Israeli air raid flattens building housing family flats and offices of news outlets, including Al Jazeera and AP.
Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered its sixth consecutive day, with air raids hitting a refugee camp – killing at least 10 Palestinians, including eight children – and flattening a high-rise building housing the offices of media organisations, including Al Jazeera.
In a televised speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to strike Gaza “as long as necessary”.
Meanwhile, Palestinians on Saturday gathered in parts of the occupied West Bank to protest against continued Israeli occupation and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
At least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Monday. Some 950 others have been wounded. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
At least 10 people in Israel have also been killed, with two new deaths reported on Saturday. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave.
Thousands of Palestinian families are taking shelter in United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza amid the Israeli offensive.
Here are the latest updates:
Kashmiris rally in support of Palestinians
In Indian-administered Kashmir, the police have started a crackdown on pro-Palestine protesters and detained at least 20 of them, officials said.
A number of people took to streets in the main city of Srinagar post congregational Friday prayers carrying Palestinian flags.
“How can we be silent when they (Israel) are killing children in Gaza. Every human on earth should stand up for them. This is about showing humanity and solidarity, but we are not even able to do that due to fear,” a 25-year-old resident Illyas, a resident of Srinagar, told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Indian security forces detained several people including an artist Mudasir Gull – who had created graffiti in support of Palestine on an iron bridge.
‘US taking lead from Israel on when they are ready for a ceasefire’
Phyllis Bennis, a political analyst at the US-based Institute for Policy Studies, said the Biden administration’s position has remained unchanged during the continuing escalation.
“It appears that the US is taking the lead from Israel on when they are ready for a ceasefire,” Bennis told Al Jazeera.
“And Netanyahu has made clear he is not ready for a ceasefire.”
Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza in the early morning hours of Sunday, said Israel had carried out new air raids in the centre of Gaza City.
The attacks hit a main road and two residential buildings, “this time without warning”, Kahlout said. He said three bodies had been transported to al-Shifa Hospital, according to hospital officials.
“They still believe that there are more people missing under the rubble of the destroyed two houses … They are still trying to pull the bodies from under the rubble.” Minutes before the Israeli attacks, Palestinian rocket-fire resumed towards Tel Aviv and other cities, al-Kahlout said.
UN chief ‘dismayed’, ‘disturbed’ by Israel strikes on Gaza
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “dismayed” by civilian casualties in Gaza and “deeply disturbed” by Israel’s attack on a building containing international media outlets including that of Al Jazeera, a spokesman said in a statement released Saturday.
“The Secretary-General is dismayed by the increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, including children, as a result of an Israeli airstrike last night in the al-Shati camp in Gaza, purportedly aimed at a Hamas leader,” his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in the statement.
“The Secretary-General reminds all sides that any indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs,” he said.
US’s Austin again says Israel has ‘right to defend itself’
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he spoke to Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on reaffirmed “Israel’s right to defend itself” as the country’s bombardment of Gaza continues.
I spoke with MoD @gantzbe again today. I reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself and condemned Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. I also expressed my hope that calm can be restored soon.
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) May 15, 2021
Iran promises Hamas its support
In a telephone conversation with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, the commander of the al-Quds Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, General Esmail Qa’ani, has assured Hamas of his full support, Iranian state media reported.
Haniya thanked Iran for its support and said, according to al-Alam news channel, that the fight against Israel was not just Hamas’s but of the entire Islamic world.
Nevertheless, Iran is keeping a low profile in the latest conflict. One reason, according to observers, is the nuclear negotiations, which Tehran does not want to jeopardise.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is our ‘red line’: Hamas chief
Hamas chief Ismail Haniya says the group repeatedly warned Israel not to touch Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We have repeatedly warned the enemy not to touch Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is our qibla, our identity, our belief, and the trigger of our revolutions,” Haniya said in a video conference in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in support of Palestinians.
He said that Al-Aqsa Mosque is the group’s “red line” and it told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to play with fire.
“Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque form the basis of the struggle against Zionism,” he said, and thanked Qatar for helping the Palestinian people.
Israeli police aiding settlers in attacking Palestinians: Rights group
Sawsan Zaher, deputy general director of the Haifa-based rights group Adalah, says she takes issue with the portrayal in some media of recent violence between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli Jews as “inter-communal violence”.
