Israel unleashes airstrikes after vowing to attack in Gaza.Ceasefire expectations rise

Gaza Strip, Gaza Strip — Israel unleashed another wave of airstrikes across Gaza Strip early Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and injuring several.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have opposed the U.S. call to end the Gaza offensive and decided to do the most damage to Hamas in a war that could help save his political career. .. Still, close-to-negotiation officials say they expect the ceasefire to be announced within the next 24 hours.

As another sign of possible progress, Netanyahu scheduled a meeting with his Security Cabinet late Thursday, where the issue of ceasefire is likely to be discussed.

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Explosions struck the city of Gaza, orange flares illuminated the pre-dawn sky, and bombings were also reported in the central town of Deiral-Balah and the southern town of Khan Yunis. As the sun rose, residents investigated rubble from at least five family homes destroyed in Khan Eunice. There was also a violent airstrike on a commercial road in Gaza.

The Israeli army said it had targeted “military infrastructure” and attacked at least three homes of Commander Hamas in Khan Eunice, another home in Rafa, and a weapons storage unit in a home in the city of Gaza.

Hundreds of people have already been killed in the worst battle since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, US President Joe Biden told Israel On Wednesday he expected “a major escalation today on the road to a ceasefire,” but Netanyahu pushed back, saying “I decided to continue this operation until that goal was achieved.” It showed the first public rift between two close allies since the beginning of the battle and brought about a difficult test of President Biden’s early US-Israeli relations.

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Hope for a ceasefire increases

Still, Egyptian intelligence officials said the ceasefire was likely to occur at the end of Thursday or early Friday after US appeals boosted Cairo’s own efforts to stop the fighting. Officials discussed subtle discussions on condition of anonymity.

Khalid Okasha, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Egypt, which has close ties to the government, said a ceasefire was likely to occur during that period, as did Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official. ..

German Foreign Minister Mars visited the area and said Israel “has the right to protect itself from such unacceptable attacks.” However, he also expressed concern about the increase in civilian casualties and expressed support for the ceasefire effort.

According to diplomats, UN Special Envoy for the Middle East, Tor Wenesland, helped push forward efforts to regain calm in the Qatar Gulf countries. Energy-rich Qatar often assists in mediating between Israel and Hamas, and has recently stayed calm by donating hundreds of millions of dollars to development and humanitarian projects in Gaza. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Palestinians will meet at the Israeli airstrike site in Jabaria in northern Gaza on May 20, 2021.

Palestinians will meet at the Israeli airstrike site in Jabaria in northern Gaza on May 20, 2021.

In New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke at the beginning of an emergency meeting at the UN General Assembly, calling for immediate dismissal. He called on Israel and Hamas to “make it possible to step up mediation efforts to end the fighting.”

Overnight airstrikes in Gaza

Even when diplomatic efforts seemed to be gathering power, Israeli airstrikes slammed into and destroyed the Kawardi two-story house in Khan Eunice. Neighbor Shaker al-Cosondal said all 11 residents who slept outside the house in fear were injured and hospitalized.

The shrapnel also struck his own home, killing his aunt and injuring her daughter and two other relatives, he said. Al-Khozondar spoke from the bedroom of her aunt Hoda, who died. The windows were shattered, and the pillows and rubble on the bed were stained with blood.

Weam Fares, a spokesman for a nearby hospital, confirmed the death and said at least 10 people were injured in an overnight strike.

Violent airstrikes also struck the streets of the Javanese refugee camp in northern Gaza, destroying a fragile house with a corrugated metal roof nearby. The military said it had attacked two underground launchers in the camp used to launch rockets in Tel Aviv.

“I’ve never seen such a destruction in my life,” said Ibrahim Afana, 44. bombing. He said the military had called in some residents to warn them about an imminent strike. There were no reports of casualties.

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The current battle round between Israel and Hamas is on May 10 after a group of militants clashes with Palestinian protesters and Israeli police on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a sanctuary for Jews and Muslims, in Jerusalem. It started when we launched a long-range rocket towards. .. Aggressive police tactics in the complex and threatened evictions of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers fueled tensions.

Since then, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that allegedly targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, including its vast tunnel network. Hamas and other militant groups buried in residential areas launched more than 4,000 rockets in Israeli cities, but hundreds were missing and most of the rest were intercepted.

At least 230 Palestinians were killed and 1,710 were injured, including 65 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad of militant groups say at least 20 fighters have been killed, and Israel says at least 130 have been killed. About 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced.

In Israel, 12 people were killed, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, and a soldier. The military said an anti-tank missile launched from Gaza collided with an empty bus near the frontier on Thursday, causing minor injuries to Israeli soldiers.

Gaza’s infrastructure, which had already been weakened by the 14-year blockade since the beginning of the fighting, has rapidly deteriorated. After Hamas seized power in 2007, Israel and Egypt imposed blockades in areas where there was a shortage of medicines, water and fuel for electricity.

According to advocacy group Save the Children, the Israeli bombing damaged more than 50 schools across the territory and completely destroyed at least six. Education for nearly 42,000 children will be interrupted during the repairs.

According to the World Health Organization, the Israeli attack damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and destroyed one medical facility. Almost half of all essential drugs are deficient.

Klaus reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Isabel DeBre of Dubai, Frank Jordans of the United Arab Emirates, Berlin, Samy Magdy of Cairo, and Edith M. Lederer of the United Nations contributed to this report.

This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Israel unleashes a strike on Gaza, raising hopes for a ceasefire

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