Death toll rises as violence rocks Gaza, Israel and West Bank

World | 15 May 2021 11:38 am

Israeli planes renewed airstrikes in Gaza early on Saturday (May 15) and Hamas militants responded by firing rockets into Israel as their battle entered a fifth night and United States and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence, Reuters reports.

Palestinian medics said at least four people were killed in one of several air strikes in northern Gaza. Residents said Israeli naval boats fired shells from the Mediterranean though none may have hit the strip.

The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report.

Sirens sounded in two major southern Israeli cities warning of incoming fire from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for launching rockets.

With no sign of an end to the fighting, casualties spread further afield, with Palestinians reporting 11 killed in the occupied West Bank amid clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.

At least 132 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 32 children and 21 women, and 950 others wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.

Hamas said a woman and a boy were among four people killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit a home belonging to the Abu Hattab family in Gaza City's Beach refugee camp. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strike.

Among eight dead in Israel were a soldier patrolling the Gaza border and six civilians, including two children, Israeli authorities said.

Ahead of a session of the United Nations Security Council on Sunday to discuss the situation, Biden administration envoy Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, flew in on Friday.

The US Embassy in Israel said the aim was "to reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm".

Israel launched day-long attacks on Friday to destroy what it said were several kilometers of tunnels, launch sites and weapons manufacturing warehouses used by the militants in an effort to halt the rocket attacks.

Across central and southern Israel, from small towns bordering Gaza to metropolitan Tel Aviv and southern Beersheba, people have adjusted to sirens wailing, radio and TV broadcast interruptions and the beeps of cellphones bearing red alerts that send them rushing for cover.

Cross-border hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have been accompanied by violence in mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel. Synagogues have been attacked and street fights have broken out, prompting Israel's president to warn of civil war.



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