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Antony Blinken says he’s ‘seen no evidence’ Hamas was operating in Gaza building used by AP


Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he hasn’t seen any evidence that Hamas was operating inside a building in Gaza that housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera officers – after Israel said it provided ‘smoking gun’ evidence to President Joe Biden about the building its forces obliterated.

He said the U.S. has sought additional evidence from Israel, after the rocket attack on the building caused an uproar and demands for a full explanation from the Israelis.  

‘Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,’ Blinken said Monday. 

Blinken would not discuss specific intelligence, saying he ‘will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment that information.’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference with Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, following their meeting at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eigtveds Pakhus, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, May 17, 2021. ‘I have not seen any information provided,’ when asked about Israeli evidence that Hamas was operating inside a building its Air Force destroyed that also housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices

‘I have not seen any information provided,’ he said at a press conference with the Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. 

Blinken sought to avoid speaking about any information the Israelis provided. ‘I wouldn’t want to weigh in on intelligence matters in this forum, it’s not my place,’ he said.

But he also shared the ‘broader point’ that he called ‘really critical’: Israel has a special responsibility to protect civilians in the course of its self-defense. That that most certainly includes journalists.,’ he said. 

When pressed on if he had seen and received information provided by Israel, Blinken said: ‘I have not seen any information provided, and again to the extent that it is based on intelligence that would be shared with other colleagues and I’ll leave that to them to discuss.’ 

His comment came after officials in Israel were providing their own characterizations of the information. 

Journalists operating in the building say Israeli Defense Forces provided a warning before a rocket took out the building. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called it a ‘perfectly legitimate target.’

The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike Saturday, May 15, 2021. The attack came roughly an hour after the Israeli military warned people to evacuate the building, which also housed Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartments

The building housing the offices of The Associated Press and other media in Gaza City collapses after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike Saturday, May 15, 2021. The attack came roughly an hour after the Israeli military warned people to evacuate the building, which also housed Al-Jazeera and a number of offices and apartments

A combination picture shows a tower building housing AP, Al Jazeera offices as it collapses after Israeli missile strikes in Gaza city, May 15, 2021

A combination picture shows a tower building housing AP, Al Jazeera offices as it collapses after Israeli missile strikes in Gaza city, May 15, 2021

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod hold a joint news conference in Denmark

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod hold a joint news conference in Denmark

Israeli government officials say Natanyahu shared a ‘smoking gun’ with Biden when the two men spoke by telephone on Saturday.  

A source close to Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said: ‘We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building’. He also said Biden ‘found the explanation satisfactory’, without providing details of the evidence, the Jerusalem Post reported. 

Hussam Abu Harbid has been killed by an Israeli air strike, the country's military has said, describing him as a senior commander in Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Hussam Abu Harbid has been killed by an Israeli air strike, the country’s military has said, describing him as a senior commander in Palestinian Islamic Jihad

He also said the intelligence had not been shared more widely because the U.S. were the only country to request more information on the strike on the Al-Jalaa building.

The Israeli Air Force dropped three bombs on the building, collapsing it in a giant cloud of dust, on Saturday afternoon after giving journalists a one hour warning to evacuate the premises.

The ongoing violence poses a continued political challenge for the Biden administration, which was already facing blowback from critics of Israel from Democrats in Congress.

The U.S. this month approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, the Washington Post reported Monday, underlining the role of U.S. military support. 

The approval came about a week before Hamas unleashed rocket attacks on Israeli territory, filing a series of standoffs and escalations over local issues.  

 A Democratic lawmaker on the House Foreign Affairs Committee referenced the attack on the building housing the AP, and told the paper: ‘Allowing this proposed sale of smart bombs to go through without putting pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire will only enable further carnage.’ 

A senior Palestinian militant commander has been killed in an Israeli airstrike, the country’s air force has claimed, following a night of heavy bombardment that saw hundreds of bombs dropped on Gaza.

Hussam Abu Harbid, commander of the Northern Division of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), was killed in a strike on Monday, according to the Israeli air force. 

