No end in sight to hostilities in week two

World | 18 May 2021

Israel killed a senior Palestinian militant commander in Gaza yesterday in air strikes which it said also targeted underground tunnels used by Hamas, and Islamist groups renewed rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

The violence entered a second week with no sign of an end to the fiercest hostilities in the region in years, despite growing international concern and mounting calls for a ceasefire.

The death of Hussam Abu Harbeed, Islamic Jihad's armed commander for north Gaza, was likely to draw a fierce response from the militant group that is fighting alongside Hamas, the Islamist movement that governs Gaza.

The Israeli military said that Harbeed had been "behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians," and an Israel general said separately that his country could carry on the fight forever.

At least three Palestinians were also killed by an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City yesterday, medics said, after a night of heavy Israeli air strikes. Israel's military said Gaza militants had fired about 60 rockets toward Israeli cities overnight, down from 120 and 200 the two previous nights.

Another Palestinian was killed in an aerial attack on the town of Jabalya, medics said, and Gaza health officials put the death toll since the hostilities flared last week at 201, including 58 children and 34 women.

Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, authorities say.

After rockets were fired from Gaza at the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, Israeli jets bombed what the military said were 15 kilometers of underground tunnels used by Hamas. It also struck nine residences belonging to high-ranking Hamas commanders, it said.


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