Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, conflict enters second week – 05/17/2021 – World

Israel on Monday killed a top commander of the radical Islamic Jihad group in aerial bombardments that also targeted tunnels used by Hamas. In the meantime, Islamic groups have returned to launch rockets against Israeli towns.

The worst wave of violence in the region in years entered the second week with no signs that it will subside. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on both sides to protect civilians and said Washington was working hard behind the scenes to calm the conflict.

Health officials in Gaza say the death toll has risen to 201, including 58 children and 34 women. Ten people were killed in Israel, including two children, the government said.

The death of Hussam Abu Harbeed, the military commander of Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza, is likely to generate a harsh response from the radical group fighting alongside Hamas, the group that controls the region.

The Israeli military said in a statement that Harbeed was “behind several terrorist attacks with anti-tank missiles against Israeli civilians.”

Shortly after his death, Islamic Jihad said it fired rockets at the Israeli town of Ashdod, and Israeli police said three people were slightly injured.

Also on Monday, at least three Palestinians were killed in an airstrike on a car in Gaza City, medics said, after a night of Israeli shelling.

According to the IDF, militants in Gaza fired around 60 rockets at towns in the country overnight, fewer than the 120 and 200 on previous nights.

Another Palestinian was killed in an airstrike on the city of Jabalya, medics said.

Israel bombed what its military say is 15 kilometers of underground tunnels used by Hamas after rockets were fired from Gaza into the Israeli cities of Beer Sheva and Ashkelon. Nine houses belonging to Hamas commanders in Gaza were also hit, they say.

The IDF said at least 130 Palestinian fighters were killed and about 3,150 rockets fired into its territory from Gaza since the conflict escalated – most of which have been intercepted.

Hamas Says Its Attacks Are In Retaliation Against “Israel’s Persistent Aggression Against Civilians”

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.

On Israeli territory, 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.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Guterres, the UN secretary general, reminded all parties that “any indiscriminate attack on civilians and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs.” Guterres’ statements, along with the diplomatic actions of the United States and Egypt, have 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 Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

Any mediation, however, is complicated by the fact that the United States and most Western powers refuse to engage in dialogue with Hamas, which they consider 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.

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