GAZA – AP reported that since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has pounded the Gaza Strip with strikes. In Gaza, at least 145 people have been killed, including 41 children and 23 women in Israel, eight people have been killed, including a man killed by a rocket that hit in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, on Saturday.
The latest outburst of violence started in Jerusalem and spread across the region over the past week, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities of Israel. There were also widespread Palestinian protests Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.
The spiraling violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, when peace talks have not taken place in years. Palestinians on Saturday were marking Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, when they commemorate the estimated 700,000 people who were expelled from or fled their homes in what was now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation. That raised the possibility of even more unrest.
U.S. diplomat Hady Amr arrived Friday as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict, and the U.N. Security Council was set to meet Sunday. But Israel turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers had accepted, an Egyptian official said Friday on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations.
As the hostilities continued, an Israeli bombardment struck a three-story house in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp on Saturday morning, killing eight children aged 14 and under and two women from an extended family.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters his wife and five children had gone to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with her brother’s wife and three of their children. All were killed instantly, he said. The only known survivor from Hadidi’s family was his 5-month-old son Omar, another son, 11-year-old Yahya, was missing, he said.
Children’s toys and a Monopoly board game could be seen among the rubble, as well as plates of uneaten food from the holiday gathering.
“There was no warning, Jamal Al-Naji, a neighbor living in the same building, said.
“You filmed people eating and then you bombed them?” he said, addressing Israel.
“Why are you confronting us? Go and confront the strong people!”
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamas said it fired a salvo of rockets at southern Israel in response to the airstrike.
The strike on the building housing media offices came in the afternoon, after the owner received a call from the Israeli military warning that the building would be hit within the hour.
A video broadcast by Al-Jazeera showed the building’s owner, Jawwad Mahdi, pleading over the phone with an Israeli intelligence officer to wait 10 minutes to allow journalists to go inside the building to retrieve valuable equipment before it is bombed.
“All I’m asking is to let four people … to go inside and get their cameras, He says.
“We respect your wishes, we will not do it if you don’t allow it, but give us 10 minutes. He ask.
When the officer rejected the request, Mahdi said, “You have destroyed our life’s work, memories, life. I will hang up, do what you want. There is a God.
Al-Jazeera, the news network funded by Qatar’s government, broadcast the airstrikes live as the building collapsed.
“This channel will not be silenced. Al-Jazeera will not be silenced, said Halla Mohieddeen, on-air anchor person for Al-Jazeera English said, her voice thick with emotion.
“We can guarantee you that right now,” She said.
Later in the day, the White House responded by saying Israel had a “paramount responsibility” to ensure the safety of journalists covering the spiraling conflict.
U.S.President Joe Biden has urged a deescalation in the 5-day conflict between Hamas and Israel, but has publicly backed Israel’s right to self-defense from Hamas rockets fired from Gaza. On Saturday, he spoke with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A furious Israeli barrage early Friday killed a family of six in their house and sent thousands fleeing to U.N.-run shelters.
The military said the operation involved 160 warplanes dropping some 80 tons of explosives over the course of 40 minutes and succeeded in destroying a vast tunnel network used by Hamas.