Gaza conflict intensifies with no signs of peace
Jerusalem/New York, May 17 (EFE).- The violence in the Gaza Strip entered its eighth consecutive day on Monday, with Israel’s military launching large-scale attacks in the enclave and Palestinian militants continuing to fire rockets towards the Israeli territory.
The United Nations Security Council made no progress on resolving the conflict due to the United States’ firm support for Israel.
In the early hours of Monday, Israel’s army shelled the homes of nine Hamas commanders and destroyed 15 kilometers of the Islamist movement’s tunnel system in Gaza.
The escalating violence is continuing to take a heavy toll on civilians in the strip, where at least 192 Palestinians, including 58 minors and 34 women, were killed and more than 1,235 others injured, according to the Health Ministry there.
Israel claimed it had killed 75 Hamas operatives and dozens of others from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.
In Israel, at least 10 people have died and 300 others have been wounded by rocket fire, according to emergency services.
On Sunday, the seventh day of the worst outbreak of violence in the region in years, there was a constant exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes between Palestinian militants and the Israeli armed forces and there were no signs of a potential ceasefire.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for calm and urged an immediate end to the escalating violence in the region, while US deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday to lead the Joe Biden administration’s efforts to end the bloodshed.
Amr is scheduled to meet with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas, who governs in the occupied West Bank, later Monday.
The US has no direct contact with Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the blockaded Gaza Strip.
While diplomatic parties seek to find a peaceful solution for this unbalanced conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation in Gaza would continue at “full force.”
An Israeli military spokesman said more than 3,150 rockets have been launched from Gaza into the Israeli territory since last week. Some 460 of them went down over Gaza without reaching Israeli territory while more than 1,150 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.
During the past eight days, Israeli strikes on Gaza destroyed 76 buildings, with some 725 houses significantly damaged, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported over 38,000 people sought refuge in schools after they evacuated their homes in fear of airstrikes.
Egypt has reopened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to allow stranded Palestinians and patients to obtain treatment at Egyptian hospitals, with no further information about how long Gaza’s only key crossing point to the outside world would remain open.
Several European countries are attempting to evacuate Palestinians with dual nationality living in the enclave.