The most intense outbreak of violence between Israeli forces and Hamas in years began a week ago, leaving hundreds dead and injured. With the death toll mounting and the conflict continuing to rise, diplomatic efforts increased, pushing a ceasefire on May 16, 2021.
Pre-dawn Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed at least 33 Palestinians prompting Hamas to unleash missile barrages in retaliation. Air raid sirens sounded in Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Israeli military report Hamas has fired over 2,900 missiles into their country since Monday, May 10. On Sunday, their fighter jets and aircraft had struck 90 targets in Gaza over the past 24 hours, including senior Hama leader Yahya Sinwa’s home and his brother, Muhammad’s residence.
The United Nations Security Council planned to convene on Sunday to discuss the current conflict. The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reminded everyone involved that any random shooting of any civilian and media buildings violates international law and must be avoided by any means necessary.
Flattening the Al-Jara tower, home to international media organizations including Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, was necessary. Israeli military states the building served as an important base of operations for Hamas’ military intelligence.
However, AP’s CEO Gary Pruitt asserts they did not know that Hamas was active in Al-Jara Tower. In a statement, he indicated they check on military presence as they would never knowingly put their journalists at risk. Press freedom organizations and the AP have requested an investigation into the airstrike and a justification beyond the Israeli military’s claim.
International leaders including those from Saudi Arabia and the European Union have expressed concern over the escalating conflict. They urged for de-escalation. The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced urgent talk with his bloc’s foreign ministers.
Joe Biden says Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. After speaking with the president, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that this is not over yet and it will continue for as long as it takes.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NBC News: Dozens killed by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza raid as ceasefire efforts ramp up; by Cassandra Vinograd and Charlene Gubash
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Chris Yunker’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Israel Defense Forces’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License