Harbid was behind rocket attacks against Israel including several launched on the first day of the most-recent clashes, the Israeli air force said, and had been a commander within PIJ for at least 15 years.

News of Harbid’s death – which has not been confirmed by PIJ – was followed by a flurry of rocket fire from inside Gaza at cities in southern Israel, which left at least eight people wounded.

A missile scored a direct hit on a residential building in Ashdod, the Magen David Adom emergency service said, with at least three people wounded by shrapnel in that attack, and amid fears more could be trapped in rubble. Five other people suffered panic attacks.

The death toll from a week of fighting now stands at 211, with 201 dead on the Palestinian side according to Gaza’s health authority, including 58 children and 34 women.

Ten deaths have been confirmed in Israel, including one child. More than 1,200 Palestinians have been injured so far, along with 302 Israelis.

Monday morning’s strikes came after an overnight bombardment described by witnesses as the heaviest of the conflict so far, with 54 Israeli jets dropping bombs on 35 targets in and around Gaza City in just 20 minutes.

The IDF said the strikes targeted around nine miles of Hamas tunnels, referred to by the military as ‘the Metro’, along with the homes of senior Hamas commanders that were also used as weapons stores.  

Abu Harbid - whose death has yet to be confirmed by PIJ - came amid continuing attacks by Israel in Gaza today. Pictured: Palestinian rescue workers carry the remains of a man found next to a beachside cafe after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike

Abu Harbid – whose death has yet to be confirmed by PIJ – came amid continuing attacks by Israel in Gaza today. Pictured: Palestinian rescue workers carry the remains of a man found next to a beachside cafe after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike

A Palestinian man stands next to a car that was hit by an Israeli airstrike, near the beach in Gaza City, with three people thought to have died in the strike

A Palestinian man stands next to a car that was hit by an Israeli airstrike, near the beach in Gaza City, with three people thought to have died in the strike

Palestinians gather around a car targeted by an Israeli missile in Gaza City as strikes continued on Monday

Palestinians gather around a car targeted by an Israeli missile in Gaza City as strikes continued on Monday

Reports of Harbid's death were followed by a flurry of rocket fire from Gaza at Israel, with at least one rocket hitting a residential building in Ashdod and causing eight injuries

Reports of Harbid’s death were followed by a flurry of rocket fire from Gaza at Israel, with at least one rocket hitting a residential building in Ashdod and causing eight injuries

Rockets fired towards Israel are intercepted in the skies above the Gaza Strip on Monday

Rockets fired towards Israel are intercepted in the skies above the Gaza Strip on Monday

A man inspects a three storey demolished building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City overnight

A man inspects a three storey demolished building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City overnight

Palestinians inspect damaged building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect damaged building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinian Al Deyri family's children are seen at street after their home demolished by Israeli army's airstrikes in Gaza City

Palestinian Al Deyri family’s children are seen at street after their home demolished by Israeli army’s airstrikes in Gaza City

Children and Palestinian men are seen near debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Children and Palestinian men are seen near debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

A Palestinian man walks through the ruins in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City

A Palestinian man walks through the ruins in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City

A Palestinian man passes the site of Israeli strikes in Gaza City on Monday after a night of heavy bombardment

A Palestinian man passes the site of Israeli strikes in Gaza City on Monday after a night of heavy bombardment

Palestinian firefighters douse a huge fire at the Foamco mattress factory following an Israeli airstrike, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian firefighters douse a huge fire at the Foamco mattress factory following an Israeli airstrike, east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian firefighters attempt to put out a blaze at a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday

Palestinian firefighters attempt to put out a blaze at a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday

Flames rip through a warehouse belonging to a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday

Flames rip through a warehouse belonging to a sponge factory in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday

Flames rise from the rubble of destroyed factories in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning

Flames rise from the rubble of destroyed factories in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu defends Gaza air strikes 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended his attacks on the Gaza strip, saying a country has a right to defend itself, and argued the United States knows ‘d**n well’ it would do the same thing.

