Palestinian residents of Gaza Strip woke up on Thursday to mark Eid al-Fitr – one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic calendar – amid relentless aerial bombardment by Israel.
Heavy bombardment on the Gaza Strip continued early on Thursday as Israeli forces launched a series of air raids on various locations.
“Most of Gaza is awake,” Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout said, noting that bombardments continue into the night and early on Thursday.
“From time to time you hear loud explosions, and the buildings are shaken.”
Hamas confirmed that its Gaza City commander, Bassem Issa, was killed in an Israeli air attack along with other senior members of the group. The national security office of Hamas was also reportedly hit again by Israeli strikes early on Thursday.
Local sources said Israeli fighter jets bombed sites belonging to Palestinian armed groups, in addition to security and police buildings.
In Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighbourhood, a pregnant woman, Reema Telbani and her child were killed in an Israeli attack on their home. An elderly couple in Gaza’s Sheikh Zayed neighbourhood were also buried under the rubble of their residence, after an Israeli strike.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health said the overall death toll since the start of the latest offensive stood at 69, including 17 children and eight women as of early Thursday. More than 390 others have been wounded.
Hamas, the group that rules the Gaza Strip, also launched a barrage of rockets into Israel after Israeli missiles destroyed a third tower in the besieged coastal territory.
At least seven Israelis, including one child, have also been killed. The Israeli army said about 1,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave’s eastern lands.
Inter-communal violence have also been reported within Israel, with Arab Israelis clashing with Jewish Israelis across the country.
Here are the latest updates:
One dead, another injured after Israeli bombardment at Khan Younis
At least one person was killed and another one was injured following an Israeli air raid in the town of al-Fukhkhari in the Gaza governorate of Khan Younis, according to Safe Press agency on Thursday.
Israeli bombardment of Gaza continued on Thursday as the Palestinian territory observed Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
At least 69 people have been reported killed in the Israeli operation, while almost 400 were injured.
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian citizens in occupied Jerusalem
Israeli settlers attacked on Thursday residents of Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood in the town of Silwan in occupied Jerusalem.
The attack, which was captured on video, happened as Palestinians marked the first day of Eid al-Fitr, according to Safa Press agency.
📹 مستوطنون يعتدون على أهالي من حي وادي حلوة ببلدة سلوان بالقدس المحتلة في أول أيام عيد الفطر pic.twitter.com/qauWhIKXNW
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) May 13, 2021
Israel police accused of attacking Palestinian homes in Israel
Israeli police are facing allegations of fomenting violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
In Haifa, videos circulating on social media early on Thursday showed a group of men in uniform, carrying batons and beating an unarmed man, as they barged into his residence.
شاهد| اقتحام منزل في النّاصرة من قبل الشرطة "الإسرائيلية" والاعتداء على من فيه. pic.twitter.com/QekBa7V7vF
— الجرمق (@aljarmaqnet) May 12, 2021
Another video shared online showed several men trying to fend off a group of Israelis who were beating them with sticks, as they tried to enter their home.
The residents eventually pushed back the attackers and shut the door behind them as a woman and children screamed in fear.
Israeli mob and police try to break into a Palestinian family’s home in Haifa. This is the terror Palestinians are facing right now under the Israeli state. pic.twitter.com/tC4TX2MrPM
— IMEU (@theIMEU) May 12, 2021
Thousands gather at Al Aqsa to welcome Eid al-Fitr
Thousands of Palestinian worshippers gathered at Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Thursday to mark the end of Ramadan and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, one of the holiest days in Islam.
Thursday’s celebration has been marred with violence, as Israel continues its air raids targeting areas in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
At 69 people, including 17 children and eight women, were killed in Gaza as of early Thursday. More than 390 others have been wounded.
Six Israelis were also killed following rocket attacks on Israel.
أطفال ونساء وشيوخ وشباب يؤدون صلاة العيد في المسجد الأقصى المبارك..
أعاده الله على أقصانا محرر pic.twitter.com/KPdrZz0go5
— الجرمق (@aljarmaqnet) May 13, 2021
Violence reported in Israeli city of Haifa
Firefighters tried to put out fire at a building in the Israeli city of Haifa following inter-communal violence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel early on Thursday.
It was unclear who started the attack, but a group of Jewish Israelis earlier roamed Haifa on Wednesday night attacking Arab businesses, residences and a mosque.
The Israeli public broadcaster, Kan, reported that at least 59 people were reported to have suffered from smoke inhalation across Israel’s third largest city, which has an estimated 10 percent Arab population, both Christians and Muslims.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 13, 2021
Analyst predicts an extended inter-communal violence in Israel
Violence between Palestinian citizens and Jewish Israelis has erupted following the police raid of Palestinian worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and the inter-communal fighting could last for a while until the Israel government addresses the root cause of their conflict, a political analyst said.