She told Al Jazeera much of the violence has been largely characterised by systematic Israeli racial discrimination against Palestinians, with Israeli police even accompanying settlers while they attacked Palestinians in cities such as Lod.
“We are talking about organised right-wing settler extreme violence, by settlers that are residents outside of mixed cites and outside of Arab towns, that are organising through social media calling each other to arrange where they will attack tonight and tomorrow, at what time, what to wear, what weapons to bring, and Arab properties that should be attacked,” she said.
“They are being accompanied by the police, they arrive in right-wing buses to mixed cities with police, and they are not being arrested by the police.”
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee: There must be a full accounting for civilian deaths
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a statement that “Israeli authorities must continue taking the conscientious practice of giving advance warning of its attacks to reduce the risk of harm to the innocent”.
While “Israel has every right to self-defence from terrorists committed to wipe her off the face of the map … there must be a full accounting of actions that have led to civilian deaths and destruction of media outlets,” it said.
My statement on violence across Israel and Gaza: pic.twitter.com/OdsDojRdFr
— Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SFRCdems) May 15, 2021
‘There is no rhetoric to hide behind anymore’
Laura Albast, an organiser with US-based Palestinian Youth Movement, said thousands of people are marching in Washington, DC in support of Palestinian rights.
Albast told Al Jazeera that demonstrators are calling for an end to the forced displacement of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and an end to continuing Israeli attacks.
She said the march had a message for the Biden administration, too: “We want them to know that all eyes [are] on Palestine right now. There is no rhetoric to hide behind anymore.”
— Laura Albast (@Lau_Bast) May 15, 2021
‘Turkey will forever stand by Palestinians’
The Turkish foreign minister has voiced solidarity with Palestinians.
On Twitter, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Palestinian people are “still subjected to ethnic, religious and cultural cleansing” since the Nakba in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were exiled from their homeland.
On 73rd anniversary of Nakba when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were exiled from their homeland,people of #Palestine are still subjected to ethnic,religious and cultural cleansing.Will forever stand by Palestinian brothers&sisters in their fight for freedom&dignity.🇹🇷🇵🇸
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) May 15, 2021
“Will forever stand by Palestinian brothers and sisters in their fight for freedom and dignity,” he pledged.
Israeli police break up protest in Sheikh Jarrah
Israeli police have violently broken up a protest staged by Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerusalem.
The protesters in Sheikh Jarrah painted a map of Palestine and flew balloons bearing the colours of the Palestinian flag.
At least one person was arrested.
Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah were singing, painting murals, and flying balloons when Israeli forces attacked. Apparently Palestinian joy is a crime.
Via tarekbakri on Instagram pic.twitter.com/vMr9LCkyKs
— IMEU (@theIMEU) May 15, 2021
Ilhan Omar: US position at UN ‘disgusting and immoral’
Criticising US President Joe Biden’s position at the UN, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said on Twitter it is “disgusting and immoral for the US to endorse this violent bloodshed.
“I don’t know any other time when the US has actively blocked a ceasefire and allowed for civilians to get slaughtered,” Omar said.
Disgusting and immoral for the US to endorse this violent bloodshed.
I don’t know any other time when the US has actively blocked a ceasefire and allowed for civilians to get slaughtered. pic.twitter.com/Nax4QHRbjU
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 15, 2021
Netanyahu: Israeli offensive to continue as long as necessary
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will continue to attack Gaza as long as necessary and do its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.
“The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it’s those attacking us,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech. “We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”
“Unlike Hamas, which deliberately intends to harm civilians while hiding behind civilians, we are doing everything, but everything, to avoid or limit as much as possible harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead.”
‘Give us 10 minutes’: How Israel bombed a Gaza media tower
Youmna al-Sayed had less than an hour to get to safety.
But with just one elevator working in al-Jalaa tower, an 11-storey building in Gaza City housing some 60 residential apartments and a number of offices, including those of Al Jazeera Media Network and The Associated Press, al-Sayed made a dash for the stairs.
“We left the elevator for the elderly and for the children to evacuate,” the Palestinian freelance journalist said. “And we were all running down the stairs and whoever could help children took them down,” she added.
Read the story here.
Health sector cannot cope with attacks
Yousef Hemmash of the Norwegian Refugee Council told Al Jazeera that the health sector in Gaza cannot cope with the escalation in attacks.
