Israeli bombardments of Gaza continue; Hamas predicts ceasefire in days
Israeli soldiers work in an artillery unit firing near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on the Israeli side on May 19, 2021.
Ammar Awad | Reuters
Israel launched a new wave of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early Thursday in what it says are ongoing operations to eliminate Hamas targets.
Hamas, meanwhile, said it was planning a ceasefire in the coming days. So far, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he plans to continue the offensive, telling Israeli media on Wednesday evening that he was “determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved. “.
A senior Hamas official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, told a Lebanese television station that he expected a ceasefire in one to two days, while the Egyptian-led mediation efforts – the only country with open lines of communication with Hamas leaders and Israel – reportedly ongoing. US President Joe Biden told Netahyahu he “expects significant de-escalation in Gaza”, but so far those words have not been heard, and the exchange of fire on both sides continues .
Bombings by Israeli warplanes on Thursday killed at least one Palestinian, injured several others and destroyed at least five family homes, according to health officials in Gaza. Hamas, the US-designated terrorist organization and political party that has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel.
The recent violence in the territory – the worst it has seen since 2014 – has left at least 227 Palestinians dead, including at least 63 children.
At least 12 people in Israel were killed, including two children. Some Hamas rockets have also reportedly landed in Gaza, also killing Palestinians.
The IDF said it hit at least four houses belonging to Hamas commanders, targeting “military infrastructure” and weapons storage, in particular Hamas’ underground tunnel network. But these tunnels pass under civilian quarters, meaning several Palestinian families have lost their homes, with many civilians buried in the rubble.