Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza
On Sunday, an Israeli air strike in Gaza demolished many houses, killing 42 Palestinians, including 10 teenagers, according to health authorities, as militants fired rockets at Israel, with no end in sight to the seven-day conflict.
According to the Israeli military, the civilian deaths were accidental. It said that its jets targeted a militant tunnel system, which collapsed and brought the homes down.
The rebel organisation Hamas, which governs Gaza, termed it “premeditated assassination.”
As the United Nations Security Council met to address the worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed in years, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel’s war in Gaza will continue in “great power.”
Netanyahu has defended an Israeli air attack on Saturday that demolished a 12-story building housing offices for the Associated Press and Al Jazeera TV. He said the building still housed the intelligence office of a terrorist organisation and was therefore a valid target.
“We are acting now, (and) for as long as possible, to restore peace and quiet to you, the people of Israel.” “It will take time,” Netanyahu said after consulting with his security cabinet in a televised speech.
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 192, including 58 girls, according to the health ministry, after an intense Israeli air and artillery bombardment since the battle began last Monday.
According to Israeli officials, ten people have been killed in Israel, including two teenagers.
EFFORTS AT RESCUE
Palestinians worked to remove debris from one of the wrecked buildings levelled during an Israeli assault in a Gaza neighbourhood early Sunday, retrieving the bodies of a woman and a man.
“These are terrifying experiences that no one can explain.” “It felt like an earthquake hit the city,” said Mahmoud Hmaid, a father of seven who was assisting with rescue efforts.
The Israel military said its planes had attacked a Hamas tunnel network under a road in Gaza City.
“The underground military complex collapsed, forcing the foundations of the residential houses above it to crumble as well, resulting in accidental casualties,” the statement added.
The military said it made every effort to prevent civilian casualties, but blamed Hamas for “intentionally positioning its military installations underneath civilian buildings, exposing civilians to risk.”
“As normal, Israel is attempting to confuse the popular sentiment with these lies in an effort to justify the crime and avoid blame,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem in Gaza.
“What happened this morning was a pre-meditated killing,” said another Hamas leader, Sami Abu Zuhri, to Reuters.
“The photographs of what occurred and from the scene show that the buildings were attacked specifically, which led them to fall,” he said over the phone from Istanbul.
In New York, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed the Security Council that the fighting in Israel and Gaza was “utterly appalling” and demanded an urgent cessation of hostilities.
He stated that the UN is “fully engaging both parties toward an urgent truce” and urged them to “enable mediation efforts to accelerate and succeed.”
The US advised the Security Council that it has made it known to Israel, the Palestinians, and others that it is prepared to provide assistance “should the parties pursue a cease-fire.”
Netanyahu said in his speech in Israel that he wanted to “exact a price from the aggressor” and restore deterrence to avoid further war.
After weeks of tensions over a court battle to oust many Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and in revenge for Israeli police battles with Palestinians near the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest location, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Hamas launched its rocket attack on Monday.
According to the Israeli military, Hamas, an Islamist organisation considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States, and the European Union, and other armed groups have launched over 2,800 rockets from Gaza in the last week.
According to the military, this was more than half the amount shot during the 51-day war between Hamas and Israel in 2014, and perhaps more intense than Hezbollah’s bombardment from Lebanon during the 2006 war between Israel and the Iran-backed Shi’ite alliance.
Many of the missiles were intercepted by an Israeli anti-missile defence device, although others fell short of the border
NETANYAHU DEFENSES TOWER ATTACK
On CBS’s “Face the Country,” Netanyahu said that Israel had sent intelligence regarding Saturday’s assault on the al-Jala building to US authorities. Israel had provided the building’s tenants prior notice that they were to depart.
The Associated Press also criticised the strike and challenged Israel to provide proof that Hamas was present in the house.
According to Netanyahu, the building housed “an intelligence agency for the Palestinian terrorist group that plans and organises terror attacks against Israeli citizens, so it’s a completely valid goal.”
Hady Amr, the ambassador of US President Joe Biden, arrived in Israel on Friday for negotiations.
“He voiced what the administration has been telling publicly about Israel getting absolute U.S. help for protecting itself,” an official with firsthand knowledge of Amr’s meetings in Israel said.
“He made it plain that no one wants Israel to do otherwise, and that this is obviously not something that can be wrapped up in 24 hours,” said the unnamed official.
The reality that the US and most Western powers do not speak to Hamas as a matter of policy complicates any attempt at mediation.