Israeli fighter jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding several more as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defied the United States’ call to seek a de-escalation and a path to a ceasefire.
At least 227 Palestinians have been killed in 11 days of violence. The dead include 64 children and 38 women.
On the Israeli side, 12 people have been killed.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday discussed the events in Gaza with Netanyahu, telling the caretaker leader that he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire”.
But shortly after Biden’s phone call, Netanyahu said he was “determined” to continue bombarding Gaza until Israel’s “aim is met”.
Diplomatic efforts for a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers remain stalled, meanwhile, with the US continuing to block United Nations Security Council action on the issue.
Here are the latest updates:
2 mins ago (06:22 GMT)
Hamas official predicts a truce ‘within a day or two’
Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas political official, has predicted a ceasefire within days in the Israeli-Gaza escalation.
“I think that the ongoing efforts regarding the ceasefire will succeed,” he told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV. “I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement.”
An Egyptian security source told Reuters the sides had agreed in principle to a ceasefire after help from mediators but details were still being negotiated in secret.
49 mins ago (05:35 GMT)
One Palestinian killed in Gaza
At least one Palestinian was killed and 13 others were wounded in the latest Israeli air attacks on Gaza, the Palestinian Wafaa news agency reported.
A Wafa correspondent in Gaza said Israeli fighters jets carried out a minimum of 30 air raids that targeted roads and homes in Gaza City, Jabalia and Khan Younis.
The raids caused “significant destruction” to the Saftawi highway, which links Gaza City to northern areas of the enclave, and damaged power, water and sanitation networks, the agency reported.
2 hours ago (04:43 GMT)
Palestinian groups ‘fire 80 rockets overnight’
Palestinian groups in Gaza fired 80 rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel between 7pm on Wednesday and 7am on Thursday, the Times of Israel reported, citing the Israeli military.
The Israeli air defence system intercepted a majority of the rockets and there were no reports of injuries, according to the website.
The last rocket was launched at 1am local time, it added.
Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon May 19, 2021 [Amir Cohen/ Reuters]
3 hours ago (03:32 GMT)
US opposes France’s draft statement
Washington has opposed a proposed UN Security Council resolution, drafted by France, urging a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, according to the Associated Press news agency.
A spokesperson for the US mission to the UN reiterated Washington’s stance that a public statement could interfere with Biden’s efforts to end the hostilities.
“We’ve been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts under way to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate,” the spokesperson told AP on the condition of anonymity.
Diplomats said the rest of the 15-member body supported the French draft.
3 hours ago (03:17 GMT)
US Democrats urge Biden to facilitate Israel-Palestine truce
More than 130 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives called on Biden to “facilitate the immediate cessation of violence” between Israel and Hamas and to “press both sides to quickly negotiate a ceasefire”.
“The alternative is an unfolding human tragedy of unimaginable dimensions,” the letter said.
Alongside over 130 members of Congress, I am urging @POTUS to demand an immediate cease-fire in Israel & Palestine.
No more lives should be lost. pic.twitter.com/jEc2uZcgOS
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) May 19, 2021
4 hours ago (02:52 GMT)
Several Palestinians wounded in Israeli raids
At least nine Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli attack on a house in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to medics.
Eight others were wounded in an air raid on a residential building in Jabalia in nothern Gaza.
4 hours ago (02:35 GMT)
Israel launches dozens of air raids on Gaza
Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip with airstrikes early on Thursday.
A number of loud explosions rattled the Palestinian territory, with bright orange flashes lighting up the pre-dawn sky.
Israeli warplanes bomb Al-Saftawi street in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/YWsddgskjq
— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 20, 2021
For all the developments from yesterday, May 19, go here.