In a defiant interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, Netanyahu denied any political motivation for the attacks that have left 174 Palestinians dead, including 47 children. In Israel, 10 people have been killed in total, including two children, with barrages of rockets fired from Gaza.

‘I think any country has to defend itself, and we’ll do whatever it takes to restore order and the security of our people,’ he said.

He argued he was fighting Hamas, a terrorist organization that hid behind civilians, as tensions rose between Israelis and Palestinians to levels not seen since a 2014 war.

 

‘Frankly, if Hamas thought that they could just fire on our rockets and then sit back and enjoy immunity, that’s false. We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields. 

‘We’re doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets their rocket caches and their arms, but we’re not going to just let them get away with it,’ he said.

And, when pressed on the issue, he snapped back to interviewer John Dickinson.

‘What would you do if it happened to Washington and New York? You know d**n well what you’d do,’ Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, denied his actions were about staying in power.

‘That’s preposterous,’ he said.

‘Anybody who knows me knows that I’ve never, ever subordinated security concerns, the life of our soldiers the life of our citizens for political interests, that’s just hogwash,’ he added.

‘I’ll do what I have to do to protect the lives of Israeli citizens and to restore peace and make peace with for our countries. 

‘I’m glad that we have a restoration of some considerable calm within Israel. That’s my goal to restore peace and quiet and to assure tranquility.’

 

The night of strikes began when Hamas rockets were fired at the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, with one slamming into a synagogue hours before evening services for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Israeli emergency services said. No injuries were reported. 

Israeli aircraft then launched their own raids, with the IDF saying that nine residences belonging to high-ranking Hamas commanders were hit. Some of the homes were used for weapons storage, it said.

Later in the morning, Palestinian media reported that Israel had struck a factory in northern Gaza. Video on social media showed a column of thick black smoke rising into the air.

Gaza mayor Yahya Sarraj said the strikes had caused extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure, and that he expected ‘the situation to get much worse’ if the bombardment continued.

It came amid reports that just one turbine at the power station which supplies much of Gaza’s electricity is now working, threatening mass blackouts including at hospitals and interruption to water supplies. 

The U.N. has warned that the territory’s sole power station is at risk of running out of fuel, and Sarraj said Gaza was also low on spare parts. 

Gaza already experiences daily power outages for between eight and 12 hours and tap water is undrinkable. Mohammed Thabet, a spokesman for the the territory’s electricity distribution company, said it has fuel to supply Gaza with electricity for two or a three days. 

Airstrikes have damaged supply lines and the company’s staff cannot reach areas that were hit because of continued Israeli shelling, he added. 

West Gaza resident Mad Abed Rabbo, 39, expressed ‘horror and fear’ at the intensity of the onslaught.

‘There have never been strikes of this magnitude,’ he said. 

Gazan Mani Qazaat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘should realise we’re civilians, not fighters’, adding ‘I felt like I was dying’. 

The renewed strikes come a day after 42 Palestinians in Gaza – including at least eight children and two doctors, according to the health ministry – were killed in the worst daily death toll in the enclave since the bombardments began. 

Israel’s army said about 3,100 rockets had been fired since last Monday from Gaza – the highest rate ever recorded – but added its Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted over 1,000.

Netanyahu said in a televised address Sunday that Israel’s ‘campaign against the terrorist organisations is continuing with full force’ and would ‘take time’ to finish.

The Israeli army said it had targeted the infrastructure of Hamas and armed group Islamic Jihad, weapons factories and storage sites.

Israeli air strikes also hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas’s political wing in Gaza, the army said, releasing footage of plumes of smoke and intense damage, but without saying if he was killed.

On Saturday, Israel gave journalists from Al Jazeera and AP news agency an hour to evacuate their offices before launching air strikes, turning their tower block into piles of smoking rubble.

Netanyahu on Sunday said the building also hosted a Palestinian ‘terrorist’ intelligence office.