“This is not going to be easy to put a stop and it could go on longer,” Mouin Rabani, co-editor of Al Jadaliyya magazine, said, predicting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a difficult task of putting an end to the polarisation.
“At this level and at this scope and duration, it certainly is unprecedented. I think it needs to be seen in the context of two factors: The first one is the almost 75 years of systematic dispossession, discrimination and racism by the state against Palestinians in Israel,” Rabani told Al Jazeera.
The second and more urgent issue is the defence of Al Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah issue, which have also left ordinary Palestinians looking after themselves amid the Israeli state’s “oppression”, Rabani said.
In this video, a Jewish man is driving around with a loudspeaker asking, "Give me the addresses of Arabs in Netanya." https://t.co/wGZP40bvfE
— Joshua Leifer (@joshualeifer) May 12, 2021
New Israeli air strike hits western Gaza
Safa Press agency is reporting that another air strike hit western Gaza early on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear which target in Gaza was hit by the Israeli army.
Meanwhile, the news agency reported of sirens being activated in Karam Abu Salem, just east of the border with Gaza. The area is being occupied by Israeli settlers.
Hamas defiant amid deadly bombardment
Hazem Qassem, a spokesperson for Hamas, has vowed that his group will continue its struggle to defend the Palestinians, while hinting of a more diversified response against Israel.
Safa Press agency quoted Qassem early on Thursday as saying that Hamas is “expanding its response throughout the Zionist entity.”
Since the Israeli police crackdown against Palestinian worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the group Hamas has launched more than a thousand rockets into several areas within Israel.
While most of the rockets have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system, some have landed in residential areas killing at least six Israelis.
Bodies of couple killed in Gaza pulled out of rubble
The bodies of an elderly man and his wife, whose residence in Gaza’s Sheikh Zayed neighbourhood was hit by an Israeli air strike, have been recovered, Al Jazeera has learned.
The remains of the couple from the al-Madhoun family were pulled out from under the rubble of their home, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
According to Al Jazeera’s latest count, at least 69 people are confirmed dead, including 17 children and eight women in the ongoing Israeli operation.
As of Thursday morning, Israel continues to bombard several building in Gaza, including the Hamas National Security office.
Rocket hits building in Israeli city
A social media video posted by the website AlJarmaq early on Thursday showed a building in the city Petah Tikva on fire after it was hit by a rocket.
Petah Tikva is located just east of Tel Aviv.
It was not immediately clear if there were casualties in the incident.
أضرار كبيرة جراء سقوط صاروخ على مبنى في بيتاح تكفا شرق "تل أبيب". pic.twitter.com/7x0rv991Hv
— الجرمق (@aljarmaqnet) May 12, 2021
Blinken calls for de-escalation in call with Abbas
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated his call for de-escalation of tensions and urged and end to current violence in a phone call with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
In a statement issued late on Wednesday, Blinken also “expressed his condolences for the lives lost” as a result of the Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory of Gaza, while also condemning the deadly rocket attacks into Israel.
“The Secretary also expressed his belief that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, dignity, security and prosperity,” said Ned Price, the state department spokesman.
Earlier in the day, Blinken also held a separate phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Awad lost all of his family in 2006, when Israeli war planes bombed their house killing his parents, and his 6 siblings. Awad was the only survivor, he was 19 back then. Today the Israeli army killed Awad in #Gaza https://t.co/xDScTgwLc6
— Fidaa فِداء (@fidaazaanin) May 13, 2021
Urgent UN Security Council meeting on situation requested: AFP
AFP news agency is reporting that Tunisia, Norway and China have requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting be scheduled for Friday.
The session would be public and include participation by Israel and the Palestinians, diplomats told AFP.
The Council has already held two closed-door virtual meetings since Monday, with the United States opposing the adoption of a joint declaration, which it said would not “help de-escalate” the situation.
Gaza death toll rises to 67
At least 67 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip, the local health ministry has said. Several hundred others have been injured in the ongoing violence.
‘No safe space in the Gaza Strip’: DCI-Palestine
Defense for Children International-Palestine accused Israeli forces of showing “near-complete disregard for international law, deploying explosive weapons and attacking densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza” in its recent strikes on the Palestinian territory.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, the group’s accountability programme director, said in a statement that Palestinian children and families are trying to seek shelter – but “there is no safe space in the Gaza Strip”.
“Palestinian children in Gaza increasingly bear the brunt of Israel’s repeated military offensives and a humanmade humanitarian crisis as a result of Israel’s closure policy toward the Gaza Strip,” he said.
AOC slams Biden for comment on Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’
US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, widely referred to as AOC, slammed US President Joe Biden for his comments earlier on Wednesday that Israel has “a right to defend itself” against rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that those types of statements, with “little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated the latest surge in violence … dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations”.
Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence – namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa – dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong. https://t.co/afCgoGdiMG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2021
‘Exercise restraint and reach a de-escalation,’ Red Cross official urges
Ignacio Casares Garcia, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Gaza Sub-delegation, told Al Jazeera that all parties to the conflict must respect international law.
That includes a prohibition on direct and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, the need to act proportionally, and the need to issue precautions.
“In this regard, we strongly ask the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and reach a de-escalation from where we are now,” he said.
Palestinian children traumatised as explosions continue in Gaza
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza in the early hours of Thursday morning local time, said loud explosions heard throughout the day and night are leaving Palestinian children traumatised.
“All the children in Gaza, when they are sleeping and they wake up with these huge explosions, of course this is causing psychological problems,” he said.
Al-Kahlout said the director of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest hospital in the Palestinian territory, said most people arriving with injuries in recent days have been civilians, including women and children. “The healthcare system is collapsing in Gaza,” the director said.
Democratic lawmakers urge US pressure on Israel to halt forced expulsions
A group of 25 Democratic legislators in the US are urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pressure Israel to stop the planned forced displacement of several Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem.
The forced expulsions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood would constitute “a blatant human rights violate”, said Congresswoman Marie Newman, who spearheaded the letter.
The forced displacement of Palestinian families in #SheikhJarrah is a blatant human rights violation.
We must defend human rights everywhere. pic.twitter.com/ZIHtv5Sto6
— Congresswoman Marie Newman (@RepMarieNewman) May 12, 2021
Biden speaks to Netanyahu, believes violence will conclude soon
US President Joe Biden sounded an optimistic tone on Wednesday about violence between Israelis and Palestinians concluding soon after he had a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“My expectation and hope is this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
Read more here.
Gaza death toll reaches 65
The death toll in Gaza rose to 65 Palestinians, including 16 children and five women, according to the Ministry of Health.
At least 365 people have been wounded, including 86 children and 39 women.
Meanwhile, six people were killed on the Israeli side by rocket fire, including the first death of an Israeli soldier in this round of conflict. About 100 Israelis have also been wounded.
Intercommunal violence resumes
Violence between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews, seen on earlier days this week, has resumed.
In Bat Yam, a Tel Aviv suburb, a group of black-clad Israelis smashed the windows of an Arab-owned ice cream shop and Israeli ultranationalists could be seen chanting, “Death to Arabs!” on live television.
In the northern city of Tiberias, an amateur video uploaded to social media appeared to show a crowd of flag-waving Israelis attacking a car.
Israel’s Channel 13 quoted a senior police officer as saying Palestinian citizens of Israel are suspected of attacking and seriously wounding a Jewish man in Acre, also known as Akka.
Palestinian citizens of Israel say the violence of the past two days was not directed at Jews, but at Israeli nationalists with close ties to the settlement movement who have moved into mixed areas in recent years, pushing Arab residents out.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said on Monday and Tuesday there was violence from both sides, but “the preponderance of it was Arab against Jew. Now it seems to be largely the other way round – a lot of Jewish attacks on Palestinian-Israelis in many mixed cities across the country”.
Calls for more action from Palestinian leadership
Human rights lawyer Noura Erakat called on Palestinian leaders to act as tensions continued to rise.
“Right now, we’re all paying attention because of the crisis, because of the confrontation, because settlers backed by the state, by the judiciary as well as the police are about to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and set off across the boundaries separating Palestinians from one another,” she told Al Jazeera.
She said the Palestinian leadership has been “lacking in many respects”. “I think it has for a very long time failed to represent the Palestinian people adequately … Palestinian official leadership at this point should be pivoting to encourage diplomatic capitals to impose sanctions on Israel, to have a full front effort for accountability, to mobilise into a different discourse far from sitting down, peace mediation and instead towards justice, accountability and pressure.”
Top Israeli rabbi urges Jews to maintain restraint
One of Israel’s two chief rabbis appealed for restraint as media reported a spread of street attacks by Jews on members of the country’s Arab minority, some of whom have mounted protests in solidarity with Gaza Palestinians.
“We must not be dragged into provocations and inflicting harm on people or property,” Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said in a statement.
“The Torah of Israel grants no licence for taking the law into one’s hands and acting violently.”
More Israeli attacks on Gaza
Reporting from Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout said more attacks from Israel targeted the besieged coastal enclave.
“The explosions can be heard everywhere. The streets in Gaza are empty except for ambulances which have been rushing in different directions. Unfortunately, they’re all carrying causalities,” said Kahlout.
“Israeli [forces] have been warning many families to evacuate and leave their homes which they will destroy later.
“The local Al Mizan human rights centre yesterday counted 16 houses that were destroyed by the Israelis. Today, at least another five have been destroyed,” he added.
Al-Kahlout said that tens of families were now homeless.
“Some have managed to stay with relatives or friends until they find a solution to the sudden crisis.”
Jewish Israelis attack mosque in Lod
Jewish Israelis attacked the Al-Nour Mosque in the Arab-majority city of Lod.
