On 11 May 2023, Israeli Defense Forces continued to conduct airstrikes on alleged Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip and retaliatory rocket fire continued to emanate from the strip toward southern Israel in the third consecutive day of an Israeli military operation dubbed “Operation Shield and Arrow.” While some media reports stated that both sides had agreed to a ceasefire, both Israeli authorities and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants denied that such an agreement was reached.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants have fired at least 500 projectiles toward southern Israel since the conflict began. Approximately 100 of the projectiles fell short and landed somewhere in the Gaza Strip, while 154 were intercepted by the country’s missile defense system. Four mortars caused minor damage to homes in the Eshkol Regional Council area and four Israelis have been injured, three of them while running for shelter. At least 25 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the operation began on 9 May. Israeli authorities have also reported the deaths of several senior members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Analyst Comment: Thus far, rocket fire has been largely confined to areas near the Gaza border in southern Israel; however, Israeli authorities are currently preparing for the possibility of expanded rocket fire toward targets farther into Israel. The longer the conflict continues, the more likely such an escalation becomes. Travelers to Israel should keep informed of local developments, and where possible, avoid travel to southern Israel until a ceasefire is reached.