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Israel-Gaza live: Israeli army unleashes airstrikes ‘targeting tunnel system’ as Biden backs ceasefire - VTBeyond

Israel-Gaza live: Israeli army unleashes airstrikes ‘targeting tunnel system’ as Biden backs ceasefire

Israel targets Hamas tunnel in Gaza in latest airstrikes

The Israeli army unleashed a fresh wave of airstrikes on Gaza overnight, as US President Joe Biden backed calls for a ceasefire.

Israel’s army said it was once again targeting an underground “metro” system it says is being used by Hamas operatives to evade surveillance.

In the latest round of airstrikes, the army said it unleashed at least 110 guided armaments, with fighter jets pounding Rimal in western Gaza City.

The residences of five Hamas commanders were also struck, with the Israeli military asserting that some of the homes had been used as command and control centres, while an anti-tank squad in Gaza City was also targeted.

The airstrikes came as President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas rulers in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

The US leader stopped short of demanding an immediate end to the violence, but “expressed his support for a ceasefire” and “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians,” the White House said.

Mr Biden also renewed his “his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks,” a readout of the call said.

As of Monday, at least 200 Palestinians, including 58 children, had been killed in the days since the recent surge in violence began last week, according to figures provided by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli authorities have said.

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US blocks statement from UN Security council expressing ‘grave concern’ over conflict

For a third time on Monday, the United States blocked what would have otherwise been a unanimous statement from the 15-nation UN Security Council expressing “grave concern” over the deadly upsurge of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US’s decision to reject the statement a third time has killed the effort for the time being.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki and national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US was more focused on “quiet, intensive diplomacy”.

It came as US President Joe Biden expressed his support for calls for a ceasefire, but stopped short of demanding an end to the violence himself in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 08:24
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Israel shells Lebanon after failed launches toward territory

The Israeli military says it fired artillery at Lebanon after six shells were sent from the country towards Northern Israel on Monday, falling short of crossing the border.

The military said it fired artillery at the “sources of the launches,” according to Reuters.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it had detected rocket fire from around Rashaya Al Foukhar in southern Lebanon.

“UNIFIL Head was immediately in contact with counterparts in the Lebanese army and IDF commands urging the parties to exercise maximum restraint in order to prevent any escalation of the situation. The IDF has now stopped the fire,” UNIFIL said on Twitter.

“The situation in the area is now calm,” it said.

So far, there have been no reports of casualties or damages.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 08:17
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Explosions light up sky as Israeli forces unleash fresh wave of airstrikes on Gaza

Explosions once again lit up the night sky in Gaza City as Israeli forces pounded the Palestinian enclave with a fresh wave of airstrikes overnight.

In the below photo captured by photographer Mahmud Hams, explosions can been seen as Israeli jets rained airstrikes down on the enclave in what the Israeli military said was a bid to further destroy an underground tunnel system it says is used by Hamas operatives.

The Israeli army said it also struck the residences of five Hamas commanders, as well as an anti-tank squad in Gaza City.

As of Monday, at least 200 Palestinians, including 58 children, had so far been killed in the upsurge of fighting between Israel and Hamas leaders that began last week.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 08:04
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Biden expresses support for ceasefire

President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas leaders in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, but stopped short of demanding an end to the violence himself.

In a readout of the call, the White House said the president “expressed his support for a ceasefire” and urged Israel to “make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”.

However, those statements only came after the White House said the president “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks”.

The White House said the two world leaders “agreed that they and their teams would remain in close touch”.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 07:55
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Israeli army unleashes fresh wave of airstrikes ‘targeting tunnel system’

The Israeli army unleashed a fresh wave of airstrikes on Gaza overnight in what it described as a renewed effort to destroy an underground “metro” system it says is being used by Hamas operatives.

In the latest round of strikes, the army said it unleashed at least 110 guided armaments, with fighter jets pounding Rimal in western Gaza City.

The Israeli army said the residences of five Hamas commanders were also struck in the assault.

It said some of the homes had been used as command and control centres.

The army further said that hit a Hamas anti-tank squad in Gaza City.

It accused Hamas of deliberately placing military targets in densely populated civilian areas in the Gaza Strip.

However, it said that while the army takes precautions to avoid harming civilians, it would continue operating with force “when necessary”.

As of Monday, at least 200 Palestinians, including 58 children, had been killed since the recent surge in violence began last week, according to figures provided by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, at least ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli officials have said.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 07:43
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Good morning and thank you for following The Independent’s ongoing coverage of the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Chantal Da Silva18 May 2021 07:38
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Israeli/Palestinian conflict must be debated ‘without Jew hate or Islamophobia taking over’

Dame Margaret Hodge has said “we have to be able to debate and disagree without Jew hate or Islamophobia taking over”.

The Labour MP for Barking, who is Jewish, told the Commons: “This House is sending out a very strong message today denouncing this vile racism, but our message can’t just be for today. Tragically, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict will not go away and we have to be able to debate and disagree without Jew hate or Islamophobia taking over.

“So my question to the Secretary of State is this – what action is he taking beyond today and beyond the brilliant work that the Holocaust Education Trust are doing with young people to inform and educate communities throughout Britain including the elected representatives, so that a discussion on an international conflict does not morph into a national expression of hate?

Responding, the communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: “She’s right to say that this is sadly just one of a number of incidents, and incidents of this nature have flared up in the past when conflict in the Middle East has done as well.”

He went on: “We need to ensure that we are rooting out anti-semitism, doing that through education working with all parts of society.”

Samuel Osborne17 May 2021 16:30
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What sparked the surge in violence between Israel and Hamas?

The deadly surge in fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas has seen at least 200 Palestinians killed and 10 killed in Israel.

As the deadly fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas enters its second week, Joe Sommerlad explains the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what prompted the recent surge of violence:

Chantal Da Silva17 May 2021 16:20
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Macron and el-Sissi stress ‘absolute need’ for end to fighting

French President Emmanuel Macron and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi have joined in stressing the “absolute need” to end hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, the French presidency has said.

Both leaders expressed “strong concerns” during a working meeting in Paris on Monday, the presidency said.

The world leaders are condemned the death toll of the fighting, which has seen at least 200 Palestinians killed, including 58 children and 10 people in Israel, including two children.

Chantal Da Silva17 May 2021 15:49
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Angela Merkel speaks with Netanyahu about surge of violence

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday about the current escalation of violence in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The chancellor expressed solidarity with Israel and the country’s right to self-defense, but expressed hope that the deadly fighting can come to an end, according to AP.

Ms Merkel’s office said she also stressed that her government would “continue to act decisively against protests in Germany at which hatred and antisemitism is spread”.

Chantal Da Silva17 May 2021 15:42