Monday morning news: May 6, 2019

Fighting intensifies in Gaza after Palestinian rocket attacks » Palestinian militants fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel again on Sunday. The rocket blasts killed at least four Israelis.

The bloodshed marked the first Israeli deaths from rocket fire since 2014. And Palestinian militants are threatening to send rockets deeper into Israel.

Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus with the Israeli Defense Forces said Israel will defend itself.

CONRICUS: The IDF holds Hamas responsible for every act of violence against Israel and Israeli civilians. We are prepared and ready to continue to retaliate against Hamas, and we’re prepared for different contingencies. 

In response to the attacks, Israeli Defense Forces have pounded Gaza with airstrikes. The IDF also said it has killed a Hamas commander involved in transferring Iranian funds to the group.

At least 20 Palestinians reportedly died in the airstrikes, including civilians.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. counted more than 400 rockets fired into Israel.

POMPEO: The Israelis have every right to defend themselves. I’ve seen video that we can’t validate just yet but where there have been strikes on homes, civilian populations. These rockets were fired with civilians around them in order to protect from return fire. 

Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group seeks Israel’s destruction. Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel since then.

Trump administration: No concerns over N.Korea missile launch » Secretary Pompeo also told ABC’s This Week that the U.S. is not worried about North Korea’s missile launch late last week. He noted that they were not intercontinental ballistic missiles.

POMPEO: At no point was there ever any international boundary crossed. That is they landed in the water east of North Korea and didn’t present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan. And we know that they were relatively short range.

Pompeo said he remains hopeful that the U.S. can still strike a nuclear pact with Pyongyang. But he added—quoting here—“We don’t expect chairman Kim to tell us the truth,” adding that the U.S. will insist on verifying any steps toward denuclearization.

President Trump tweeted over the weekend that he believes leader Kim Jong Un—quote—”knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”

At least 40 killed as airliner bursts into flames in Russia » A Russian airliner burst into flames while making an emergency landing at a Moscow airport last night, killing at least 40 people.

The Sukhoi SSJ-100 operated by national airline Aeroflot had 73 passengers and five crew members on board. As soon it touched down, massive flames engulfed the rear of the plane, sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

Russia’s Investigative Committee is trying to determine the cause of the accident. The exact death toll is not yet clear.

Author Rachel Held Evans dies at age 37 » Christian writer and speaker Rachel Held Evans died Saturday at a hospital in Nashville. She was only 37.

Her husband, Dan Evans, announced doctors had placed his wife in a medically induced coma several weeks ago. She suffered “unexpected symptoms” as doctors treated her for an infection and the condition worsened.

Evans was an often controversial author and blogger popular with theologically liberal Christians. In 2012, she wrote a New York Times bestseller in which she made light of male and female roles described in the Bible.

She is survived by her husband and two young children.

Racehorse owner may appeal Kentucky Derby disqualification » The sports world stood open-mouthed and stunned over the weekend after officials disqualified the would-be winner of the Kentucky Derby.

DERBY: So for the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby, the horse that crossed the line first has been disqualified. After the objection, Country House wins the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said the racehorse Maximum Security drifted out and interfered with other horses.

Maximum Security’s owner Gary West said Sunday he’s thinking about appealing the historic decision.

The next stop in the chase for the Triple Crown is the Preakness, but his horse might not race. West said the appeals process could extend beyond upcoming races.

Avengers: Endgame tops $2 billion in ticket sales » But there’s no stopping the runaway winner at the box office again this weekend. After just two weeks in theaters, Avengers: Endgame is now the second-biggest global release of all-time, crossing the $2 billion mark. It’s just the fifth movie ever to do so. In the U.S. it took in another $146 million over the weekend.

The PG-13 thriller The Intruder ran a distant second place with $11 million.

You can find WORLD’s reviews of current films—along with ratings and content information—at

(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) Smoke rises from an explosion after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, Sunday, May 5, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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