US sends envoy as Israel-Gaza barrages spiral; truce calls mount
May 13 2021 12:20 AM
RELATED STORIES
Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-u
Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City

Reuters/Gaza, Jerusalem

*Gaza death toll climbs to 65, 6 die in Israel

 

Israel killed a Hamas commander and vowed no let-up in its Gaza barrages yesterday as Palestinian militants rained rockets far across the border and Washington dispatched an envoy to try to calm their most intense hostilities in years.

At least 65 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the enclave's health ministry.

Six people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Gaza City brigade commander and 15 other members of the Islamist militant group were killed in air strikes.

"This is just the beginning. We'll hit them like they've never dreamed possible," he said.

After the announcement, more rocket salvoes were fired at the Tel Aviv area and the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot.

Hamas confirmed the death of the commander and of "other leaders and holy warriors" in a statement.

Its chief Ismail Haniyeh added: "The confrontation with the enemy is open-ended."

Israel launched its military action after Hamas fired rockets in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including at a holy site during the fasting month of Ramadan.

A Palestinian source said truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations had made no progress to end the violence.

The cross-border fighting has touched off strife within Israel, where some in the Arab minority mounted violent pro-Palestinian protests.

Media reported spreading street attacks by Jews on Arab passersby in ethnically mixed areas yesterday.

Describing the scenes of destruction as "harrowing", US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a senior aide, Hady Amr, would be sent to urge Israelis and Palestinians to seek calm.

Israel pledged to keep pummelling Hamas.

"A 'truce' is not part of the jargon on our lips, certainly not in the coming day or two," military spokesman Brigadier-General Hidai Zilberman told public broadcaster Kan.

The military said its strikes were targeting rocket launch sites, Hamas offices and the homes of Hamas leaders.

"Israel has gone crazy," said a man on a Gaza street, where people ran out of their homes as explosions rocked buildings.

The fighting is the heaviest since a 2014 war in the Hamas-ruled enclave, and concern is growing that the situation could spiral out of control.

In Gaza, two multi-storey residential buildings and a tower housing media outlets, including one linked to Hamas, collapsed after Israel warned occupants in advance to evacuate, and another structure was heavily damaged in the air strikes.

Twenty-four people were killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza yesterday, Gaza's health ministry said.

Many in Israel also spent a sleepless night as waves of rockets hit its heartland, some blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.

"The children have escaped the coronavirus, and now a new trauma," an Israeli woman in the coastal city of Ashkelon told Channel 11 TV.

****

Biden hopes violence ending 'sooner than later'

US President Joe Biden said yesterday that after speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he hopes violent clashes with Palestinians will end soon.

"I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago," Biden told reporters. "My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory."

 



There are no comments.

LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
MORE NEWS

HAPPENING IN DOHAMore