The Israeli government had declared a state of emergency in Lod, also known as Lydd, where about a third of the population of 77,000 are Palestinian citizens of Israel.
المستوطنون اليهود يهاجمون مسجد النور في اللد داخل الخط الأخضر والشبان الفلسطينيون يهبون للدفاع عنه pic.twitter.com/A0rHvC77uH
— Tamer Almisshal تامر المسحال (@TamerMisshal) May 12, 2021
Translation: Jewish settlers attack Al-Nour Mosque in Lod and Palestinian youth move to protect it.
Israeli forces kick out al-Kurd siblings from Sheikh Jarrah
Israeli police forces escorted Muna al-Kurd, 22, and her twin brother Muhammad, both residents of Sheikh Jarrah, out of their neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
In recent months, the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood saw a series of sit-ins by Palestinians to protest against Israeli orders to expel them from their homes, which they have described as a continuation of the ethnic cleansing that began with the Nakba in 1948.
— Jalal (@JalalAK_jojo) May 12, 2021
The al-Kurd family is among a group of Palestinian families that face imminent expulsion from Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Israeli settlers.
The siblings have been prominent voices for Sheikh Jarrah on social media and have been speaking out to news outlets all over the world.
Half of the al-Kurd family home was taken over by Israeli settlers in 2009. Mohammed previously told Al Jazeera that sharing their home with “squatters with Brooklyn accents” was “insufferable, intolerable [and] terrible”.
Russia: International quartet meeting urgently needed
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the meeting of the international quartet on resolving the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is urgently required to stop the tensions.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking at the same briefing in Moscow after talks with Lavrov, said the UN is totally committed to revitalising the work of the quartet.
Israeli youth vandalise Palestinian shops in Jaffa
Palestinian citizens of Jaffa reported escalating tensions in Jaffa as Jewish residents targeted the Palestinian community in mixed Palestinian-Jewish city.
Videos shared on social media showed Israeli residents vandalising shops, which Twitter users said belong to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
— Isra’a Alhalawani (@israa_alhalwani) May 12, 2021
Translation: Terrorist settlers target Palestinian shops in the occupied city of Jaffa.
Blinken voices concern over rocket attacks on Israel
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the US State Department said.
In the phone call, Blinken expressed his concerns regarding the “barrage of rocket attacks” on Israel, while reiterating his call on all parties to de-escalate tensions.
He emphasised to Netanyahu the need for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in safety and security.
Gaza rocket kills six-year-old boy in Israel’s Sderot
The latest barrage of rockets launched from Gaza by Hamas killed a six-year-old boy in southern Israel, the United Hatzalah volunteer rescue group said.
“A six-year-old boy was killed when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential building in Sderot,” United Hatzalah said, adding that it was treating four other people, including one with “serious” injuries. Five others were wounded.
US airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines have cancelled flights from the United States to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday, according to data by flight tracker FlightAware.
Spokespeople for United and Delta confirmed the cancellations and said the airlines were monitoring the situation in Israel.
Delta has “no determination about resumption at this juncture”, a spokesman said.
There were also reports of French airlines cancelling flights to Tel Aviv.
Iran FM meets Palestinian armed groups in Damascus
During his visit to Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met a group of Palestinian armed groups, including the General of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, a Palestinian group based in Syria.
The meeting was to show the world Iran’s solidarity with Palestine, said Talal Naji, assistant secretary-general of PFLP.
High-level US engagement to de-escalate tensions
Speaking from the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there has been a lot of activity and engagement around the latest developments in Palestine and Israel.
“We’ve had more than 25, high-level calls and meetings by senior US officials with senior officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and their partners and other stakeholders including the Qataris, the Tunisians, the Jordanians and the Egyptians who, as you all know, have an important role to play in the region, as we work to move towards de-escalation…”
“Just yesterday we had more than 10 phone calls by senior Washington-based officials including national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s call with his counterpart in the region.
He added that the US will be nominating an ambassador to Israel over the coming weeks.
Hamas says 130 rockets fired at Israel, raid sirens in Tel Aviv
Hamas said it fired 130 rockets at Israel following an attack on a multistorey building in Gaza City, as air raid sirens wailed across Israel, including in Tel Aviv.
Hamas said in a statement that its barrage of rockets was a response to Israel’s levelling of the Al-Shorouq tower.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from southern Israel, said six or seven Hamas rockets in the latest barrage evaded Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and landed in Ashkelon, a central coastal city. No injuries were reported there.
Al Jazeera journalists and the Israeli army confirmed sirens were sounding in several southern communities and the Tel Aviv area.
Mass pro-Palestinian protests in Jordan
Thousands of Jordanians continued protests on the streets of the Jordanian capital, Amman, in support of Gaza and Jerusalem.
