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Jumat, 14 Mei 2021

Violence spreads to West Bank, Lebanese border as death toll rises in Gaza - ABC News

Tensions between Israel and Gaza have spilled over into the West Bank and Lebanese border, as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and air strikes while Palestinian protesters in at least nine towns burned tyres and threw stones at Israeli troops.

Soldiers opened fire and killed 10 people, according to Palestinian health officials.

A Lebanese police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, and the country's official news agency said a Lebanese protester died of wounds sustained after Israeli troops fired shots at the Lebanese-Israeli border.

The official said the 31-year-old protester died a few hours after he was shot at the border where Palestinian and Lebanese youth had gathered as part of a rally against the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. 

A small group of protesters later crossed the border into Israel, triggering the shooting. 

The Israeli military said troops fired warning shots toward the group after they sabotaged the fence and crossed over briefly. 

Protesters behind an industrial bin a tyres burn behind them.
Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces in the West Bank. (

AP: Mahmoud Illean

)

In Gaza, the death toll from the fighting rose to 122, including 31 children and 20 women, with 900 wounded, according to the Health Ministry.

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, though Israel says that number is much higher.

Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.

Israeli aircraft leveled a multistory building housing a bank affiliated with the Hamas militant group in the enclave.

It was the third Hamas bank destroyed in Israeli air strikes in this week's deadly escalation and fighting.

The Israeli military also said on Friday that it had struck Hamas weapons production and naval sites in recent strikes on the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas armed wing released a video showing what they said was a drone attack the group launched targeting an Israeli chemical plant near a kibbutz in southern Israel. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army on the drone attack.

On Thursday, Israeli troops massed at the Gaza border, and an army spokesman spoke of a possible ground assault into the densely populated territory, though he gave no timetable.

A day later, there was no sign of an incursion.

Before dawn on Friday, tanks deployed on the border and warplanes carried out an intense barrage on the northern end of the Gaza Strip. 

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Play Video. Duration: 43 seconds
More than 100 Palestinians killed in Israeli bombardment of Gaza

Resident Houda Ouda said she and her extended family ran frantically into their home in the town of Beit Hanoun, seeking safety as the earth shook for two-and-a-half hours in the darkness.

“We even did not dare to look from the window to know what is being hit,” she said.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the operation involved tank fire and air strikes, aimed at destroying a tunnel network beneath Gaza City that the military refers to as “the Metro,” used by militants to evade surveillance and air strikes.

“Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before we strike high-rise or large buildings inside Gaza, that wasn’t feasible this time.”

A woman mourning the death of family members in Gaza
The death toll in Gaza has risen after Israel launched more strikes on Hamas.(

AP: Khalil Hamra

)

Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said thousands broke into 16 schools run by the agency, which he said was scrambling to find a way to shelter them, given movement restrictions on its staff amid the fighting and COVID-19 worries.

The United Nations has estimated that 10,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza as the conflict continues.

Mohammed Ghabayen, who took refuge in a school with his family, said his children had eaten nothing since the day before, and they had no mattresses to sleep on.

“And this is in the shadow of the coronavirus crisis,” he said.

Hamas has fired some 1,800 rockets toward Israel, some targeting the seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv, although more than a quarter of them have fallen short inside Gaza and most of the rest have been intercepted by missile defence systems, according to The Associated Press.

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Play Video. Duration: 1 minute 29 seconds
Rockets launched from Gaza are seen in Tel Aviv sky. (Image: AP)

Still, the rockets have brought life in parts of southern Israel to a standstill and caused disruptions at airports.

A spokesman for Hamas’ military wing said the group was not afraid of a ground invasion, which would be a chance “to increase our catch” of Israeli soldiers.

The strikes came after Egyptian mediators rushed to Israel for cease-fire talks that showed no signs of progress. Egypt, Qatar and the UN were leading the truce efforts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Hamas would “pay a very heavy price” for its rocket attacks.

Palestinians take refuge in a UN school
People in Gaza took refuge in a UN school as Israeli air strikes barraged the enclave.(

AP: Khalil Hamra

)

US President Joe Biden said he spoke with Mr Netanyahu about calming the fighting but also backed the Israeli leader by saying “there has not been a significant overreaction.”

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the conflict could "unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism,” not only in the Palestinian territory and Israel but also elsewhere in the region.

A UN spokesman said Mr Guterres was urging the parties to allow mediation efforts to intensify and end the fighting more quickly. 

The fighting broke out late Monday when Hamas fired a long-range rocket at Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests there against the policing of a flashpoint holy site and efforts by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes.

The violent clashes between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem and other mixed cities across Israel has added a layer of volatility not seen in more than two decades.

A Jewish man was shot and seriously wounded in Lod, the epicentre of the troubles, and Israeli media said a second Jewish man was shot.

In the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Jaffa, an Israeli soldier was attacked by a group of Arabs and hospitalised in serious condition.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said some 750 suspects have been arrested since the communal violence began this week.

AP

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2021-05-14 21:48:28Z
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