Due to a lack of electricity, Gaza “couldn’t cope with the current situation before this [recent] escalation, so you can imagine how the situation is with all of these casualties now,” Hemmash said.
Calls for more protests in West Bank on Sunday
Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reporting from Ramallah said there are calls for more protests on Sunday afternoon, coinciding with the expected meeting of the UN Security Council.
“Palestinians want to use this opportunity when the world is watching,” Ibrahim said.
“They say they want to seize this opportunity, and they feel that they’ve been more united now in the, in this latest round of escalation that they want to raise their voices – those in the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip.”
Video shows journalists evacuating al-Jalaa tower
AP VIDEO: Associated Press staff evacuated their office in Gaza City shortly before the building was destroyed in an Israel airstrike. https://t.co/Ib5T2SohXq
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 15, 2021
Leicester City players wave Palestinian flag after FA Cup final
Leicester City footballers Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana waved a Palestine flag while celebrating their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea.
An investigation by BBC Arabic in 2020 had found that Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s owner, donated 74 million pounds ($100m) to an Israeli settler group that displaces Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem.
Leicester City's Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana wave the Palestinian flag after their FA Cup Final win over Chelsea pic.twitter.com/xYJiVvJiDb
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) May 15, 2021
Hamza Choudhury with the Palestinian flag around his shoulders 👏🏿 pic.twitter.com/sqOCKnpaBf
— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) May 15, 2021
‘It’s genocide’: Protesters slam Israel, support Palestinians
Protesters have marched across the world in support of Palestinians amid the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence since the 2014 Gaza war.
Protests took place in major cities around the world, including Doha, London, Paris and Madrid.
Read about it here.
Correspondent: More residents near border evacuating homes
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza City, said Israeli shelling could be heard in northern Gaza near the Israeli border.
“More people are evacuating their homes, especially those who live near the border. Earlier two more residential buildings were evacuated and bombarded,” al-Kahlout said.
“This contradicts Israel’s narrative saying that all these strikes aim at destroying the infrastructure capacity of Hamas.
“Palestinian fighter groups are retaliating around the clock with the same intensity as Israeli fire.”
Correspondent: Israel ‘scaling up’ attacks
Israel has been “scaling up” its attacks, Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza City, said.
“They started with low scale bombardments, low scale targets, but now they’ve started hitting high buildings with media outlets,” al-Kahlout said, adding that armed groups in Gaza have maintained their counterattacks with rockets.
“The Palestinian fighting group considers the targeting of these residential buildings one of the red lines Israel has crossed. Hamas’ spokesperson said that they will keep hitting Tel Aviv and other cities.”
Correspondent: Protesters gather in Doha, Qatar
Outside Qatar’s Imam Muhammad Abdel-Wahhab Mosque, thousands of ex-pats and locals have gathered in solidarity with Palestinians, Al Jazeera’s Showkat Shafi reported from Doha.
They waved Palestinian and Qatari flags and held banners with messages of solidarity with Palestinians while denouncing Israeli attacks on the occupied Palestinian territories.
The roads outside the mosque were gridlocked with cars heading to the protest site. Qatari security personnel were on duty managing crowds and traffic.
Reem Alghoul, 28, a Palestinian living in Doha, told Al Jazeera she is heartbroken and angry by what is happening.
“As a proud Palestinian, by being at this protest, I am taking a stand against the genocide perpetrated by Israel in our country. We will do whatever it takes to free our country,” Alghoul said.
“Bodies like the UN need to do more as this is ethnic cleansing by Israel.”
Abbas gets his first phone call from Biden
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has received an “important” phone call from US President Joe Biden, Abbas’s spokesman said, the first call between the two leaders since Biden took office in January.
The conversation came amid heavy attacks on the Gaza Strip. Biden dispatched an envoy to the region on Friday to help calm tensions.
World reacts to Israel’s continuing attacks in Gaza
The Palestinian mission to the United Nations asked US President Joe Biden to explain the recent attacks.
“How is blowing up @AP & @AJArabic offices defined as a form of ‘defence’?” the mission said in a tweet on Saturday.
