Blinken says rocket attacks on Israel must stop 'immediately'

"While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself, to defend its people and its territory."

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 10, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 10, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
WASHINGTON - The United States condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours, said Ned Price, the State Department Spokesperson. "This is an unacceptable escalation," he said.
"While we urge de-escalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend itself, to defend its people and its territory," Price added.
He went on to say that "it is critical for all sides to ensure calm and de-escalate tensions and avoid violent confrontations, such as the responsible decision to reroute today's [Jerusalem Day] parade."
"More broadly, we're deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip, including violent confrontations in Jerusalem, particularly in the Haram al Sharif Temple Mount, that has resulted in at least 180 additional injuries, as well as the rocket fired from Gaza, hitting houses in Jerusalem and the threat of further rocket attacks," Price continued.
"The United States will remain fully engaged to promote calm in Jerusalem and we welcome the steps the Israeli government has taken in recent days aimed at avoiding provocations, including the decision to avoid confrontations during the Jerusalem Day commemoration and the delay in the decision regarding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions."  
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel should stop "immediately," and he urged all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.
"We're very focused on the situation in Israel, West Bank, Gaza, very deeply concerned about the rocket attacks that we're seeing now, that they need to stop, they need to stop immediately," Blinken said ahead of meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
Safadi urged the United States to play a leadership role in reducing the violence.
Blinken also expressed concerns about the violence and 'provocative actions' in and around Haram al-Sharif, the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Tensions have been running high in the region for days. On Monday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel, carrying out a threat to punish Israel for violent confrontations with Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Gaza's ruling Islamist group Hamas had given an ultimatum demanding that Israel stand down forces in the al Aqsa mosque, Islam's third most sacred site.