‘It is a perfectly legitimate target,’ he said. 

In the Israeli air assault early Sunday, families were buried under piles of cement rubble and twisted rebar. A yellow canary lay crushed on the ground. 

Shards of glass and debris covered streets blocks away from the major downtown thoroughfare where the three buildings were hit over the course of five minutes around 1 a.m.

The hostilities have repeatedly escalated over the past week, marking the worst fighting in the territory that is home to 2 million Palestinians since Israel and Hamas’ devastating 2014 war.

‘I have not seen this level of destruction through my 14 years of work,’ said Samir al-Khatib, an emergency rescue official in Gaza. ‘Not even in the 2014 war.’

Rescuers furiously dug through the rubble using excavators and bulldozers amid clouds of heavy dust. One shouted, ‘Can you hear me?’ into a hole. Minutes later, first responders pulled a survivor out. 

The Gaza Health Ministry said 16 women and 10 children were among those killed, with more than 50 wounded.

Haya Abdelal, 21, who lives in a building next to one that was destroyed, said she was sleeping when the airstrikes sent her fleeing into the street. 

She accused Israel of not giving its usual warning to residents to leave before launching such an attack.

‘We are tired,’ she said, ‘We need a truce. We can´t bear it anymore.’

The Israeli army spokesperson´s office said the strike targeted Hamas ‘underground military infrastructure.’

As a result of the strike, ‘the underground facility collapsed, causing the civilian houses’ foundations above them to collapse as well, leading to unintended casualties,’ it said.

Among those reported killed was Dr. Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, the head of the internal medicine department at Shifa Hospital and a senior member of the hospital’s coronavirus management committee. Two of Abu Al-Ouf´s teenage children and two other family members were also buried under the rubble. 

Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards the Gaza Strip on Monday as fighting continues

Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards the Gaza Strip on Monday as fighting continues

Israel has defied international calls for a ceasefire and continues to bombard targets within Gaza today

Israel has defied international calls for a ceasefire and continues to bombard targets within Gaza today

An Israeli artillery unit deployed next to the Gaza Strip border as fighitng continues between Israeli Army and Hamas forces

An Israeli artillery unit deployed next to the Gaza Strip border as fighitng continues between Israeli Army and Hamas forces

Israeli artillery moved around near the Gaza border as fighting between the two sides continues today

Israeli artillery moved around near the Gaza border as fighting between the two sides continues today

Smoke rises from Gaza City as an Israeli shell fired by a gunboat hits a target on Monday morning

Smoke rises from Gaza City as an Israeli shell fired by a gunboat hits a target on Monday morning

Search and rescue works continue at debris of buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings at Jabalia Refugee Camp

Search and rescue works continue at debris of buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings at Jabalia Refugee Camp

Search and rescue works continue at debris of buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings at Jabalia Refugee Camp

Search and rescue works continue at debris of buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings at Jabalia Refugee Camp

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect at debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinian children are seen at street after their home demolished by Israeli army's airstrikes in Gaza City

Palestinian children are seen at street after their home demolished by Israeli army’s airstrikes in Gaza City

Palestinian Al Deyri and his family are seen on the streets of Gaza after their home was destroyed in Israeli air strikes

Palestinian Al Deyri and his family are seen on the streets of Gaza after their home was destroyed in Israeli air strikes

A Palestinian girl eats a piece of flatbread on the streets of Gaza after her family home was destroyed in overnight airstrikes

A Palestinian girl eats a piece of flatbread on the streets of Gaza after her family home was destroyed in overnight airstrikes

Palestinians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect damaged buildings after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in Gaza City

Palestinian children walk next to rubble from a house was that was hit by early morning Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City

Palestinian children walk next to rubble from a house was that was hit by early morning Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect the damage in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City

Palestinians inspect the damage in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City

AP editor demands answers after building destroyed

The Associated Press’ top editor is calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli airstrike that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the AP, broadcaster Al-Jazeera and other media, saying the public deserves to know the facts.

