Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander, Gaza death toll above 200

Health authorities say Gaza death toll includes 61 children as Israel’s bombardment enters its second week.

A Palestinian family sits outside their home after it was hit by an early morning Israeli air attack, in Gaza City, Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian family sits outside their home after it was hit by an early morning Israeli air attack, in Gaza City, Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Israel launched another series of air raids on the Gaza Strip on Monday after its caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacks on the Palestinian enclave would rage on.

Explosions rocked Gaza City from north to south as Israeli fighter jets hit homes, clinics and government buildings. The Israeli military said it killed a top commander of the Islamic Jihad armed group, Hussam Abu Harbeed.

Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, also fired rockets towards Israeli cities. Most of them were intercepted by Israel’s air defence system.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and rights groups meanwhile called for a probe into allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

At least 212 people, including 61 children, have been killed in Gaza since the latest violence began more than a week ago. Some 1,500 Palestinians were also wounded.

Israel has reported 10 dead in the past week, including two children.

Here are the updates as they happened:


Major infrastructure damaged across Gaza – Correspondent

Gaza’s Ministry of Health launched an appeal for help as it is struggling to respond to the large numbers of injured people seeking hospital treatment across the territory, Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reported.

A man inspects the rubble of a destroyed commercial building and Gaza healthcare clinic following an Israeli air raid on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City [Adel Hana/AP Photo]
Major infrastructure – including electricity and water supplies – has also been damaged in the continuing Israeli bombardment, al-Kahlout said.

“The municipality said that they have been receiving hundreds of phone calls from people looking for some water, because the main pipe supplies of water have been damaged,” he said.


Top US general warns of ‘destabilisation’ from ongoing violence

US Army General Mark Milley warned on Monday of potential destabilisation beyond the Gaza Strip if the violence continues.

“It’s in no one’s interest to continue fighting,” Milley told reporters shortly before landing in Brussels for talks with NATO allies.

“My assessment is that you risk broader destabilisation, and you risk a whole series of negative consequences if the fighting continues,” Milley said. “De-escalation is a smart course of action at this point for all parties concerned.”


Israeli military says rockets fired from Lebanon

The Israeli army tweeted that six rockets were fired towards northern Israel from Lebanon, but they landed inside Lebanese territory.

The army said it fired “toward the sources of the launches”.


‘We will not let this silence us’ – Al Jazeera English managing director

Al Jazeera English’s managing director said it was “shocking” to see the network’s office in Gaza destroyed by Israeli air raids on Saturday.

“We will not let this silence us and disrupt our coverage,” Giles Trendle told CNN.

“Of course, it’s more difficult … we lost a lot of our equipment. However, we have continued to operate be it on the streets. We have carried on.”


Death toll in Gaza rises to 212

At least 212 people in Gaza have now been killed, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said, including 61 children and 36 women.


Calls for a ceasefire rise in US Congress

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the US Senate, on Monday joined rising calls by US legislators’ for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as the death toll rises.

“I want to see a ceasefire reach quickly and mourn the loss of life,” Schumer told reporters at the US Capitol, saying he backed an earlier statement by a leading Senate Democrat and Republican calling for a ceasefire.

“As a result of Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s response, both sides must recognise that too many lives have been lost and must not escalate the conflict further,” said the May 16 statement by Senator Chris Murphy and Todd Young.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer [File: Al Drago/Reuters]

Gaza situation ‘highly concerning’: WHO chief

In his first comments about the Israeli air attack in Gaza, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in addition to deep concerns over the security and humanitarian crisis, “the health situation is also highly concerning”.

“In the recent escalation of conflict, dozens of incidents involving health workers and health facilities have occurred,” he told reporters.

“Furthermore, COVID-19 testing and vaccination has been severely impacted,” he said, cautioning that “this creates health risks for the world as a whole.”

Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Gaza’s only coronavirus lab was no longer “functional”.


Qatar condemns Israel’s attack on Red Crescent office in Gaza

Qatar has condemned the “Israeli Occupation’s bombing of the Red Crescent Society Building” in the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to a statement released on Monday, “Parallel to the attack on the Red Crescent, another operation caused damages and destruction of parts of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prostheses, as a result of the continuous attacks on buildings surrounding the hospital.”