الشعب يريد تحرير الأقصى pic.twitter.com/59j1S1yo5F
— محمد أبو سليم (@mohabosaleem) May 12, 2021
Israel must be taught a ‘lesson’, Erdogan tells Putin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Russian leader Vladimir Putin that the international community should “give Israel a strong and deterrent lesson” over its conduct towards the Palestinians.
Erdogan made the comment during a phone call with Putin, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate said, amid escalating violence in occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Read more here.
Gaza death toll rises to 56
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli air attacks on Gaza since Monday has risen to 56, including 14 children.
Another 335 people were injured, said the ministry, while three Palestinians were also killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
Six in Israel, including an Israeli soldier and one Indian national, were killed by Hamas attacks from Gaza. About 100 Israelis have also been wounded.
Pentagon chief reiterates ‘ironclad’ support to Israel
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated the United States’ “ironclad support” for Israel in a call with his Israeli counterpart, the Pentagon said.
“Secretary Austin conveyed the Department’s ironclad support for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
“[Austin] reiterated the importance of all involved parties to take steps to restore calm,” Kirby added.
Blinken sends envoy to Middle East
The United States is sending a diplomat to the Middle East to urge Israelis and Palestinians to calm tensions, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, describing scenes in the region as “harrowing”.
“The images that came out overnight are harrowing. And the loss of any civilian life is a tragedy. I have asked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hady Amr to go to the region immediately to meet with Israelis and Palestinians … he will urge, on my behalf and on behalf of President [Joe] Biden, a de-escalation of violence.”
Israel destroys third Gaza tower
An Israeli air attack destroyed a multistorey building in Gaza City, Youmna al-Sayed, a journalist reporting from Gaza City, told Al Jazeera.
The 14-storey Al-Shorouq tower in the city was home to lots of media offices in the Gaza Strip and is in a densely populated area. She said it had been hit by a couple of “warning” missiles, then a full missile attack.
“I can assure you that the aftermath of the destruction of this tower is going to be just terrible,” she said.
She said the building was not used by Hamas fighters.
— Muath Humaid-Gaza (@MuathHumaid) May 12, 2021
Translation: Al-Shorouq tower in Gaza City completely destroyed.
“Targeting such a building which holds media offices is a clear message by the Israeli occupation that it does not want any media to tell the truth of what is going on in the Gaza strip: the crazy air raids that are taking place in every moment; the killing and targeting of civilians of residential buildings and apartments; hundreds of Palestinians have been wounded in just two days of escalation,” she said.
“They [Israel] are using their massive power to bring down the civilians of the Gaza Strip to pressure the Palestinian factions.”
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from southern Israel, said the Israelis claim the large buildings they target have been used by Hamas forces.
“And of course it is a huge statement of power to its enemies inside Gaza; that [Israel] has the ability to do these extremely large scale destructions of what have been landmarks in Gaza.”
France: ‘Everything must be done’ to avert Middle East conflict
The international community must do everything possible to avert a new conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, France’s foreign minister said.
“The cycle of violence in Gaza, in Jerusalem, but also in the West Bank and several cities in Israel risks leading to a major escalation,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament.
“Everything must be done to avoid … a conflict” that would be the fourth such deadly confrontation in the last 15 years, he said.
“It is absolutely essential that all actors – without exception – show the greatest restraint and refrain from any provocation and any incitement to hatred to put an end to violence whose victims are chiefly Palestinian and Israeli civilians,” he said.
‘Broader conflict’ must be averted, says EU
Israelis and Palestinians must immediately halt their violence “to prevent a broader conflict” affecting civilian populations, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned.
“The EU is dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children,” he said in a statement. “All efforts should be directed at avoiding civilian casualties, and supporting de-escalation.”
Protests called in West Bank as frustration grows with the PA
Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said protests were set to take place in Ramallah about 9pm local time (18:00 GMT) in support of Palestinians in Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Ibrahim added the protests will also likely express growing anger towards the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The PA is holding its meeting at about 9:30pm local time, focusing on a diplomatic effort and trying to gain a stronger response from the international community to the recent escalation in violence.
Ibrahim said the mood in the West Bank is “frustrated at the Palestinian Authority. They say they don’t expect the meetings of the Palestinian Authority to take strong steps when it comes to the Israeli violations.”
“There has been a growing feeling among Palestinians that the Palestinian Authority is not being part of the solution, so it might be part of the problem.
PA defends its security cooperation as being part of the Oslo Accords signed with Israel, but many protesters in recent demonstrations have been chanting vociferously against the accords, said Ibrahim.
US blocks statement on Israel from UNSC
The UN Security Council held another emergency meeting on the worsening tensions between Israel and Palestinians, again without agreeing on a joint statement due to opposition from the United States, Israel’s key ally, according to diplomats.
The US saw the UNSC meeting as a sufficient show of concern, one diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“The US doesn’t see that a statement will help de-escalate,” said another.
According to sources, 14 of the 15 members of the Council were in favour of adopting a joint declaration aimed at reducing tension.
