The UN fears a “full-scale war” after the deadly exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military has escalated significantly.
More than 1,000 rockets have now been fired by Palestinian militants over 38 hours, Israel said, most at Tel Aviv.
Israel has carried out deadly air strikes, bringing down two tower blocks in Gaza on May 11.
Israeli Arabs have also staged violent protests in a number of Israeli towns.
The city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, has been put under a state of emergency.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” by the ongoing violence.
Six Israelis have died and in Gaza at least 43 Palestinians, including 13 children, have been killed since May 10, the health ministry said.
The latest fatality was an Israeli citizen, who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile, fired from the northern Gaza Strip, struck a jeep on the border. Two other people were injured.
The fighting follows weeks of rising tension stoked by violent confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at a site in Jerusalem that is holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Israel’s military says this is the biggest exchange since 2014.
Of the 1,050 rockets and mortar shells that have now been fired from Gaza, 850 had landed in Israel or were intercepted by its Iron Dome air defense system, and 200 failed to clear the border and landed back in Gaza, the Israeli army said.
Video footage from the city showed rockets streaking through the night sky, some exploding as they were hit by Israeli interceptor missiles.
Loud booms and air-raid sirens were heard across targeted cities, which included Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Modiin, and the southern city of Beersheba, as Palestinian militants tried to overwhelm missile defenses.
The rocket fire escalated after the two residential tower blocks were brought down in Gaza. Israel said it was targeting rocket launch sites, high-rise buildings, homes and offices used by Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza.
Hamas said it was incensed by the “the enemy’s targeting of residential towers”.
Residents had been warned to evacuate the buildings before the fighter jets attacked, however health officials said there were still civilians deaths.
US state department spokesman, Ned Price said Israel had the right to defend itself but the Palestinian people also had the right to safety and security.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Israeli strikes were “just the beginning”.
“Terror organizations have been hit hard and will continue to be hit because of their decision to hit Israel,” he said.
“We’ll return peace and quiet, for the long term.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised address: “If [Israel] wants to escalate, we are ready for it, and if it wants to stop, we’re also ready.”
Protests by Israeli Arabs in Lod escalated to full-scale rioting, with protesters throwing rocks at police, who responded with stun grenades.
A 52-year-old father and his 16-year-old daughter reportedly died when a rocket hit their car, with a number of other people injured in clashes, Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The violence caused Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to declared a state of emergency in Lod on May 11. It was the first time the government had used emergency powers over an Arab community since 1966, The Times of Israel said.
PM Netanyahu, who went to the city to call for calm, said he would impose a curfew if necessary.
Israeli media reported that synagogues and several businesses had been set on fire, while Reuters said there were reports a car driven by an Arab resident had been stoned.
Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s main international hub and one of the country’s busiest, briefly halted flights on May 11 and an energy pipeline between the cities of Eilat and Ashkelon was hit.
There has also been unrest in other cities with a large Israeli Arab population, as well as in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
European and US airlines have suspended flights into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport after a rocket landed one mile away.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered three US carriers that fly to Israel – Delta, United and US Airways – to halt flights for 24 hours.
European carriers Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France have also cancelled flights to Tel Aviv.
The move comes amid heightened scrutiny over flights near conflict zones.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry asked the airlines to reverse their decision, saying the airport was “safe for landings and departures”.
“Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” it said in a statement.
The FAA ordered three US carriers to halt Israel flights for 24 hours
The FAA’s prohibition only applies to US airlines. The agency has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
However, Lufthansa – which includes Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines – said it had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days.
Air France and KLM also said they had suspended flights scheduled to depart on Tuesday.
However, Air France said a flight scheduled for Wednesday is still scheduled to depart.
Delta said a flight from New York City to Tel Aviv was diverted to Paris on Tuesday after Israeli police confirmed that a rocket landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion airport.
Both and United said they had suspended operations in Israel for the near future – beyond the FAA’s 24-hr period.
US Airways said it had not yet made a decision.
British Airways wrote on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring the situation. Our flights are currently operating as scheduled.”
The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza, and as airlines around the world re-think their flight paths over conflict areas in the wake of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.
At least four people were injured in a car explosion in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on Menachem Begin Street, a major thoroughfare.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there was a strong possibility the blast was a criminal incident and a “settling of scores” but did not rule out political violence.
Israeli radio said the car belonged to the suspected head of an organized crime gang.
The black Mazda car burst into flames after being targeted by a motorcyclist nearby, Haaretz newspaper reported.
An empty bus nearby was also damaged in the explosion.
At least four people were injured in a car explosion in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on Menachem Begin Street, a major thoroughfare
Israeli media say the car’s owner did not appear to have been in the vehicle at the time.
Correspondents say that in recent years Israel has become a ferocious battleground for criminal gangs involving several mafia families.
Wednesday’s blast initially prompted fears of a Palestinian militant attack. A blast in the city allegedly carried out by an Israeli Arab injured 15 people in November last year, during Israel’s campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
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