United States again blocks 'unhelpful' Security Council statement on Israel, Gaza violence

12 Mai, 2021, 22:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Over 200 Rockets Fired At Israel Palestinian Militant Group

Hamas fired some rockets minutes after a 6 p.m. local deadline had passed Monday evening that had been given to Israel to pull its security forces from the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.

Weeks of violent clashes in East Jerusalem have ignited the heaviest fighting in years between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Renewed rocket fire and rioting in mixed Jewish-Arab towns has fuelled growing fears that deadly violence between Israel and Palestinians could descend into full-scale war.

Tensions have also been high over a long-running legal case that could see multiple Palestinian families evicted from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers who, backed by an Israeli court ruling, want to move in.

UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: "Stop the fire immediately".

For Israel, the militants' targeting of Tel Aviv, its commercial capital, posed a new challenge in the confrontation with Hamas, regarded as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.

Israel's internal security agency said a series of airstrikes had killed Issa and several other senior Hamas militants, including the head of rocket development and cyber warfare, the head of rocket production, and the Hamas engineering chief.

Earlier, an Israeli woman was killed as rockets hit Rishon Letzion on the coastal city's southern edge, and in Ashkelon, which Hamas threatened to turn into "hell", rockets fired by militants killed two women.

There appeared no imminent end to the violence.

At the core of the violence that has left dozens dead are tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over Jerusalem, which contains sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Erdogan said the global community should teach Israel a "strong and deterrent" lesson to stop its "reckless attacks" on Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinians.

The Arab League, some of whose members have warmed ties with Israel over the a year ago, accused it of "indiscriminate and irresponsible" attacks in Gaza and said it was responsible for "dangerous escalation" in Jerusalem.

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Gaza has for years had limited access to the outside world because of a blockade led by Israel and supported by Egypt, who both cite security concerns over Hamas for the restrictions.

The White House said on Tuesday that Israel had a legitimate right to defend itself from rocket attacks but applied pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, saying Jerusalem must be a place of coexistence.

The UN Security Council held another emergency meeting Wednesday on worsening hostilities 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.

"We believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live with safety and security and will continue to engage with Israelis, Palestinians and other regional partners to urge de-escalation and to bring calm".

He added: "We are urging this message of de-escalation to see this loss of life come to an end".

As tensions and armed clashes mounted, the Israeli military said it is sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border and mobilizing 5,000 reserve soldiers.

A further 230 people were reported wounded from the ongoing Israeli air strikes, many rescued from the smouldering ruins of buildings.

The existence of one Hamas office, used by political leaders and officials dealing with the news media, was widely known locally. A multi-story residential and office building was heavily damaged by the strikes.

A spokesman for Hamas' military wing, Abu Obeida, said the rocket attacks were a response to what he called Israeli "crimes and aggression" in Jerusalem.

Defence Minister Gantz said Israel had carried out "hundreds" of strikes, and that "buildings will continue to crumble".

The rocket fire forced Israel to suspend flights at its main airport of Ben Gurion, near Tel Aviv.

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