Israel imposes night curfew in Lod
Israel imposed a night curfew over the Arab-majority city of Lod, also known as Lydd.
The Israeli government had declared a state of emergency in Lod, where about a third of the population of 77,000 are Palestinian citizens of Israel.
NOW: Israeli forces are invading the town of Lydd (within Israel) to repress Palestinian protest against Israeli apartheid and colonialism. pic.twitter.com/rjSMAq0Sro
— IMEU (@theIMEU) May 12, 2021
A Palestinian man was shot dead, and a synagogue and dozens of vehicles were set on fire. The mayor likened it to a “civil war”.
Israel building up military hardware at Gaza border
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from southern Israel, said Israel has been sending a significant volume of military hardware towards the border with Gaza, with the Israeli defence minister saying that this is an operation without an end date at the moment.
“That doesn’t mean that there is necessarily going to be a ground invasion – certainly there are significant risks as far as Israel is concerned, given how much it has already been able to do from the air,” Fawcett said.
“But we’ve seen a number of tracked vehicles, heavy artillery, and self-propelled howitzers being put into place on the back of flat-bed lorries, which have then been returning empty. So certainly there is preparation for a different phase, or at least a sign of a show of force.”
Israel-Palestine conflict raises alarm in Europe
Tensions in the Middle East have caused alarm in Europe, with leaders weighing in on the deadly conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
From calls for “restraint” to worries about possible war crimes, political leaders and international courts in Europe weigh in on the latest escalation.
Read more here.
— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) May 12, 2021
Parallel crisis unfolding in Israel’s mixed towns
Mairav Zonszein, a senior analyst on Israel and Palestine at the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, told Al Jazeera that the level of unrest and violence in mixed Israeli-Palestinian cities was “unprecedented”.
“This is a convergence of many different factors. Unfortunately, in some ways, the chickens have come home to roost. Israeli policies in mixed Israeli-Palestinian towns has never really been one of co-existence.
“There has been the same discrimination that you see in east Jerusalem happens inside Israel as well – in terms of housing policy discrimination, in rights, in all aspects of life, crime and negligence of the Israeli government – which Palestinian, Arab-Israeli parties have been calling out for years, asking for higher budgets, asking the police to rein in this violence. None of that has been happening, the government has neglected that,” explained Zonszein.
Israelis are eating themselves up trying to figure out why some Palestinian citizens of state are taking to streets in Lod, Akko, and Rahat, lighting property on fire and rioting. Now they interest you? Listen its terrible but 73 years of discrimination might help you understand. pic.twitter.com/4QN01MzMHR
— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) May 11, 2021
“What we are seeing is the result [of this] together with the convergence of what’s been happening in east Jerusalem and in Gaza.”
“Coexistence has always been an illusion – Israel has a policy of discrimination on all fronts,” she added.
Gaza hospital stretched to breaking point
Director of Al Shifa Hospital, Mohammed Abu Silmiya, told Al Jazeera Arabic that Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have put pressure on a medical system that was already stretched to the breaking point.
“The situation is more than dire, simply because the Gaza strip has been under a tight siege for the past 14 years, he said, explaining that both the siege and coronavirus pandemic have exhausted Gaza’s health sector.
“Israel’s recent unjust and belligerent aggression has added insult to injury.”
“Our operating rooms have been suffering from a lack of supplies over the past 15 years – medicines are in short supply in the entire Gaza strip. This hospital has been running on the same devices and appliances for the past 20 years,” said Abu Slimiya.
Russia: Israel should halt settlement activities in Palestine
Sergei Vershinin, a Russian deputy foreign minister, called on Israel to “immediately” stop all settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, RIA news agency reported.
Vershinin also said Moscow called for the “status quo of Jerusalem’s sacred sites” to be respected, RIA reported.
China calls for restraint
China’s special envoy on the Middle East, Zhai Jun, expressed “deep concern” over escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis and urged all parties to exercise restraint to avoid further casualties.
In a meeting with Arab envoys and the chief representative of the Arab League in China, Zhai said Beijing would continue to push the UN Security Council to take action on the situation in East Jerusalem as soon as possible, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Right-wing Israeli politician calls a future Palestine ‘terror state’
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Israeli Yamina party, said the creation of a Palestinian state would annihilate Israelis.
“It would create a terror state that does not exist yet in Judea and Samaria,” he said in reference to the occupied West Bank.
“It would effectively deem Israel unable to defend itself. We see what they [Palestinians] turned Gaza into. No Israeli is going to give up Judea and Samaria and allow them to create a terror state,” he added.
The former Israeli defence minister went on to call the West Bank “part and parcel of Israel”, adding that Palestinians living there should move to other Arab countries.
“The Arabs have tens of countries to live in,” said Bennet.
Israeli army identifies soldier killed
The Israeli army identified the soldier killed on Wednesday morning as Staff Sgt Omer Tabib, 21.