The statement said “the targeting of humanitarian and media institutions is a clear violation of international law, humanitarian norms and values”, while it called on the international community to “condemn this sinful act and to exert further efforts to put an end to Israeli’s continuous crimes in the occupied territories, and to protect civilians, journalists, medical practitioners and humanitarian workers”.


Is international law respected in the Israel-Palestine conflict?

At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air attacks on Gaza since last week.

Residential buildings and homes have been destroyed and water supplies are running out. Ten people in Israel have been killed in the past week.

Israel says it is hitting tunnels and military facilities in self-defence following rocket attacks by Palestinian factions.

But, according to the UN, the right to self-defence belongs to people living under occupation.


Israel committing ‘war crimes’ in Gaza

Omar Shaker of Human Rights Watch says Israel’s bombardment of Gaza amounts to war crimes.

“In the Gaza Strip, we have seen Israeli air strikes hit commercial and residential buildings … buildings that house hundreds of families,” Shaker told Al Jazeera.

Shaker said bombings have killed dozens of civilians, including women and children, while also damaging civilian infrastructure.


OIC calls for war crimes probe into Israeli actions

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has demanded a probe into the allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

Condemning Israel’s “belligerence”, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission called for an international investigation, including by the International Criminal Court, “of the war crimes committed by the Israeli government to bring an end to the impunity”.


At least 200 killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks

The Gaza Ministry of Health has said at least 200 people, including 59 children, have been killed by Israel’s military campaign over the past eight days in Gaza.

Palestinians run amid Israeli air attacks on Gaza City [Mohammed Abed/AFP]

Biden says he will speak to Netanyahu

US President Joe Biden said he would speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon regarding the conflict with Palestinians in Gaza.


Tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced in Gaza: UN

Cradling her newborn baby Hasan on the floor of a classroom in Gaza City, her five other children flitting in and out, Suheir al-Arbeed lists the basic necessities they are lacking.

“We need food, clothes, duvets, mattresses and milk,” al-Arbeed, who gave birth two weeks ago, told Al Jazeera in a phone interview. “My back hurts from sleeping on a thin cover on the floor.”

The 30-year-old was among one of the hundreds of families living in Gaza’s north and east who fled their homes overnight on Thursday, as heavy Israeli artillery shelling and aerial bombardment shook the ground under their feet.

Read more here.

Palestinian families take shelter at a UN school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 17, 2021 [Said Khatib/AFP]

Pakistani parliament strongly condemns Israeli bombardment

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a strongly worded resolution calling on the UN to take action to halt Israeli attacks on Gaza and reaffirming Pakistan’s condemnation of said violence.

“This house expresses deep concern over the increasing violence and brutality perpetrated against Palestinian people by the Israeli apartheid regime,” the resolution said, denouncing “the systematic and brutal disenfranchisement, exclusion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people”.


Israeli forces attack Gaza office of Qatar Red Crescent

The Qatar Red Crescent Society said its headquarters in the Gaza Strip was shelled by Israeli forces.

“Exposed to shelling by the Israeli occupation forces today, Monday 17/5/2021 at 6pm, Jerusalem local time,” the organisation said in a tweet.


Israeli air attacks have been ‘hell’: Gaza editor

Israeli bombardments have “opened hell on the heads of Palestinians”, the editor of Gaza Writes Back, a collection of short stories by young writers in Gaza, told Al Jazeera.

“Every night we say this is the worst night of our lives. And then Israel proves us wrong by bombarding more, destroying more, by killing more,” Refaat Alareer said.

“It’s total destruction. It [is] total terror sponsored Israel and backed by America and Europe,” he added.


Top footballers unite in solidarity with Palestinians

Several elite footballers have publicly signalled their solidarity with the Palestinians, as the death toll from Israeli air raids mounts in Gaza.

At least 198 people in Gaza, including 58 children, have been killed since the violence erupted a week ago, according to the coastal enclave’s health ministry.

Read more here.

Players from the Turkish side Fenerbahce warmed up for a recent game wearing T-shirts featuring the message ‘Free Palestine’ [Ahmet Bolat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Rocket attacks into Israel continue: Correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said rocket attacks from Gaza have continued throughout the day.

“The rockets attack from Gaza have continued … there have been several fairly strong barrages … with three-light injuries reported from Southern Israel so far,” he said.


Fighting between Israel, Palestinian fighters ongoing

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reporting from Gaza said the fighting between Israel and Palestinian fighters was still ongoing in the coastal enclave.

