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Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza

WorldMay 17, 2021 01:39PM ET
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8/8 © Reuters. Smoke rises amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem 2/8

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli air strike in Gaza destroyed several homes on Sunday, killing 42 Palestinians, including 10 children, health officials said, as militants fired rockets at Israel with no end in sight to seven days of fighting.

The Israeli military said the civilian casualties were unintentional. It said its jets attacked a tunnel system used by militants, which collapsed, bringing the homes down.

Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, called it "pre-meditated killing".

As the U.N. Security Council convened to discuss the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's campaign in Gaza was continuing at "full force".

Netanyahu also defended an Israeli air strike on Saturday that destroyed a 12-storey building where the Associated Press and the Al Jazeera TV network had offices. He said the structure also housed a militant group's intelligence office and was thus a legitimate target.

"We are acting now, (and) 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 meeting with his security cabinet.

The death toll in Gaza jumped to 192, including 58 children, its health ministry said, amid an intensive Israeli air and artillery barrage since the fighting erupted last Monday.

Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, Israeli authorities say.

RESCUE EFFORTS

At the homes destroyed during the Israeli attack in a Gaza neighbourhood early on Sunday, Palestinians worked to clear rubble from one of the wrecked buildings, recovering the bodies of a woman and man.

"These are moments of horror that no one can describe. Like an earthquake hit the area," said Mahmoud Hmaid, a father of seven who was helping with the rescue efforts.

The Israeli military said its aircraft had targeted at a Hamas tunnel system that ran beneath a road in Gaza City.

"The underground military facility collapsed, causing the foundation of the civilian houses above them to collapse as well, leading to unintended casualties," it said in a statement.

The military said it tried to avoid civilian casualties, but said Hamas bore responsibility "for intentionally locating its military infrastructure under civilian houses, thus exposing civilians to danger".

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: "As usual, Israel is trying to mislead the public opinion through these lies in an attempt to justify the crime and escape responsibility."

Another Hamas official, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters: "What happened this morning was a pre-meditated killing."

Speaking by phone from Istanbul he said: "The images of what happened and from the scene prove that the buildings were targeted directly, which caused them to collapse."

'UTTERLY APPALLING'

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that hostilities in Israel and Gaza were "utterly appalling" and called for an immediate end to fighting.

He said the United Nations was "actively engaging all sides toward an immediate ceasefire" and urged them "to allow mediation efforts to intensify and succeed."

The United States told the Security Council it has made clear to Israel, the Palestinians and others that it is ready to offer support "should the parties seek a ceasefire".

In his address in Israel, Netanyahu said he wanted to "exact a price from the aggressor" and restore deterrence to prevent future conflict.

Hamas began its rocket assault on 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.

The Israeli military said that Hamas, an Islamist group regarded by Israel, the United States and the European Union as a terrorist movement, and other armed factions have fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza over the past week.

This was more than half the number fired during 51 days in a 2014 war between Hamas and Israel, the military said, and more intensive even than Hezbollah's bombardment from Lebanon during the 2006 war between Israel and the Iran-backed Shi'ite group.

Many of the rockets have been intercepted by an Israeli anti-missile system while some have fallen short of the border.

NETANYAHU DEFENDS TOWER STRIKE

On U.S. network CBS's "Face the Nation" programme, Netanyahu said Israel had passed information to U.S. authorities about Saturday's attack on the al-Jala building. Israel had given advance warning to occupants of the building to leave.

The Associated Press has condemned the strike and asked Israel to put forward its evidence that Hamas was in the building.

There was "an intelligence office for the Palestinian terrorist organization housed in that building that plots and organizes terror attacks against Israeli civilians, so it's a perfectly legitimate target," Netanyahu said.

U.S. President Joe Biden's envoy, Hady Amr, arrived in Israel on Friday for talks.

An official with first-hand knowledge of Amr's meetings in Israel said: "He voiced what the administration has been saying openly about Israel having full U.S. support for defending itself.

"He made clear that no one expects Israel to do otherwise, and that this is clearly not something that can be wrapped up in 24 hours," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

Any mediation is complicated by the fact that the United States and most Western powers do not talk to Hamas as a matter of policy.