Separately, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s bombing of a building housing the media organizations as a possible war crime.

Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor, said Sunday that the Israeli government has yet to provide clear evidence supporting its attack, which leveled the 12-story al-Jalaa tower.

The Israeli military, which gave AP journalists and other tenants about an hour to evacuate, claimed Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office and weapons development. 

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Israel was compiling evidence for the U.S. but declined to commit to providing it within the next two days.

‘We’re in the middle of fighting,’ Conricus said Sunday. ‘That’s in process and I’m sure in due time that information will be presented.’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would share any evidence of Hamas’ presence in the targeted building through intelligence channels. But neither the White House nor the State Department would say if any American official had seen it.

Buzbee said the AP has had offices in al-Jalaa tower for 15 years and never was informed or had any indication that Hamas might be in the building. She said the facts must be laid out.

‘We are in a conflict situation,’ Buzbee said. ‘We do not take sides in that conflict. We heard Israelis say they have evidence; we don’t know what that evidence is.’

‘We think it’s appropriate at this point for there to be an independent look at what happened yesterday – an independent investigation,’ she added

The death of the 51-year-old physician ‘was a huge loss at a very sensitive time,’ said Mohammed Abu Selmia, the director of Shifa.

Gaza´s health care system, already gutted by an Israeli and Egyptian blockade imposed in 2007 after Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces, had been struggling with a surge in coronavirus infections even before the latest conflict. 

Israel’s airstrikes have leveled a number of Gaza City´s tallest buildings, which Israel alleges contained Hamas military infrastructure. Among them was the building housing The Associated Press Gaza office and those of other media outlets.

The violence between Hamas and Israel is the worst since 2014, when Israel launched a military operation on the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of ending rocket fire and destroying tunnels used for smuggling.

The war left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 74 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Opening the first session of the UN Security Council on the renewed violence on Sunday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the fighting ‘utterly appalling’.

‘It must stop immediately,’ he said.

But the UN talks, already delayed by Israel’s ally the United States, resulted in little action, with Washington opposing a resolution.

U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration is working with all parties towards achieving a sustained calm.

‘We also believe Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in safety and security and enjoy equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy,’ he said in a pre-taped video aired at an event marking the Muslim Eid holiday on Sunday.

‘My administration is going to continue to engage with Palestinians and Israelis and other regional partners to work towards sustained calm,’ he said. 

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that the United Nations was ‘actively engaging all sides toward an immediate ceasefire’ and urged them ‘to allow mediation efforts to intensify and succeed.’ U.N. envoys have helped to mediate past truces between Israel and Hamas.

Washington, a strong ally of Israel, has been isolated at the United Nations over its objection to a public statement by the Security Council on the violence because it worries it could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

Jordan’s King Abdullah said his kingdom was involved in intensive diplomacy to halt the bloodshed, but did not elaborate.

China on Monday renewed calls for the U.S. to play a constructive role in ending the conflict in Gaza and stop blocking efforts at the United Nations to demand an end to the bloodshed.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China, as rotating head of the Security Council, has urged a cease-fire and the provision of humanitarian assistance, among other proposals, but that obstruction by ‘one country’ has prevented the council from speaking with one voice.

‘We call on the United States to assume its due responsibility and take an impartial position to support the council and play its due role in cooling down the situation and rebuilding trust for a political solution,’ Zhao said at a daily briefing.

China ‘strongly condemns’ violence against civilians and calls for an end to air strikes, ground attacks, rocket fire and ‘other actions that aggravate the situation,’ Zhao said.

Meanwhile Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked Pope Francis to support sanctions against Israel, saying Palestinians will continue to be ‘massacred’ as long as the international community does not punish Israel.

During a telephone telephone call Monday with the pope, Erdogan also said that ‘continued messages and reactions’ from Francis in support of Palestinians would be of great importance for the ‘mobilization of the Christian world and of the international community,’ according to a statement from the Turkish presidential communications directorate.