“Residential buildings and towers have been warned, we can hear the explosions now from the Israeli artillery … the air strikes are still on,” he added.

“Palestinian fighting groups are still firing their short- and long-range rockets.”

Palestinians walk amid the rubble of a house that was hit early morning on Monday, in Gaza City, May 17, 2021 [Khalil Hamra/AP Photo]

US envoy meets President Abbas in Ramallah

United States envoy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reported.

“According to the statement carried by WAFA, the official news agency, it says that President Abbas has urged the US to intervene and pressure Israel to stop what he calls its an aggression on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and in occupied East Jerusalem and in all of the occupied West Bank,” she said.

“Palestinians say they don’t even believe that these diplomatic efforts are going to lead to de-escalation and if it does is probably going to be related to this round of violence, while the underlying conditions … are still going to be there,” Ibrahim added.


Macron, el-Sisi agree ‘absolutely necessary’ to end violence: Elysee

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed in Paris that it was “absolutely necessary” to end the hostilities, Macron’s office said, adding that he had renewed his support for Egypt’s mediation efforts in the conflict.

During a working meeting in Paris, both leaders shared “strong concerns” about the escalation of violence in the Middle East and deplored the numerous civilian victims, the statement said.

Earlier on Monday, el-Sisi said his government is working to “urgently” end the violence.


Italy expresses ‘strong concern’ over Israel bombardment of Gaza

Italy’s foreign minister met his Iranian counterpart in Rome, stressing that Israel’s response to rockets fired from Gaza should be “proportionate”, the ministry said.

Italy’s Luigi Di Maio expressed “strong concern” over the escalation of violence in his meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Condemning the rocket launches from Gaza and hoping that Israel’s response would be proportionate, he [Di Maio] reiterated the call for the parties to immediately adopt de-escalation measures and show responsibility,” read the statement.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio [Johanna Geron/Pool/Reuters]

Explosions reported near UNRWA school: Reporter

Journalist Sami Abu Salem said an Israeli air attack was witnessed near a UNRWA school, where many people were taking shelter.

“We are at UNRWA school where we heard an air strike targeting a house in the south of Gaza city,” he said.

“People who are taking this school as a shelter were terrified.”


Hospitals ‘overwhelmed’, shortages in medical supplies: Reporter

Gaza journalist Youmna al-Sayed said the death toll continued to rise as the conflict entered its second week while pressure mounts on health facilities.

“Hospitals here [in Gaza] are very overwhelmed and are suffering great shortages in medical supplies, they have called out volunteers to come and donate blood because of the [number] of people that are wounded and need blood donations,” al-Sayed told Al Jazeera.


White House approves $735m arms sale to Israel: Report

Some United States legislators are questioning whether the approval for the sale of weapons worth $735m to Israel by President Joe Biden’s administration could be used as leverage amid the continuing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, The Washington Post has reported.

The arms sale, which Congress was notified of on May 5, a week before the current Israel-Palestinian escalation began, includes Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which are used to turn bombs into precision-guided missiles, according to the newspaper.

Read more here.


 

Mapping Palestinian solidarity protests around the world

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities around the world, from New York and London to Cape Town and Auckland, demanding an end to deadly Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip.

The map and list below show the locations where sizeable protests have occurred. More protests are planned throughout the week in several cities worldwide.


Israel refuses to open humanitarian corridors

UNRWA Director Matthias Schmale said Israel has not allowed humanitarian corridors during the hostilities.

“In 2014 we had humanitarian corridors where we could move between installations and bring material,” he told Al Jazeera.

“They are also striking very close to our installation, so the understanding we had in the past such as keeping some distance in our installation is not being respected sufficiently,” he said from Gaza.

Asked about reports suggesting that Israel warned the UN agency that it planned to bomb two UN-run schools, Schmale said he had not received any direct warnings so far.

“We have more than 41,000 people in 50 schools, so it would be of great concern if any of these installations were directly hit,” he added.

Shaher Barda’s family left their house in Gaza’s eastern front of Shujaiyah with only clothes on their back following intensive artillery and aerial bombardment [Mohammed Salem/Al Jazeera]

Israeli air attack kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza

The Israeli army said Hussam Abu Harbeed, a top commander of the Islamic Jihad armed group, has been killed in an Israeli air raid in Gaza.