Israel air strikes kill 42 Palestinians, rockets fired from Gaza
 

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Comments (33)
Wayne Cammack
Wayne Cammack May 16, 2021 10:14PM ET
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Who really cares if the Associated Press condemns Israelie actions. Who are they anyway to condemn.
Raymond Huggard
Raymond Huggard May 16, 2021 7:32PM ET
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I disagree wih Isreal sending rockets. They should be sending atomic bombs.
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey May 16, 2021 7:25PM ET
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Biden has ruined the world
Investing Man
Investing Man May 16, 2021 7:25PM ET
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LOL in 4 months, sure princess
Raymond Huggard
Raymond Huggard May 16, 2021 6:58PM ET
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Stay stong Isreal. Send the criminals to allah.
humayoun nabi
humayoun nabi May 16, 2021 6:29PM ET
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international courts charge isrealis kikes for war crimes
Lloyd Ziegler
Lloyd Ziegler May 16, 2021 5:19PM ET
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the Israelis are always really good that murdering women and children. all you have to do is look at the numbers. they are worse than ***on a bad day, creating their own personal Holocaust on the defenseless Palestinians, who Have No Air Force, no Navy,and no Army. oh and no nukes either, unlike the Israelites.
Gabriel Watson
Galaxybane May 16, 2021 5:19PM ET
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Palestinians are ruled by Hamas, a *******mob. Would you think that the Allies could have stopped *******without any German casualties? Time for you to stop writing posts like a child, and realize how the real world works. You shoot rockets and hide launchers behind children, don't blame Israel for destroying that ******
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren May 16, 2021 5:19PM ET
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The Palestinians launched 2,800 rockets at Israel over the past week.Tunneled under the border for sneak attacks. DEFENSLESS?!!
Raymond Huggard
Raymond Huggard May 16, 2021 5:19PM ET
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Its self defense. Wake up.
Investing Man
Investing Man May 16, 2021 5:05PM ET
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Israel will always be where it is. The fools attacking them are just thugs and gangsters.
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen May 16, 2021 4:52PM ET
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Don't get an apartment above a ******tunnel lol
Investing Man
Investing Man May 16, 2021 3:15PM ET
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Children and babies fight to gain territory.
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone May 16, 2021 2:04PM ET
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Sorry Israel, We had a fraudulent election that resulted in an illigitament President who 'kind of' supports you, 'sometimes'. But make no mistake... President Trump and the American people are fully behind you 100%.
David David
David9 May 16, 2021 2:04PM ET
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How do you know the American people are fully behind?...
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren May 16, 2021 2:04PM ET
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They are our brothers. The tribe of Judah inhabits Israel now. Ten of the 12 tribes of Israel headed north over the Caucus mountains and settled Europe and eventually North America. They are our brothers. It's biblical.
David David
David9 May 16, 2021 2:04PM ET
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Ronald Warren How do you know that is true?
ERIC BAYLOR
ERIC BAYLOR May 16, 2021 1:41PM ET
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Al Jazeera and Reuters are upset because they had to move cubicles. also, why are they both sharing space with a ***organization?
Hunt Richardson
Hunt Richardson May 16, 2021 1:28PM ET
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2800 Rockets fired from Gaza. imagine how many would land if Israel did not have the best defensive systems in the world
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy May 16, 2021 12:39PM ET
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Quit hiding behind kids, Hamas! By now everyone knows your tricks! Thanks Biden for helping them to buy all these rockets
Eloy Rodrigo
Eloy Rodrigo May 16, 2021 11:13AM ET
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read Evil Religions Unmasked
Matt Brackley
Matt Brackley May 16, 2021 11:13AM ET
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newsflash they all are.
du ich
du ich May 16, 2021 9:46AM ET
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Israel must win every single war to survive. is it that Jude's wisdom?
Girish Phalke
Girish Phalke May 16, 2021 9:40AM ET
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india supports Israel... always will....
inderjeet virk
inderjeet virk May 16, 2021 9:40AM ET
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indian foreign policy always supports the cause of free palestine to begin with, maybe you supports israel
Girish Phalke
Girish Phalke May 16, 2021 9:40AM ET
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as long as oil comes from middle East ... India knows who is the true friend... Israel always helped India in need .. and we should support Israel...
Rick Baier
Rick Baier May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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Israel blew Hamas tunnel up. Someone tell me when an Israeli strapped a back pack on and blew up a school. Never . People hate it but for thousands of years it's evident God chose Israel as his people you cannot dispute it .
Show previous replies (2)
Abdelraziq Abuaisha
Abdelraziq Abuaisha May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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You do have your facts I do have mine, put my name in bold and meet after two months from today.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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Qur'An 3:54 . This is the fact I know
