Israel-Gaza live: Israeli military destroys home of senior Hamas leader as airstrikes kill 33 Palestinians

Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed on the streets of Hebron in West Bank

The Israeli military says it has destroyed the home of Gaza’s top Hamas leader in the latest escalation in a week of intense violence in the region.

Despite international efforts to broker a ceasefire with the militant group Hamas, Israel appears to have stepped up its airstrikes in recent days to inflict as much damage as possible upon authorities in Gaza.

The military said it struck the homes of Yahya Sinwar, the most senior Hamas leader inside the territory, and his brother Muhammad, another senior Hamas member, after also destroying the home of senior figure Khalil al-Hayeh on Saturday.

It came as Israeli airstrikes in the heart of Gaza City killed at least 33 people and injured 50 in the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting erupted in the region earlier this month.

The Gaza health ministry said rescuers were racing to pull survivors and bodies from the rubble following the assault on Sunday.

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The Israeli military has said that 2900 rockets have been fired from Gaza over the last week in one of the “most intense” barrages ever, according to our Middle East correspondent Bel Trew.

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 13:33

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Middle East nations hold emergency meeting on Israel-Gaza conflict

The 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has opened an emergency meeting to discuss the conflict between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, in the first major move among Middle East nations to address the crisis.

At the start of the meeting, Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki of the Palestinian Authority, which administers autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, decried what he called Israel’s “cowardly attacks”.

“We are facing a long-term occupation, that’s the base of the problem. Crimes are committed against the Palestinians without consequences,” he said.

Mr Malki’s Palestinian Authority has no control over Hamas and the Gaza Strip, where the militants seized power in 2007.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took a similarly hard line stance, adding: “Israel alone is responsible for the recent escalation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

“Our warnings to Israel last week went unheeded.”

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 13:27

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Opinion: ‘There are many victims and few heroes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’

While hundreds of Arabs and Jews have taken the initiative to push for peace in Israel and Gaza, there are too few heroes in the ongoing conflict in the region, according to our international correspondent Borzou Daragahi.

Borzou writes:

“By and large, the most important players in the ongoing conflict have performed abysmally. Chief among the culprits is Benjamin Netanyahu. He did not create the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor the Jewish claim on East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood which sparked the latest round of violence.

“But Bibi has been Israel’s prime minister for the last 12 years, 15 years of the last quarter century. For better or worse, he has shaped contemporary Israel. And during that time, he allowed for and encouraged encroachments on Arab or properties in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel proper as well as a deterioration of rights of Palestinian rights.”

You can find his full piece below:

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 13:10

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Death toll from Israeli strikes in Gaza City rises to 33

The death toll from Israeli airstrikes on a main thoroughfare in Gaza City has climbed to 33, including eight children, the Gaza health ministry has said.

The ministry said another 50 people had been wounded in the strikes early on Sunday, approximately the same figure as reported earlier today.

It was the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers erupted nearly a week ago.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the incident, according to AP.

(REUTERS)

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 12:53

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Amnesty International calls for investigation into possible Israel ‘war crimes’

Amnesty International is calling upon the International Criminal Court to investigate an Israeli strike on a building housing media organisations and another where 10 people including eight children were killed, warning such attacks could be war crimes.

The human rights group said on Sunday that they were “deeply concerned over the mounting death toll” in Gaza since Monday.

It tweeted that the International Criminal Court must investigate Israel’s attack on al-Shati refugee camp, arguing that “direct attacks on civilians are war crimes.”

The group also said the attack on the media building “must also be investigated as a war crime”, adding that “the strike fits a pattern of Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian population.”

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 12:35

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Pope Francis denounces ‘unacceptable’ spiral of violence in Israel

Pope Francis has denounced the “unacceptable” spiral of violence between Israel and Gaza, warning that the deaths of children were a “sign that they don’t want to build the future but want to destroy it.”

During his Sunday blessing, Francis prayed for peace, calm and international help to open a path of dialogue in the region.

“I ask myself: this hatred and vendetta, what will it bring? Do we truly think that we can build peace by destroying the other?” the pope said.

He added: “In the name of God, who created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity and are called to live as brothers, I appeal for calm.”

Pope Francis delivers his Sunday blessing from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square

(AP)

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 12:18

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Agence France-Presse has decided to welcome the media teams from Associated Press and Al-Jazeera to work in its offices after their premises were destroyed by an Israeli airstrike yesterday.

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 12:08

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Gaza clinic for trauma and burn victims damaged by Israeli airstrikes

Médecins Sans Frontières has said one of its clinics for trauma and burn treatment in Gaza has been damaged by Israeli airstrikes.

“No one was injured in our clinic, but people were killed by the bombing,” the organisation said on Twitter.

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 11:54

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Two people armed with knives arrested after crossing Jordan border, Israeli police say

Two people armed with knives have been arrested after they claimed to have crossed into Israel from Jordan, police have said.

An Israeli police spokesperson said the two suspects had crossed the border overnight and were being questioned by security services.

Jordanian officials were not immediately available for comment for Reuters.

Earlier this week, pro-Palestinian protesters briefly entered Israel from Lebanon after storming border fences, while hundreds from Jordan attempted to enter the country along the eastern frontier.

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 11:39

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Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s ‘flagrant violations’ of Palestinian rights

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has condemned Israel’s “flagrant violations” of Palestinian rights and called on the international community to act urgently to put an end to military operations in the region.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud made his comments in televised remarks at the start of an emergency virtual meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The minister condemned what he called the violation of the sanctity of Islamic holy sites and “forcible” eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

He added that the international community needed to carry out its responsibility towards ending the “dangerous escalation” and revive peace negotiations based on a two-state solution.

Conrad Duncan16 May 2021 11:25

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