The soldier was killed in an anti-tank missile attack near the Gaza Strip, the first military death in three days of fighting with Hamas.
The army said an officer and another soldier were wounded in the attack.
Italy, Germany want de-escalation in Israel, Gaza
Italy and Germany want an immediate end to the violence between Israel and Palestinians, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said after talks with his German counterpart.
“We strongly request all the parties to immediately take measures aimed at de-escalation and to exercise the greatest restraint,” Di Maio said in a statement.
Ex-PLO member calls on international community to act
Hanan Ashrawi, a former leading member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on the international community to end Israel’s “unbridled use of violence”.
“You have here an unbridled use of violence by the strongest army in the region targeting innocent civilians, targeting residential buildings in an area that has been totally closed in, besieged without any means of defence, with no air force, no shelters, with no sirens and at the same time the Israelis claim self-defence.”
“This is not new but this escalation is new. It has been emboldened by the Trump administration’s collusion, the Biden administration’s lack of action and the reticence of the Europeans so the question now is, do you allow Israel to target Jerusalem, to kick out Palestinians, the [third] highest holy site during Ramadan and to get away with it?”
Israeli air attack kills senior Hamas commander
Hamas, the group that rules the Gaza Strip, has confirmed that its Gaza City commander was killed in an Israeli air raid on Wednesday.
Bassem Issa is the highest-ranking military figure of Hamas to be killed by Israel since a 2014 war in Gaza.
In a statement, the armed wing of Hamas said Issa was killed “along with a few of his fellow brothers of leaders and holy fighters” during the fighting that has been going on for two days in Gaza.
Earlier, Israel’s internal security agency said a series of Israeli air raids had killed Issa and several other senior Hamas leaders.
Issa and several commanders responsible for the different districts of the Gaza Strip form the military council of Hamas, the highest body deciding the group’s operations.
Reporting from southern Israel, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said the killing of several top Hamas commanders in air attacks was a “significant blow” and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has promised more to follow.
Israeli PM threatens to use ‘iron fist if needed’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will use “an iron fist if needed” to stop protests by its Palestinian citizens.
“We are continuing our efforts to stop the anarchy and restore governance to the cities of Israel, with an iron fist if needed, with all forces needed and all authorities required,” he said, speaking in Acre along Israel’s northern coastline.
Dozens of Palestinians were arrested at protests in other towns and cities within the Green Line, the generally recognised boundary between Israel and the West Bank.
In the central city of Lod, also known as Lydd, a state of emergency was declared for the first time in 66 years. Israeli authorities ordered the redeployment of paramilitary border police companies from the occupied West Bank as reinforcements.
Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel protested in the city after the funeral of Moussa Hassouneh, who was shot dead by a Jewish settler on Monday.
The crowd fought with police and set a synagogue and some 30 vehicles on fire, Israeli media reported.
Hamas fires rockets at Dimona
The armed wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, said it has fired at least 15 rockets at the Israeli city of Dimona.
Located in the southern Negev (or Naqab) desert, Dimona is home to a nuclear power plant.
At least 50 rockets were also fired at Ashdod, Hamas said. Photos of smoke rising from Ashdod’s port were published by Israeli media.
Hamas operatives targeted, Israeli army says
The Israeli army and intelligence said they have carried out air strikes that killed senior members of the al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza City and Khan Younis that were close to Hamas’s elusive commander Mohammad Deif.
Deif, whose whereabouts and presence is shrouded in secrecy, has survived five assassination attempts by Israel over the years and is their most wanted man.
Gaza death toll rises to 53
The health ministry in the Gaza Strip said the number of Palestinians killed has now risen to 53, including 14 children and three women.
At least 320 others have been wounded.
Islamic Jihad: We will not back down
The armed wing of the Islamic Jihad group said in a statement it has fired more than 100 rockets early on Wednesday morning towards Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas.
A spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades said three of its commanders were killed by Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip on Monday, and identified them as Sameh Fahim al-Mamluk, Kamal Taiseer Qureiqe, and Mohammed Yahya Abu Atah.
“We will continue to respond to Israel’s aggressions,” the spokesman said. “We will not back down on our resistance no matter what the price is.”
UK PM Johnson calls for Israel and Palestinians to step back from brink
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday called for Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint.
“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions,” Johnson said on Twitter.
I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint. The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 12, 2021
Israel promises more attacks before any truce
The Israeli defence minister, Benny Gantz, said there is no specific date to end Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip.
“The IDF [Israeli army] will continue to strike and bring complete silence for the long term,” he said, speaking from the southern city of Ashkelon.
“In Gaza, towers are falling, factories are collapsing, tunnels are being wiped out and commanders are being assassinated.”
Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said he expected the fighting to intensify and, when asked about unconfirmed reports that Hamas might seek a ceasefire, said: “I don’t think my commanders are aware, or particularly interested.”
