GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it called militant targets in Gaza, leveling a six-story building, and militants fired dozens of rockets at Israel on Tuesday . Palestinians across the region observed a general strike as the war, now in its second week, showed no signs of abating.
The strikes toppled a building housing libraries and educational centers belonging to the Islamic University. Seen from the height of the roof, the destruction loomed like a huge valley of rebar and concrete slabs. Desks, office chairs, books and computer cables could be seen peeking out from the debris. Residents sifted through the rubble for their belongings.
There were no immediate reports of victims of the night strikes.
Heavy fighting erupted on May 10 when militant Hamas leaders from Gaza fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests against harsh Israeli police inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound., a holy flashpoint holy place for Jews and Muslims, and the threat of eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
Palestinians in Israel, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Tuesday observed a general strike to protest what many activists and some human rights groups say is a unique apartheid system of which the war in Gaza is only one manifestation. Israel categorically rejects this characterization and accuses Hamas of inciting violence in the region.
The strike was called by leaders of the Palestinian community inside Israel, which represents 20% of the country’s population, and adopted by the internationally-supported Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, where government ministries and schools were closed. Most businesses appeared to be observing the strike and protests were expected.
Israel saw a surge in ethnic violence last week, with groups of Jewish and Palestinian citizens fighting in the streets and setting vehicles and buildings on fire. In the West Bank, Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops and paramilitary border police.
The IDF said on Tuesday it had fired more than 100 ammunition at 65 militant targets, including rocket launchers, a group of fighters and the homes of Hamas commanders which the military said were being used for military purposes. military purposes. He said more than 60 fighter jets took part in the operation.
The army said Palestinian militants fired 90 rockets, 20 of which did not reach Gaza. Israel claims its missile defenses have a 90 percent interception rate.
The military said it had also shot down a drone “approaching the Israeli border” in the northeast, away from fighting in Gaza. He did not specify where the unmanned aircraft came from, but it is possible that the drone came from Syria.
At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes so far, including 61 children and 36 women, with more than 1,400 injured, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, were killed in rocket attacks launched from civilian areas of Gaza into civilian areas in Israel.
Israel says it has inflicted heavy damage on Hamas’ military infrastructure, including a vast network of militant tunnels it calls the “metro.”
The strikes brought down several buildings and caused considerable damage in the narrow coastal territory, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been the subject of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
Israeli airstrikes and shelling damaged at least 18 hospitals and clinics and completely destroyed one health facility, the World Health Organization said in a new report. Almost half of all essential medicines in the territory are exhausted.
He said the bombardment of key roads, including those leading to the main hospital in Shifa, hampered the flow of ambulances and supply vehicles. More than 41,000 displaced Palestinians sought refuge in UN schools in Gaza, which was already struggling to cope with a coronavirus outbreak.
Israel has vowed to continue operations, and the United States has signaled that it will not press both sides for a ceasefire, even though President Joe Biden has said he supports one.
“We will continue to operate for as long as necessary in order to restore calm and security to all Israeli citizens,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after meeting with senior security officials on Monday.
Protests were expected across the region on Tuesday in response to a call by Palestinian citizens of Israel for a general strike. The demonstration has the support of the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Biden administration has so far refused to publicly criticize Israel’s part in the fighting or to send a high-level envoy to the region. On Monday, the United States again blocked a proposed UN Security Council statement calling for an end to the “Gaza crisis” and the protection of civilians, especially children.
Since the fighting began, the IDF has launched hundreds of airstrikes it claims target Hamas’s militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 3,400 rockets at Israel.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad claim at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel claims the number is at least 160 and has released the names and photos of more than two dozen militant commanders who , according to him, were “eliminated”. The Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry does not specify the number of casualties among militants or civilians.
Israeli airstrikes razed a number of the tallest buildings in Gaza City, which Israel said contained Hamas’s military infrastructure. Among them was the building housing the Associated Press office in Gaza and those of other media.
Netanyahu alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building and said any evidence would be shared through intelligence channels. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had yet to see any evidence to support Israel’s claim.
PA chairman Gary Pruitt called for an independent investigation into the attack.
“As we said, we have no indication of a Hamas presence in the building, nor were we warned of such a possible presence before the airstrike,” he said. he said in a statement. “It’s something that we check as best we can. We don’t know what the Israeli evidence shows and we want to know it.
Krauss brought back from Jerusalem. Associated Press editor Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.