lee doloff
lee doloff May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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Abdelraziq Abuaisha You as everyone has a voice and are entitled to your opinion even if you are wrong which obviously you are
Investing Man
Investing Man May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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Territory are things school children, babies, and outdated drugged people fight for
tariq hilala
tariq hilala May 16, 2021 9:13AM ET
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I hope distruction and ********innecent people can stop one day. Children and oldery people are dying for no reason. Covid 19 had already killed many people in the world, no wealth or people was taken to grave with them. I pray every minute the whole universe can live in peace
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno May 16, 2021 8:48AM ET
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Reuters at it again.  The whole article is anti-Israel propaganda.  The Gaza Health officials (more commonly referred to as Hamas) wrote the article.  This site really needs to just junk Reuters, Bloomberg, and AP news.  It isn't worth anything.
Tyrone Jackson
Tyrone Jackson May 16, 2021 8:48AM ET
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Reuter’s is not reported the news in decades. It’s jus pure propaganda
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers May 16, 2021 7:36AM ET
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i thought Palestine is very poor and struggling.. how can they afford 2,000 very expensive rockets. and i thought when you lose tertitory in a war like East Jerusalem in 1967.. it is gone.. i cant recall Germany asking back for all the lost territory of the 3 rd Reich.. And why is the media not harsher on Hamas who started the recent rocket fire?
mr xwalker
mr xwalker May 16, 2021 7:36AM ET
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The current crisis is a result of israels politics against palestinians. They have 2 Options A) Recognize Palestine as a independet nation and stop occupying their land or B) Give Palestinians full citizenship. They dont want eigther of these and the result is that you see them fight back. Logical reaction human behavior imo. America should stop sucking Israels ********and say to them that this madness has to end or no more support.
Jean claude Noujaim
Jean claude Noujaim May 16, 2021 7:36AM ET
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yasser arafat daughter lives in paris with her mom and billions of usd not to count more billions stolen by corrupt palestinien officials
lee doloff
lee doloff May 16, 2021 7:24AM ET
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They blame Israel israel blames them they just hate each other hamas are such a nice bunch of caring guys aren't they
lee doloff
lee doloff May 16, 2021 7:19AM ET
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Saudia Arabia condemning Israel is like Iran saying they are not trying to make a nuke or dismembering a journalist and covering it up
Puk Pups
Puk Pups May 16, 2021 7:18AM ET
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Israel has received $146 billion of US taxpayers' money as of November 2020. Happy US citizen !
Aleksandr Rogovoy
Aleksandr Rogovoy May 16, 2021 6:38AM ET
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why situations after U.S election change? Simple it is us policy!
Adrian White
Adrian White May 16, 2021 6:38AM ET
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Simple. It's just random timing and nothing to do with the US Administration, and everything to do with the Israeli and Hamas leadership. So much for Trumpanzees' claims that "he created Middle East peace".
Tyrone Jackson
Tyrone Jackson May 16, 2021 6:38AM ET
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It’s just a coincidence that this started as soon as the Democratic war party was elected ? Yea right, Biden’s deep state war machine is just getting started. Liberals will Deny deny deny. But this is the party they choose.
Ron Dwyer
Ron Dwyer May 16, 2021 6:21AM ET
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Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood May 16, 2021 6:10AM ET
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Imagine if some racist religious extremist terrorists calling for the deth of New Jersey were shelling New York.. How long do you thing New York would tolerate that?
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood May 16, 2021 6:10AM ET
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* “calling for the deth of New York”.. nothing like a site that doesn’t allow for corrections. lol
igor bogdanoff
igor bogdanoff May 16, 2021 6:10AM ET
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Actually US foreign policy in the middle east has almost directly related to poverty in the region, leading to 'religious extremism'.  They found it very valuable in Afghanistan to pit sides against eachother while getting the Taliban to fight the russians. The reality is, Palestine has lost significant amounts of territory since 1948 and Israel quite literally only exists because of the British and Americans providing them aid and arms.  Think of it this way, if the New Yorkers were constantly taking your territory, wouldn't recognize your right to live, exist, etc, wouldn't afford you any rights and constantly exerted their military force over you, the New Jerseyans would likely have every right to retaliate.  This isn't an isolated incident and Palestine is in no way the aggressor.  This is another case of the British being responsible for everything wrong in the world - see: handing over hong kong to China with "good intentions"
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood May 16, 2021 6:10AM ET
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igor bogdanoff  You’re seriously confused.
 
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