Israel, Hamas commerce fireplace in Gaza; Palestinians strike
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israel launched a wave of air strikes on militant targets in Gaza that bulldozed a six-story building, and militants fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Tuesday. Palestinians across the region watched a general strike when the war showed no sign of easing in its second week.
The strikes toppled a building that housed Islamic University libraries and educational centers, leaving a massive mound of rebar and concrete slabs. Desks, office chairs, books, and computer cables could be seen in the rubble. The residents searched the rubble and looked for their belongings.
Israel warned residents of the building in advance and sent them into the pre-dawn darkness, and there were no reports of casualties.
“The whole street started running, then destruction, an earthquake,” said Jamal Herzallah, a local resident. “This whole area was shaking.”
Heavy fighting broke out on May 10 as the militant Hamas rulers fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem in the Gaza Strip to trigger Palestinian protests against Israel’s persistent policing on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a sacred hotspot for Jews and Muslims, and the Support threatened evictions of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
At least 212 Palestinians have since been killed in heavy air strikes, including 61 children and 36 women, injuring more than 1,400 people, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, which does not split the numbers into militants and civilians. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, were killed in ongoing rocket attacks fired from civilian areas in Gaza into civilian areas in Israel.
Palestinians in Israel, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank watched a general strike on Tuesday to protest the Gaza war and other Israeli policies, many of which activists and some right-wing groups claim constitute an overarching apartheid system that protects Palestinians from Jews granted rights denied. Israel rejects this characterization and says that its citizens have equal rights. She accuses Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, of instigating violence across the region.
The strike was called by leaders of the Palestinian community in Israel, which makes up 20% of the country’s population, and was welcomed by the internationally supported Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, where ministries and schools have closed. Most companies appeared to be watching the strike and protests were expected.
Muhammad Barakeh, one of the organizers of the strike, said the Palestinians are expressing a “collective position” against Israel’s “aggression” in Gaza and Jerusalem, as well as the “brutal repression” by the police in Israel.
Violence broke out in Israel last week, with groups of Jewish and Palestinian citizens fighting in the streets and setting fire to vehicles and buildings. Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli forces in both Israel and the West Bank.
The Israeli military said Tuesday it shot at 65 militant targets, including rocket launchers, a group of fighters and the homes of Hamas commanders that the army said would be used for military purposes. It was said that more than 60 fighter jets took part in the operation.
The military said it also shot down a drone “approaching the Israeli border” in the northeast, far from the fighting in the Gaza Strip. It was not stated where the unmanned aircraft came from, but it is possible that the drone came from Syria.
The military said Palestinian militants fired 90 rockets, 20 of which did not make it into Gaza. Israel says its missile defense intercepted roughly 90% of the missiles.
Israel’s strikes tore down several buildings and caused widespread damage in the narrow coastal area, home to more than 2 million Palestinians and which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas came to power by rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
The attacks damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and completely destroyed one health facility, the World Health Organization said in a new report. Almost half of all essential medicines on the territory have been used up.
The bombing of key roads, including those leading to Shifa Main Hospital, has hampered the movement of ambulances and supply vehicles. Over 41,000 displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in UN schools in Gaza already grappling with a coronavirus outbreak. Gaza is also running out of fuel for its electricity supply and water.
Israel has vowed to continue its operations, and the United States has signaled that even if President Joe Biden said he supported one, it would not pressure the two sides to enter into a ceasefire.
“We will continue to work as long as necessary to restore peace and security to all Israeli citizens,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a meeting with senior security officials on Monday.
The Biden government has so far refused to publicly criticize Israel’s role in the fighting or to send a high-ranking envoy to the region. On Monday, the United States again blocked a proposed UN Security Council statement calling for an end to the “Gaza-related crisis” and the protection of civilians, especially children.
Since the fighting began, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of air strikes allegedly targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,400 rockets at Israel.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad say at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel says the number is at least 160 and has published the names and photos of more than two dozen militant commanders it says “eliminated.” “were.
Israel’s air strikes have leveled a number of the tallest buildings in Gaza City that Israel claims contained Hamas’ military infrastructure. Among them was the building that housed The Associated Press Gaza office and other media outlets.
Netanyahu claimed that Hamas military intelligence operated inside the building and said that all evidence would be exchanged through intelligence channels. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he hadn’t seen any evidence of this.
AP President Gary Pruitt reiterated the organization’s call for an independent investigation into the attack.
“As I said, we have no evidence of a Hamas presence in the building, nor have we been warned of such a possible presence prior to the air strike,” he said in a statement. “We will check this as best we can. We don’t know what the Israeli evidence shows and we want to know. “
Krauss reported from Jerusalem. Associate press writer Isabel DeBre from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.