Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza enters second week- Israel launched dozens of air strikes in Gaza during the early hours of Monday, targeting agricultural fields, streets, and infrastructure in the besieged enclave in the latest wave of its aggression that spilled into a second week.
International calls mounted for a ceasefire, but there’s no sign of any imminent end to the brutal aggression.
Roads, security buildings and houses were bombed in Israeli attacks that seemed to be focused on Gaza City itself, witnesses said.
The sound of explosions echoed in many part of the Palestinian enclave overnight.
Electricity and water cuts are being experienced in areas near to the targeted areas, witnesses added.
Israeli warships deployed in the sea also launched a scathing on Gaza’s coast.
There’s been no immediate reports of injuries, and in the predawn darkness, there was little information on the extent of damage inflicted.
Meanwhile, Palestinian political party Hamas, said its military wing retaliated to the Israeli attacks, firing rockets on the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, and also targeting some settlement areas.
The death toll from Israeli attacks in the densely populated enclave of 2 million Palestinians on Sunday rose to 197, including 58 children and 34 women, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The number of injured has reached 1,235, while tens of buildings were destroyed or damaged.
Worst attacks since 2014
In the Israeli air assault early on Sunday, families were buried under piles of cement rubble and twisted rebar. A yellow canary bird 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 1AM.
The hostilities have repeatedly escalated over the past week, marking the worst attacks on the territory since the devastating attacks of 2014.
“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.
Palestinian health officials said Sunday’s attacks killed 42 people, including 10 children.
Thousands flee their homes
World concern had already deepened after an Israeli air strike in Gaza that destroyed several homes on Sunday.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki said more than 10,000 civilians have been displaced in Gaza due to Israeli attacks, at an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday.
Maliki stated that Israel has committed crimes and used violence against the people in Gaza, which is under blockade.
“Ongoing barbaric bombardments on Gaza has led to the displacement of more than 10,000 Palestinian citizens and the destruction of hundreds of homes across the region,” he said.
US 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.
No concrete outcome from UNSC meeting
In New York, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that fighting in Israel and Gaza were “utterly appalling” and called for an immediate end to fighting.
However, the top UN body’s open debate on the tensions amid the Israel’s attacks in Gaza ended with no concrete outcome
This third session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) this week came after the US’s two moves to block a joint statement that would condemn Israel for the violence and call for a ceasefire.
The virtual meeting, joined by Israeli and Palestinian officials, was requested by China, Norway, and Tunisia.
During his address, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Israel and Palestine to end the “senseless cycle of bloodshed, terror, and destruction” and return to negotiations for a two-state solution to the conflict.
“The current hostilities are utterly appalling. This latest round of violence only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction, and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” said Guterres.
Netanyahu defends bombing of foreign media offices
On US network CBS’ “Face the Nation” programme, Netanyahu defended another Israeli air strike a day earlier that destroyed a 12-storey building where the Associated Press and the Al Jazeera TV network had offices.
He said the structure also housed Hamas’ intelligence office and was thus a legitimate target.
He said Israel had passed information about the building to US authorities.
A US intelligence official did not respond to a request for comment.
Israel had given advance warning to occupants to leave.
The Associated Press has condemned the strike and called on Israel to present evidence that Hamas was in the building.
The Associated Press’ top editor Sally Buzbee, is calling for an independent investigation into the strike.
Separately, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders asked the International Criminal Court to investigate it as a possible war crime.
Biden’s envoy, Hady Amr, arrived in Israel on Friday for talks, and an official with first-hand knowledge of his meetings said on Sunday that he reiterated “full US support” for Israel’s right to defend itself.
Amr also made clear that Washington understood that “this is clearly not something that can be wrapped up in 24 hours,” said the official, who asked not to be identified.
Ongoing aggression against civilians
The Israeli military said that Hamas and other armed factions have fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza over the past week.
Hamas said its latest attacks were in retaliation for Israel’s “ongoing aggression against civilians”, including the air strike in Gaza City on Sunday that destroyed a number of homes.
The recent tensions that started in occupied East Jerusalem in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread to Gaza after Palestinian resistance groups there vowed to retaliate against Israeli assaults on the Al Aqsa Mosque and Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhoodif they were not halted.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.
This article are the author’s’ own and do not reflect BalKanTimes stance.