was granted when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997

32/50 13 October 2019

Japan players celebrate victory after beating Scotland 28-21 to reach the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first ever time. The hosts head coach Jamie Joseph paid tribute to those who lost their lives in Typhoon Hagibis

33/50 12 October 2019

Surging waves generated by typhoon Hagibis hit the seashore in Mihama, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Hagibis is the strongest storm to hit in six decades and battered the country’s main island with torrential rain and violent winds
Firefighters battle the Saddleridge fire in Sylmar, California

35/50 10 October 2019

People run to take cover after mortars fired from Syria, in Akcakale, Turkey. An Associated Press journalist said at least two government buildings were hit by the mortars in Sanliurfa province’s border town of Akcakale and at least two people were wounded

36/50 9 October 2019

Policemen climb over a wall close to the site of a shooting where at least two people were killed at multiple locations in Germany, including near a synagogue in the city of Halle

37/50 8 October 2019

This multi-exposure picture shows USA’s Simone Biles performing on the beam during the women’s team final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart

38/50 7 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion activists block an intersection in Melbourne, Australia

39/50 6 October 2019

Protesters hold smoke grenades as they gather in central Kiev to demand broader autonomy for separatist territories, part of a plan to end a war with Russian-backed fighters

40/50 5 October 2019

Anti-government protesters rush to an injured man during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq

41/50 4 October 2019

Footage of a hugely rare polka dot zebra has been captured in Kenya. The foal was photographed in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

42/50 3 October 2019

A devotee dressed as the Hindu deity Maha Kali performs during Navratri festival celebrations in Ajmer in Rajasthan state, India

43/50 2 October 2019

A gust of wind lifts the cassock of Pope Francis during the weekly general audience at St.Peter’s square in the Vatican

44/50 1 October 2019

Protesters clash with an Iraqi riot police vehicle during a demonstration against state corruption and poor services in Baghdad

45/50 30 September 2019

A student protester throws a burning stick at riot police officers during a clash in Jakarta, Indonesia

46/50 29 September 2019

An anti-government protester wearing a mask depicting U.S. President Donald Trump is pushed away by riot police during a demonstration at Causeway Bay district in Hong Kong, China

47/50 28 September 2019

A Japan fan smiles before the Japan v Ireland Rugby World Cup match in Shizuoka, Japan

48/50 27 September 2019

The Duke of Sussex walks through a minefield in Dirico, Angola, during a visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa

49/50 26 September 2019

A policeman stands on a blocked road in Le Petit-Quevilly as smoke billows from a Lubrizol factory classified SEVESO high-threshold site. Residents of twelve towns including Rouen have been asked to stay at home after a fire broke out according to the prefect of Normandy

50/50 25 September 2019

Participants dressed in traditional attire pose for pictures during rehearsals for Garba, a folk dance, in preparations for the upcoming Navratri, a festival during which devotees worship the Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India

However, a few homes sustained direct hits and most of the country has been was brought to a standstill, with schools closed and large gatherings banned. 

The fighting was triggered by Israel’s targeting of Bahaa Abu al-Ata, a north Gaza commander in the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad militant group, who was killed in an airstrike at dawn on Tuesday, alongside his wife. 

At the same time, another strike attributed to Israel targeted a senior Islamic Jihad commander at his home in Damascus, Syria.

The targeted strikes marked a new surge in the open warfare between Israel and Iranian proxies in the region.

Islamic Jihad’s senior leader Ziad al-Nakhala said that the killing of Abu al-Ata “crossed all red lines”, and vowed that his fighters “are going to war”. 

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Hamas, the militant group that runs the Strip, has so far supported Islamic Jihad’s response verbally but kept out of the fighting, likely fearing the devastation of a protracted conflict.

Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, told The Independent fighters in Gaza did not want a war but were forced to respond to the “agresssion”. 

Egyptian officials have stepped up efforts to mediate between the warring sides. Meanwhile United Nations Middle East Envoy Nickolay Mladenov landed in Cairo from Tel Aviv for talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation was initiated by the military and was approved by the Cabinet 10 days in advance.

On Wednesday he vowed that Israel would continue to target Islamic Jihad members in Gaza as long as rocket fire continues.

“They know we will continue to strike them without mercy,” Mr Netanyahu said in a special cabinet meeting.  “They have one choice: either stop these attacks or absorb more and more blows.”

Israel’s new defence minister Naftali Bennett echoed the threat.

“Whoever plans to harm us during the day, will never be safe to make it through the night,’ Mr Bennett said.

Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army was trying to limit its activities to Islamic Jihad military targets in the hope of keeping Hamas on the sidelines and preventing a serious escalation.

“However, it’s very clear that if there will be Israeli casualties, the situation would change drastically and we would be forced to respond in a different manner,” he said.

In Gaza, Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire said they felt “trapped in an endless cycle of violence and misery” caused by Israel, as well as a power struggle between Islamic Jihad and Hamas. 

“We are condemned to live in these unbearable circumstances. Right now the situation is unpredictable,” said Mamoud, 31, from central Gaza. 

He said that Islamic Jihad was trying to prove they were the “guardians of resistance” against Israel and not tarnished like Hamas is by political negotiations. 

“It feels like they are trying to replace the existing leadership by winning the support and sympathy of the people in Gaza, we feel stuck in the middle,” he added.

While Mr Netanyahu’s decision to take out Abu Al-Ata was widely welcomed in Israel, some opposition figures suggested the timing was political and designed to help bolster Mr Netanyahu’s popularity.

Mourners chant slogans as they carry the body of Palestinian Islamic Jihad senior leader Baha Abu Al-Ata during his funeral in Gaza City (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Netanyahu heads up a caretaker government and is struggling to cling on to power after he failed to form a coalition government following two inconclusive general elections.

His chief challenger, former military chief Benny Gantz, is currently trying to build a coalition government of his own and has just a week left to secure enough support from party allies.

Mr Gantz said he had been briefed on the airstrikes in advance, calling it “the right decision,” and was updated on developments later.

But a successful military operation could help the embattled prime ministry stay in office, particularly as he will find out in the coming weeks whether the country’ attorney-general indicts him across three corruption charges.