Honest Question: How @POTUS can you explain this? Your “unwavering support for Israel’s security & for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself & ppl”. How is blowing up @AP & @AJArabic offices defined as a form of “defense”? @StateDeptSpox #Gaza_Under_Attack #SaveSheikhJarrah https://t.co/VQ8MgUFsdB
— State of Palestine (@Palestine_UN) May 15, 2021
Read more about reactions from around the world here.
Israel avoiding harming ‘uninvolved’ people, Netanyahu tells Biden
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told US President Joe Biden that Israel “is doing everything to avoid harming” people who are not involved in its fighting with Hamas and other groups in Gaza.
According to a summary of the phone call released by Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli prime minister told Biden that “the uninvolved were evacuated” from the Gaza tower block that housed media offices as well as other offices and apartments and that were destroyed earlier in the day in an Israeli air attack.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the president for the support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves,” the readout said.
Hundreds of protesters gather along Lebanese-Israeli border
Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian protesters have gathered along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel in the towns of Kfarkila and Odayseh in solidarity with Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah, Kareem Chehayeb has reported from Odayseh.
Lebanese army soldiers and UNIFIL forces were heavily deployed in the area. Some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks over the border wall, only for Lebanese soldiers to quickly stop them. Some protesters even tried to scale the wall.
Israeli forces reportedly shot one protester trying to climb over the wall, local media reported. Israeli forces on the other side of the barrier were deployed at a distance, with a reconnaissance drone above them.
Israeli forces injure 29 more Palestinians in West Bank
Israeli forces have injured at least 29 Palestinians by Israeli forces in different areas of the occupied West Bank during Nakba Day, which marks the forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians to make way for the establishment of Israel in 1948.
According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, 17 of the injured people had been shot with live bullets and eight with rubber-coated bullets. Three more people needed medical attention after inhaling tear gas.
At least 15 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank including in Hebron, Ramallah and the northern cities of Nablus and Qalqilya.
Read more here.
Feelings of anger, hope on Nakba anniversary: Barghouti
Mariam Barghouti, a Palestinian writer based in Ramallah told Al Jazeera, that on May 15, which marks 73 years since the Nakba, there are feelings of frustration, anger, but of hope as well for Palestinians.
“Right now, a lot of the feeling is that we are at a final breath, and this is the time to change,” Barghouti said.
“Anger is an emotion that is very natural when you’re being oppressed, and you’re being beaten. When you are getting messages from the 19- and 20-year-olds in Gaza saying we’re just sitting like ducks waiting to be killed.
“We are angry because we have hope. We are angry because we see a different reality. The opposite of that would be apathy, would be submission. It would be becoming what Israel has tried to do with Palestinians and that is pacify us,” Barghouti said.
Correspondent: Senior Hamas political figure targeted
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reporting from Gaza City said that for the first time in six days since the offensive started, Israelis have targeted and hit the house of senior Hamas political leader Khalil al-Hayya in east Gaza City.
Palestinian groups have responded by firing rockets towards Beer Sheva, al-Kahlout said.
According to Palestinian sources, al-Hayya was not in the house at the time of attack.
The Israeli military said al-Hayya’s home served as part of Hamas’ “terrorist infrastructure”.
‘An attempt to cover up what is happening in Gaza’
Jeremy Dear, deputy general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists told Al Jazeera he was “shocked and horrified”, expressing outrage that “once again there is an attempt to cover up what is happening in Gaza by directly attacking media facilities.”
“This is the third attack on a tower which houses various media, on top of that we’ve recorded 30 incidents of journalists being beaten or being detained,” Dear said.
“It is quite clear that this isn’t an accident, this is systematic targeting of media in Gaza in order to prevent reporting from there.”
Correspondent: People returning to site to gather precious belongings
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from the site of the al-Jalaa building in Gaza City, said that people who used to live and work in the building have returned and are trying to find some of their precious belongings.
“In the last two hours the civil defence teams have been deployed to at least open the roads because the destruction of the building also damaged the nearby buildings and people who lived in this area also had to evacuate,” he said.
Al Jazeera strongly condemns Israel’s destruction of Gaza offices
Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground.
Al Jazeera promises to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.
Read more here.
White House: Safety of reporters ‘is a paramount responsibility’
Following Israel’s attack on al-Jalaa tower, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter that safety of reporters “is a paramount responsibility”.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” Psaki said.
