On the seventh day of the clashes between Israel and Hamas, Israeli airstrikes at dawn on Sunday (16) killed 33 people, including 13 children, according to Gaza health officials. It is the deadliest action since the conflict began almost a week ago.
On the other hand, Palestinian militants have fired rockets at Israel, in what the country’s military says is the most intense wave of projectile launches ever against its territory. Today, the death toll in Gaza since the fighting began has reached 181 people, including 52 children. In Israel, 10 people, including two children, were killed in rocket fire by Hamas and other radical groups.
With no sign of an end to the worst escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians since 2014, the United Nations Security Council is due to meet on Sunday to discuss the situation.
Israel and Hamas, the Islamic group that rules the Gaza Strip, said they would continue the border clashes after the IDF on Saturday destroyed a building housing the operations of the US news agency Associated Press and Qatari television Al Jazeera.
After widespread international repercussions and criticism from the United States, the IDF argued that the Jala Tower was a legitimate military target because there would be Hamas military offices there. The armed forces also highlighted the fact that they alerted civilians before the action to force an evacuation.
In a statement, the Associated Press condemned the attack and asked Israel to provide evidence of Hamas operations or operations in the building. In retaliation for the building’s destruction, the Islamic faction fired 120 rockets overnight, according to the IDF, but many of them were intercepted and a dozen fell inside Gaza.
Still, the Israelis rushed to the air raid shelters after sirens alerted the launching of rockets in Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beer Sheva. A dozen people were injured as they ran for protection, according to Israeli doctors.
In a wave of airstrikes on Sunday morning, the IDF said it had struck the home of Yehya Al-Sinwar in Khan Younis, who heads Hamas’s political and military wings in Gaza.
Palestinians attempting to remove debris from a building collapsed by Israeli offensives recovered the bodies of a woman and a man. “These are moments of horror that no one can describe. Like an earthquake,” said Mahmoud Hmaid, a father of seven who helped with the rescue.
Across the border, in the Israeli town of Ashkelon, Zvi Daphna, a doctor whose neighborhood has been hit by several rockets, described a feeling of “fear and horror”. Israel’s security office is due to meet on Sunday to discuss the situation – there is no sign that the conflict will subside in the near future. In a televised speech on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel was still “in the middle of the operation” and that it “will continue as long as necessary”.
Hamas sparked the current clashes on the 10th, after weeks of tension over a court case to deport four Palestinian families to East Jerusalem and in retaliation for clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most popular place. of Islam.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, a status generally unrecognized by much of the international community, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem – captured by the Israelis in the 1967 Six Day War – to be the capital. of a future state.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups have fired around 3,000 rockets from Gaza since the current phase of the conflict began, the IDF said on Sunday morning. Israel, for its part, launched more than 1,000 airstrikes and artillery strikes against the densely populated coastal strip.
In a statement, UN Secretary General António Guterres of Portugal reminded all parties on Saturday that “any indiscriminate attack on civilians and press structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs”. Guterres’ statement, along with the diplomatic actions of the United States and Egypt, has been a fruitless effort to contain the violence of the past few days.
Hady Amr, a US envoy, arrived in Israel on Friday for negotiations, and US President Joe Biden on Saturday night called both Netanyahu and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas, but any mediation is complicated by the fact. that the United States and most of the Western powers refuse to engage with Hamas, which they regard as a terrorist organization. Abbas, who belongs to Fatah, a rival to the radical Islamist group, is based in the occupied West Bank, with little or no influence in Gaza.
In Israel, the conflict has been accompanied by violence between the country’s mixed Jewish and Arab communities, with synagogues attacked and shops vandalized belonging to Arabs and Jews. There has also been an increase in clashes in the occupied West Bank. There, at least 15 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since Friday, most in clashes.