During their conversation, Erdogan also renewed a call for the international community to take concrete steps to show Israel the ‘dissuasive reaction and lesson it deserves,’ according to the statement. The Turkish leader has been engaged in a telephone diplomacy bid to end Israel’s use of force.

Israel is also trying to contain inter-communal violence between Jews and Arab-Israelis, as well as deadly clashes in the occupied West Bank, where 19 Palestinians have been killed since May 10, according to a toll from Palestinian authorities.

Major clashes broke out at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound – one of Islam’s holiest sites – on May 7 following a crackdown against protests over planned expulsions of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Sheikh Jarrah has been at the heart of the flareup, seeing weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

On Sunday, a car-ramming attack in Sheikh Jarrah wounded seven police officers, police said, adding that the attacker had been killed.

Police also said ‘a number of suspects’ had been arrested during clashes in another east Jerusalem neighbourhood overnight Sunday to Monday.

Guterres warned the fighting could have far-reaching consequences if not stopped immediately.

‘It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole.’

Israeli jets continued their bombardment of Gaza overnight with 54 planes involved in strikes on nine miles of Hamas tunnels and nine homes of senior figures within the group, according to the IDF

Israeli jets continued their bombardment of Gaza overnight with 54 planes involved in strikes on nine miles of Hamas tunnels and nine homes of senior figures within the group, according to the IDF

Palestinians living under nightly threat of bombardment described the raids as the 'most devastating' they had witnessed, exceeding the scale of attacks during the 2014 war

Palestinians living under nightly threat of bombardment described the raids as the ‘most devastating’ they had witnessed, exceeding the scale of attacks during the 2014 war

Bombs explode in Gaza

Bombs explode in Gaza

The death toll now stands at 207 since fighting began on Monday last week, with 197 Palestinians killed including at least 58 children, while 10 Israelis have lost their lives including one child

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave

It is unclear how many people were killed or injured in the strikes overnight, but the death toll of a week of fighting now stands at 207 - with at least 197 Palestinians in the total

It is unclear how many people were killed or injured in the strikes overnight, but the death toll of a week of fighting now stands at 207 – with at least 197 Palestinians in the total

Israel's Iron Dome defence system intercepts rockets fired from Gaza overnight, as Hamas targeted the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon with one synagogue destroyed

Israel’s Iron Dome defence system intercepts rockets fired from Gaza overnight, as Hamas targeted the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon with one synagogue destroyed

Rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza City at targets in southern Israel are seen streaking into the sky overnight

Rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza City at targets in southern Israel are seen streaking into the sky overnight

Flares fired by Israeli fighter jets as they pass over Gaza City during overnight raids fall towards the ocean

Flares fired by Israeli fighter jets as they pass over Gaza City during overnight raids fall towards the ocean 

Israel was unable to give an estimate of the death toll from last night's raids, a day after the deadliest 24 hours of the conflict so far, with 42 Palestinians killed

Israel was unable to give an estimate of the death toll from last night’s raids, a day after the deadliest 24 hours of the conflict so far, with 42 Palestinians killed

Smoke and flames rise above a building as Gaza was hit by bombs dropped by 54 Israeli jets during airstrikes overnight

Smoke and flames rise above a building as Gaza was hit by bombs dropped by 54 Israeli jets during airstrikes overnight

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target the Palestinian enclave

Israel says the bombing is targeted at networks of Hamas tunnels that run under the city and the homes of group leaders, but at least 58 children have been killed in the raids so far

Israel says the bombing is targeted at networks of Hamas tunnels that run under the city and the homes of group leaders, but at least 58 children have been killed in the raids so far

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike hits Gaza City during overnight raids targeting Hamas tunnels

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike hits Gaza City during overnight raids targeting Hamas tunnels

Multiple plumes of smoke are seen in the night sky over Gaza City during airstrikes by Israeli forces

Multiple plumes of smoke are seen in the night sky over Gaza City during airstrikes by Israeli forces



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