48 Palestinians killed in Gaza
Gaza’s health ministry said the death toll in Gaza has risen to 48, including 14 children and three women.
At least 304 others have been wounded.
Erdogan, Putin discuss Israel raids
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin discussed in a phone call the escalation in the Gaza Strip, Turkey’s presidency said, as Ankara seeks international action against Israel.
Erdogan told Putin the international community needed to “teach a deterrent lesson” to Israel, adding that Ankara was working to mobilise this reaction, according to a statement from his office.
Erdogan also called for work to be done on sending international peacekeepers to the region to help safeguard Palestinians, a proposal Turkey has made since 2018.
Gaza death toll increases to 43 Palestinians killed
The Gaza health ministry said the number of Palestinians killed from Israeli air attacks is now at 43 Palestinians, including 13 children and three women.
At least 290 others have been wounded, Al Jazeera journalist Safwat al-Kahlout said.
“In the last hour, there were two Israeli air strikes,” al-Kahlout said, speaking from Gaza City.
“One of them hit the car of a local farmer, according to local witnesses in the northern Gaza Strip. Five farmers were killed in the attack.”
“In a separate attack on Gaza City, there was another Israeli air strike on a car,” he continued. “Eyewitnesses said a woman and her two children were [killed] in the car.”
Hamas says Israeli air raids destroyed all Gaza police buildings
Israeli air raids in the Gaza Strip have destroyed all police buildings in the coastal territory, according to Gaza’s Hamas-led Interior Ministry.
“Israeli occupation planes launched successive raids that resulted in the destruction of all police headquarters buildings in Gaza City,” Eyad al-Bozom, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday morning.
Dozens of loud explosions were heard in western Gaza.
The Israeli army said it had shelled a building during the night that housed senior members of Hamas’s military intelligence service.
The homes of key Hamas representatives were also attacked, the Israeli military said.
One Israeli soldier killed after Hamas targeted Israeli military vehicle
An Israeli soldier has been killed after a military jeep stationed on the outskirts of the northern Gaza Strip was targeted by the military wing of Hamas.
Earlier, the al-Qassam Brigades said three Israelis were wounded after it targeted the jeep with a Kornet missile.
According to Israeli media, the soldier succumbed to injuries after an anti-tank missile was fired on the jeep.
War crimes court concerned over violence in West Bank: ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has expressed concern about escalating violence in the occupied West Bank and the possibility that war crimes are being committed there, its prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said.
“I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute,” Bensouda wrote on Twitter.
— Int'l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) May 12, 2021
Is the Palestinian Authority being sidelined?
The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) executive committee are set to meet on Wednesday night in Ramallah to discuss the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip.
“We’ve spoken to a PLO executive committee member who told us that the language the international community has been using is not strong enough to curb the Israeli violations,” Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim said, speaking from Ramallah.
Ibrahim said that for many Palestinians, the usual track the PA resorts to in times of escalation of appealing to the international community to condemn Israel is not enough.
“There’s a growing feeling among Palestinians that Israel only understands the language of force, which is why we’ve seen in the protests in the occupied West Bank in the past few days people calling on Gaza [armed groups] to respond,” she said.
Hamas leader says group ‘ready’ for Israeli escalation
Hamas head Ismail Haniya said he had told mediators the problem is not with Gaza but with Israel, adding that the group Hamas is “ready” if Israel increases its attacks.
“If (Israel) wants to escalate, we are ready for it, and if it wants to stop, we’re also ready,” Haniya, who currently lives outside the Strip, said in a televised address.
— Farah Baker (@Farah_Gazan) May 12, 2021
Haniya went on to say that linking Jerusalem with the Gaza Strip is reflective of equating “resistance with identity” and hailed the protests that have broken out among Palestinians within Israel and the occupied territories.
“We are all moving together in a coherent manner in order to confront the occupation,” he said.
Haniya renewed the call for all “our Palestinian people to unite the ranks” and called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop security cooperation” with Israel.
Two Palestinians killed in occupied West Bank
A Palestinian teenager has been shot dead by Israeli forces during a raid on Aqaba village, east of the occupied West Bank town of Tubas.
Rashid Abu Arreh, 16, was killed after Israeli forces raided the village to arrest another Palestinian, Sheikh Mustafa Abu Ara.
Medical sources also said that Hussein al-Titi, 26, was shot dead during protests against the Israeli army in al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron.
استشهاد الشاب حسين عطية الطيطي 26 عاماً من مخيم الفوار جنوب الخليل، خلال مواجهات مع الاحتلال شهدها المخيم قبل قليل. pic.twitter.com/qZctxWAA1G
— shatha hammad | شذى حماد (@shathahammad4) May 12, 2021
Translation: Hussein Atiya al-Titi, 26 years old, was killed in Fuwwar refugee camp south of Hebron during confrontations with Israeli forces.
For updates from Tuesday, May 11, please click here.