AP president: ‘Narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life’
The Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement that they are “shocked and horrified” that the Israeli military destroyed the building housing news organisations.
“They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit,” Pruitt said.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”
‘Disgraceful and worst of all reckless’
Aidan White of the Ethical Journalism Network told Al Jazeera that the images of media buildings being destroyed are “disgraceful and worst of all reckless.
“The threat to civilian life is completely unacceptable. I think it once again highlights perilous risks facing journalists and media in conflict zones,” White said.
“It seems to me a catastrophic attempt to shut down media, to silence criticism. Worst of all, create a cloak of secrecy around this conflict.
“When the bullets start flying, when the shells start dropping, unfortunately, it’s often media that are targeted by one side or another. Unfortunately, Israel, in this regard, has a history of being prepared to target media they would prefer to silence.”
Reporter: ‘No place in Gaza now seems safe’
Gaza reporter Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said the hospital is currently the only place where the team is able to report live.
“It’s the safest place as we know. Shifa has been targeted before but obviously, it’s a hospital so it might be the safest place now in Gaza from where we will be broadcasting,” al-Sayed said.
“The destruction is massive. Hundreds of families now have evacuated the building and the building next to it, and the buildings opposite to it, which means … more families have been added to the list of thousands of families who have been displaced in the Gaza Strip right now. No place in Gaza now seems safe.”
AP president: ‘Shocked and horrified’ by Israeli attack on building
The Associated Press president and CEO said he is “shocked and horrified” by “incredibly disturbing” Israeli attack on the al-Jalaa building housing the AP office.
Map of buildings bombed
Israeli warplanes previously had already targeted several buildings in the heart of Gaza City, including the al-Johara building and the 14-storey Shorouq tower, which both house media offices as well as the 13-storey residential Hanadi tower.
Tlaib: Attack is so ‘world can’t see Palestinians being massacred’
Rashida Tlaib, the US Congress’s only Palestinian-American member commenting on Israel’s attack on the al-Jalaa building wrote on Twitter that Israel is “targeting media sources is so the world can’t see Israel’s war crimes led by the apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu.
“It’s so the world can’t see Palestinians being massacred.”
Israel targeting media sources is so the world can't see Israel's war crimes led by the apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu.
It's so the world can't see the killing of babies, children and their parents.
It's so the world can't see Palestinians being massacred. https://t.co/AvDp3IuxUA
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 15, 2021
Al Jazeera correspondent: ‘In two seconds, everything vanished’
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reacted to the destruction of the building housing, among others, the offices of Al Jazeera Media Network in Gaza City:
“I have been working here for 11 years. I have been covering many events from this building, we have lived personal professional experiences now everything, in two seconds, just vanished,” he said.
“All my colleagues, despite the sadness, they didn’t stop a second – they were looking for an alternative just to keep Al Jazeera on top of the news.”
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, who has extensively reported from Gaza City, added: “This is a very personal moment for all of us. The idea that the place is not there any more is extraordinary to contemplate.”
Israeli air raid flattens building housing media outlets
Israel has razed to the ground a high-rise building housing residential apartments and media offices in Gaza City, including Al Jazeera Media Network and The Associated Press news agency.
Live video showed the 11-storey al-Jalaa building, which also houses a number of other offices, crashing to the ground after being bombed as dust and debris flew into the air.
Israeli man killed by rocket from Gaza: Police
An Israeli man was killed after a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building in Ramat Gan in central Israel, according to police.
“Update to rocket strike on Ramat Gan, 1 man killed,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter, with Magen David Adom saying their “medics have pronounced the death of one person critically injured after performing CPR”.
Gaza death toll rises to 140
A Palestinian man was killed in an air raid that hit Bureij refugee camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip, according to Wafa news agency.
The attack brought the total death toll in the besieged territory since Monday to 140.
Israel warns of air attack on media building
Israel has given a “warning” that it will bomb the building that houses the Al Jazeera offices and other international media outlets in Gaza City within the next hour.
عاجل | جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي يمهل قاطني البناية التي تضم مكاتب صحفية عالمية بينها #الجزيرة ساعة واحدة لإخلائها
— الجزيرة – عاجل (@AJABreaking) May 15, 2021
Translation: The Israeli occupation army gives one hour to evacuate a building that houses international press offices, including Al Jazeera.
