Ruins and devastation as Israeli attacks pummel Gaza

Brenda Watkins
May 13, 2021

President Biden spoke today with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the spiraling violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

This is the heaviest offensive between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza and has prompted global concern that the situation could spiral out of control.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden finally broke his silence to say Israel had the right to defend itself against "thousands of rockets" flying into its territory.

Blinken had earlier on Wednesday said that a US envoy would travel to the Middle East to seek to calm tensions as he implored Israel to avoid civilian deaths.

The crisis started last Friday when weeks of tensions boiled over and Israeli riot police clashed with crowds of Palestinians at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque.

Many in Israel also holed up in shelters as waves of rockets hit its heartland, some blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.

Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz vowed more attacks on embattled Gaza before considering a ceasefire.

"The US doesn't see that a statement will help de-escalate", said another.

The United Nations is warning the conflict could mushroom into "full-scale war".

Israel has said it's targeting buildings where Hamas - the militant group that controls Gaza - stores weapons or has offices.

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Violence flared once again on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, where one 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Aqqaba and one 26-year-old in a refugee camp near Hebron were killed by Israeli gunfire.

An estimated seven Israelis were killed, including a six-year-old boy.

USA energy corporation Chevron said it had shut down the Tamar natural gas platform off the Israeli coast as a precaution.

Thursday's barrage on Tel Aviv prompted Israel to reroute an El Al flight from Brussels away from Ben Gurion, its intended destination, to Ramon Airport in the south.

The conflict has led to the freezing of talks by Netanyahu's opponents on forming a governing coalition to unseat him after Israel's inconclusive March 23 election.

According to health ministries from both Israel and the Gaza Strip, dozens have been killed as each region tries to one-up the other's attacks.

Authorities advised new parents to take the children out of their cribs and guard them in the fortified halls while rockets rained down from above.

Explosions, fire and flames by Israeli air strikes over southern Gaza Strip in response to the barrage of rockets fired by the Palestinians into Israel.

These include Washington's recognition of disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a US plan to end the conflict that they saw as favourable to Israel, and continued settlement building.

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