In a statement confirming it had killed Harbeed, the Israeli military said he “was behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians”.

Read more here.


Blinken urges all parties to ensure the protection of civilians

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US remains greatly concerned over the escalating violence and is working “extensively” behind the scene to bring hostilities to an end.

The US diplomat, speaking at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, urged all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and repeated that Israel has an extra burden to do everything to avoid civilian casualties.

Blinken also said he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in the Gaza building that housed residences, offices and media organisations – including Al Jazeera – that Israel hit on Saturday. Blinken says he has asked Israel for justification for the attack.


Gaza hospitals struggle with mounting wounded

Gaza-based journalist Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, said, “It’s another tense day in the Gaza strip.”

“Hospitals are running out of resources, corridors and all departments, including the administration, are filled with beds and mattresses,” she said a few minutes after an Israeli missile hit a car a few metres away from her killing three people.

“Electricity comes from one to three hours at best, which is a crisis for hospitals as well while generators are running out of fuel,” al-Sayed said, adding that the power crisis triggered a water shortage as well.


Qatari, Egyptian, Saudi FMs speak with top US envoy

The foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have discussed the deadly Israeli air attacks on Gaza and Israel-Palestine tensions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Here is what they said.


‘Huge loss’: Experienced Gaza doctors killed in Israeli attacks

Medical workers and health organisations have decried the killing of two senior doctors – a neurologist and the head of internal medicine at Gaza’s largest hospital – in Israeli attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The deaths further exacerbate a medical staff and expertise shortage in the Gaza Strip, the result of a 14-year-long blockade that prevents freedom of movement, causes dire supply and equipment shortages and hinders medical advancement.

Read more here.

Doctors Moen Ahmad al-Aloul and Ayman Abu al-Ouf were killed in an Israeli air attack on Sunday, family and authorities said [Handout]

Erdogan urges pope to help end Israel’s ‘massacre’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Pope Francis to help end what he called the “massacre” of Palestinians, which should be punished with sanctions, his office said.

Erdogan told the pope in a call that “Palestinians will continue to be subjected to a massacre unless the international community punishes Israel … with sanctions”, adding that the pope’s messages were of “great importance to mobilise the Christian world and the international community”.


Human rights groups ask ICC to investigate al-Jalaa tower attack

Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s bombing of a building housing media organisations, including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, as a possible war crime.

“Deliberately targeting media outlets constitutes a war crime,” said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “By intentionally destroying media outlets, the Israel Defence Forces are not only inflicting unacceptable material damage on news operations. They are also, more broadly, obstructing media coverage of a conflict that directly affects the civilian population,” Deloire added.


‘Our stocks are almost empty’: Gaza power plant spokesman

A spokesman for the power plant in Gaza said extensive damage was done in many areas of the enclave.

“Electricity workers are not able to reach the areas where they are needed. Our teams are trying as much as they can to help people in need and provide electricity to houses and hospitals,” he said.

He added: “We are at a point that we cannot repair because our stocks are almost empty. We urge everyone who can help to allow the electricity company to get the necessary tools for maintenance.”

The spokesman stressed that the company was suffering from a large shortage of cash, adding that they were also out of fuel for the plant.


Two refugee camps, foam factory among Israeli targets: Agency

Palestinian Wafa news agency said various locations were hit overnight by Israeli air raids.

These include the northern town of Jabaliya and Beit Lahia, al-Bureij refugee camp in the centre of the Strip and the one of Khan Younis in the south. The news agency also reported that civilian houses, factories, and agricultural land were damaged.

A foam factory east of Jabaliya, on Salah Eddin Street, set on fire after an Israeli air raid, Wafa reported.

Israel army said it targeted tunnels, military facilities and residencies used by Palestinian armed groups.


‘It’s not enough’: Palestine PM urges more concrete action against Israel

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh urged countries to offer more concrete action, rather than words, against Israel.

“Frankly speaking it’s not enough at all to have declarations,” said Shtayyeh, speaking from the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

“The UN must issue a resolution that describes all these actions as illegal and illegitimate against the Palestinian people,” he said, calling for sanctions against Israel.

Shtayyeh also urged allies to summon ambassadors of Israel, to halt trade relations with the country and stop aid coming from the US and the European Union “until Israel respects human rights”.

