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PublishDate: Monday, May 17, 2021 11:46

Israel launches dozens of Gaza strikes as fighting enters second week

Israel launched dozens of air strikes on Gaza and Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave fired rocket barrages at Israeli cities as fighting spilled into a second week on Monday amid mounting international calls for a ceasefire.

Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)_But there was no sign of any imminent end to the most serious hostilities in years between Israel and the Hamas Islamists who rule the densely-populated enclave, where 2 million Palestinians live, Reuters reported.

Roads, security buildings, militants’ training camps and houses were bombed in Israeli attacks that seemed to be focused on Gaza City, witnesses said. The sound of explosions echoed in many part of the Palestinian enclave overnight.

The Israeli military said that after rockets were fired at the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, its fighter jets struck nine residences belonging to -ranking_Hamas_commanders. Some of the homes, it said, were used for weapons storage.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side of the border.

World concern had already deepened after an Israeli air strike in that destroyed several homes on Sunday and which Palestinian health officials said killed 42 people, including 10 children, and persistent rocket attacks on Israeli towns, Reuters reported.

Injecting more urgency into Washington’s calls for calm, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter: “All parties need to deescalate tensions – the violence must end immediately”, after he spoke with Egypt’s foreign minister about ongoing violence in Israel, Gaza and the occupied .

At a U.N. Security Council meeting on Sunday, the United States said it has made clear to Israel, the Palestinians and others that it is ready to offer support “should the parties seek a ceasefire”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s campaign in Gaza was continuing at “full force”, and that deterrence had to be achieved to prevent future conflict with Hamas, Reuters reported.

“We are acting now, for as long as necessary, to restore calm and quiet to you, Israel’s citizens. It will take time,” Netanyahu said in a televised address after his security Cabinet met on Sunday.

The Gaza Health Ministry put the death toll since the hostilities flared at 197, including 58 children and 34 women. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli authorities say.

Hamas began its rocket assault last Monday after weeks of tensions over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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