Fares Akram, Gaza correspondent for The Associated Press news agency, tweeted: “Now bombs could fall on our office. We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army would eventually retract.”
And now bombs could fall on our office. We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army would eventually retract. https://t.co/WU2eLEX7kn
— Fares Akram (@faresakram) May 15, 2021
‘Every single night we say that we are next’
Gaza resident Eman Basher, whose powerful tweet about life under heavy bombardment was read out by US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib at the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, spoke to Al Jazeera:
“People in Gaza are living terrifying nights every single day. We wake up to reply to messages are you alive? We’re scared. Every single night we say that we are next.”
.@SometimesPooh, your words are powerful. We hear you.
I wish I could wrap you and your babies with the safety and love you deserve. https://t.co/rIMIoXVVJc
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 14, 2021
“When I tweeted, I wrote it and I was crying. I want to say that people in Gaza have two methods in dealing with such terrific nights: they either put the members of the whole family in one room so that if the bombing happens or if the Israeli warplanes strike the house, they will die together; or they put every individual member in a different room so if a massacre happens or they bomb the house, one member would survive.”
She added: “It’s heartbreaking that the Palestinians in Gaza have only these two choices while they don’t actually have shelters to protect them.”
Basher continued: “Yesterday, it was a difficult night. We slept at 4am and my kids kept waking up. My husband and I took a very long time to calm them down. It’s terrifying, it’s traumatising. I don’t want my kids to live like this, I want my kids to live in peace and I want the whole world to hear their screams, that’s why I tweeted, that’s why I’m writing.
“I believe in the power of words, I want my kids to survive all of this, and I don’t want to say to them that ‘that’s it, you’re not going to grow up to fulfil your dreams.’”
Iranian minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag
Iran’s foreign minister cancelled a visit with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg but had called off the trip to show displeasure that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government had flown the Israeli flag in Vienna.
“We regret this and take note of it, but for us, it is as clear as day that when Hamas fires more than 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel, then we will not remain silent,” a spokeswoman for Schallenberg said.
Malaysia, Indonesia urge UNSC to stop Israeli ‘violence’
Israel’s “despicable actions” must be stopped immediately, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo agreed in a phone conversation.
Both leaders are also calling on the United Nations Security Council to intervene and stop Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
“We were of similar views that the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council, should act swiftly to cease all forms of violence committed by Israel, and save the lives of Palestinians,” Muhyiddin said in a televised address.
“To date, the UN Security Council has not issued any statement on the current situation in Palestine due to opposition from the United States of America,” he said.
‘Shocked and devastated’: UNRWA
Tamara Alrifai, director of strategic communications and spokeswoman at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said the agency was “extremely shocked and devastated” at the news of the bombardment of the Shati refugee camp.
“We are extremely distressed about that development, just like we are distressed about the entire situation in Gaza and actually the entire situation of the occupied Palestinian territory,” she told Al Jazeera.
“What’s happening in Gaza cannot be disassociated with what’s happening in the West Bank, the protests and the indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli security forces that were the trigger for the events in Gaza and for what is now a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”.
Israel has said its forces are not targeting civilians, but that Hamas fighters have been hiding among them. Alrifai rejected that Hamas members have been sheltering in UN refugee camps and facilities such as Shati camp.
“This is total disinformation, that Hamas [is] hiding in UN camps and that being the reason for striking either extremely densely populated refugee camps or causing excessive damage to the UNRWA headquarters, like what happened two days ago,” Alrifai said.
Targeting of houses and agricultural land ongoing
Al Jazeera’s Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Gaza City, gave this update:
“The targeting of houses and agricultural land still goes on until this moment,” she said, adding that in the early hours of the day there was an air raid on Mahabharat street, in the west of Gaza, while houses were also hit in Rafah and in Jabalia.
“Every night we say that this is the most violent night since the beginning of the conflict, but every night that follows gets even more violent,” al-Sayed said. “The situation is not getting any easier.”
Gaza’s main power lines at risk of collapsing
The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company warned that that vital power lines in the besieged enclave are at risk of collapsing due to the relentless Israeli shelling, according to Palestinian Wafa news agency.
Eight out of 10 main electricity power lines coming from the Israeli side have been severally disrupted, the agency said, while the company urged all “relevant parties” to intervene urgently.
Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza
Egypt sent 10 ambulances into Gaza to pick up casualties of Israeli bombardments for treatment in Egyptian hospitals, medical and security sources told Reuters news agency.
The ambulances entered Gaza at the Rafah crossing, which is otherwise closed for five days over the Eid al-Fitr holiday and the weekend and is due to reopen on Monday.
A further five ambulances have been deployed to enter Gaza later and three Egyptian hospitals have been readied to provide treatment, the sources and local health officials said.
Images of Israeli air raids
Images posted by local news agency Shehab shows scenes of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its effect.
مشاهد من القصف الإسرائيلي المتواصل على قطاع غزة والذي يستهدف منازل الآمنين والبنية التحتية pic.twitter.com/75Xtv3Wx5I
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Translation: Scenes of the continued Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip, targeting houses and infrastructures
استهداف طائرات الاحتلال عائلة المباشر في خانيونس جنوب قطاع غزة pic.twitter.com/3lMP7U1M2F
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Translator: The occupation warplanes targeted the Al-Mubasher family in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Funerals held in Nablus
Funerals are being held in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus for Palestinian protesters killed on Friday by Israeli forces. At least 11 Palestinians were killed as protests swept across the occupied West Bank.
Israel says 15 arrested linked to violence in Lod
Israeli police said they arrested 15 suspects involved in recent violence in the central city of Lod.
According to an Israeli police statement, they also seized weapons, Molotov cocktails and fireworks.
Demonstrations expected worldwide in support of Palestinians
Hundreds of people gathered in the Australian city of Melbourne to express their solidarity with Palestinians.
More demonstrations are expected to be held around the world on Saturday as Palestinians mark the Nakba.
“Israel should stop the attack on Gaza [and] stop the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” artist and activist Aseel Tayah, who is originally from Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera after singing in solidarity with Palestinians at the rally in Melbourne.
‘This is truly a massacre’
Nabil Abu al-Reesh, a doctor based in the Gaza Strip, gave his account of Israel’s air attack that targeted a four-story house on the edge of al-Shati refugee camp.
“We are still trying to recover more bodies and trying to understand who is who,” al-Reesh, who is treating survivors at al-Shifa Hospital, said.
“This is truly a massacre that cannot be described,” he said.
“I don’t know how he managed to stay alive,” he added, pointing to an infant who is the only survivor of a family that was killed by the Israeli air attack.
“Maybe he survived to witness what happened to the rest of his family,” he said.
Read more here.
Injuries reported as Palestinians protest in West Bank
Injuries have been reported in the West Bank following confrontations between Palestinian protesters and the occupying Israeli security forces.
A social media post by the Shehab news agency showed Palestinian protesters carrying their injured fellow marchers on Saturday morning in Nablus near the Hawara checkpoint.
Early on Saturday, thousands of worshippers coming from morning prayers in Nablus joined a large march in the city denouncing the Israeli occupation and the latest deadly bombings in Gaza.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Shelling reported in Gaza’s Khan Yunis
Israeli artillery fire has reportedly hit some agricultural lands in the eastern part of Gaza’s Khan Yunis governorate.
Safa Press also reported on Saturday that there was renewed shelling at the coastal area of Gaza.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage.
Body of child recovered from Gaza ruins after Israeli bombardment
Members of a medical team in Gaza have recovered from under the rubble the body of another child following Israel’s bombardment of residential property in al-Shati refugee camp.
Several people remain missing and are believed to be buried under the rubble of the bombing site.
Thousands gather in Nablus to denounce Israeli occupation
Thousands of Palestinians marched to denounce the continued Israeli occupation and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
The protesters were heading home after dawn prayers when they joined the march in the city of Nablus, according to a video posted on social media by Safa Press agency.
📹 متابعة صفا| مسيرة حاشدة في نابلس بعد صلاة الفجر العظيم نصرة لغزة ودعما للمقاومة pic.twitter.com/BaHCZr6G8H
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) May 15, 2021
Israeli air attack hits home in Shujayea
Safa Press agency reported that an Israeli air raid has hit and destroyed a house in the Shujayea neighbourhood of Gaza City.
There were no immediate reports on casualties.
Shujayea was the site of heavy Israeli bombardment in 2014 that killed several civilians. The incident was described as a “massacre”.