“Those children who are in blood, who lost their lives before even practising life … these are crimes to be punished by international law,” he said.

“The license of killing has been renewed for Israel and this must be stopped immediately,” he said.


Bosniak leaders slam Netanyahu over tweet

Members of the Bosniak government have criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for including Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the countries supporting Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

“My message to Prime Minister Netanyahu is that Bosnia and Herzegovina does not and cannot support the killings of innocent civilians in Gaza by Israeli military forces,” said a member of the country’s presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic.

Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic also commented, saying: “Bosnia and Herzegovina only supports peace and efforts to reach a just solution for Palestine and Israel. No violence leads to lasting peace and stability. On the contrary. We call for and support an immediate end to attacks in which innocent people are killed.”


Israel says it destroyed miles of Hamas tunnels

The Israeli military says it has carried out air raids destroying 15km (9 miles) of Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip and the homes of nine alleged Hamas commanders.


Three children injured every hour in Gaza

Almost three children in Gaza have been injured every hour since violence flared last Monday, according to Save the Children.

In the last week, at least 58 children in the enclave territory and two children in southern Israel have been killed. More than 1,000 people in Gaza, including 366 children, have also been injured.

“How many more families need to lose loved ones before the international community takes action? Where can children run to when air strikes rain down on their homes?” said Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Palestine country director.

“Families in Gaza, and our staff, are telling us that they are at breaking point – they are living in hell with nowhere to seek refuge and seemingly no end in sight,” said Lee.

Click here for more.


Pakistan’s foreign minister ‘categorically’ condemns Israel’s attacks

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi conveyed his “deepest sorrow and condolences” to the Palestinian ambassador, Ahmed Jawad, for the victims of Israeli air raids.

Following a meeting between the two diplomats, Qureshi “categorically” condemned the Israeli army “continuous and indiscriminate attacks” that have resulted in nearly 200 victims in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.


Blackouts in parts of Gaza City after raids damage power line

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company says there were power cuts in “large areas” of Gaza City after Israeli attacks damaged a line feeding electricity from the only power plant to southern areas of the city.

In a Facebook post, the company said its crews were trying to repair the line, adding that it had been repaired more than once in the week since the bombardment began.


Pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned what he called “despicable rhetoric and violence” after pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters clashed during demonstrations in Montreal.

“Everyone has the right to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely in Canada,” he said in a tweet. “But we cannot and will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind.”

Earlier in Montreal, police in riot gear had used tear gas to disperse crowds after fighting broke out between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in a central city square.


One Palestinian reported injured

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza City, says one Palestinian was treated for light injuries at Al-Shifa Hospital.

There were no other reports of injuries, and The Associated Press news agency said there was little information on the extent of damage inflicted on the Gaza Strip early on Monday.


Israel attacks ’empty bases, training camps’ linked to Palestinian groups

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza, says the Israeli military targeted “empty fields, empty and evacuated military bases and empty training camps linked to Palestinian fighting groups” in and around Gaza City.

Hamas, meanwhile, fired short-range rockets at southern Israel, instead of the longer-range weapons launched a day earlier. The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system intercepted those rockets, said al-Kahlout.

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17, 2021 [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
A streak of light is seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 16, 2021 [Amir Cohen/ Reuters]
“It appears that the scale of the fire of the Palestinian fighting group is linked to the strength of the Israeli fire,” he added.


Israel’s latest air attacks ‘heavier, longer’

Israel’s latest air bombardment of the Gaza Strip was “heavier, on a wider area and lasting longer” than the raids 24 hours earlier that killed at least 42 Palestinians.

Fares Akram, AP’s correspondent in Gaza City, said explosions “rocked the city” from north to south for 10 minutes.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, reporting from Gaza, said there has barely been “one hour of peace” and that Israeli drones were “hovering overhead, controlling the skies”.

A plume of smoke rises above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17, 2021 [Mahmud Hams/AFP].

Biden says US working for ‘sustained calm’

US President Joe Biden says his administration is in touch with Palestinians and Israelis to work towards a sustained calm.

“We also believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in safety and security and enjoy equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” he said in a taped video aired at an event on Sunday marking the Eid holiday.

“My administration is going to continue to engage Palestinians and Israelis and other regional partners to work toward sustained calm.”


For all the developments from Sunday, May 16, go here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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