22 Palestinians, including 9 children, killed in Israeli air strikes
An explosion in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip following an airstrike by Israel. (AFP)
At least 22 Palestinians were reportedly killed, including nine children, as Israel launched military strikes in Gaza following heightened tensions between the law enforcement agencies in Jerusalem with Palestinian civilians.
On the other hand, Israel claimed it had struck 130 "military targets" in Gaza and had taken out 15 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives.
"We have struck 130 military targets belonging mostly to Hamas," the Islamist group that controls the blockaded Gaza strip, Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.
"According to our current estimates we have killed 15 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives," he said.
Violence has spiralled since the Israeli police attacked unarmed Palestinians praying in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, wounding hundreds of Palestinians in the process.
Hamas had given the Israeli forces a 1500 GMT Monday deadline to vacate Al-Aqsa, Islam´s third holiest site.
Shortly after the deadline expired, there were reports of rockets being fired into Israeli territory.
Israeli military spokesperson Conricus said Israel could not yet confirm or deny that its strikes caused civilian casualties in Gaza strip.
He told reporters that sites targeted so far included weapons manufacturing and storage facilities, training sites and military bases in Gaza.
"We are in the early stages of our counter strikes... They will continue."
Tensions in Jerusalem persist after Israeli police brutality
Tensions in Jerusalem have flared since Israeli riot police attacked Palestinian worshippers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the city's worst disturbances since 2017.
Nightly unrest since then at the Al-Aqsa compound has left hundreds of Palestinians wounded, drawing international calls for de-escalation and sharp rebukes from across the Muslim world.
Diplomatic sources told AFP that Egypt and Qatar, who have mediated past Israeli-Hamas conflicts, were attempting to calm tensions.