Airstrikes kill six in Gaza as relentless Israeli bombardment continues

Airstrikes kill six in Gaza as relentless Israeli bombardment continues
People in Gaza look as the city is turned to rubble by Israeli air strikes on May 13, 2021. [Twitter: @Omar_Gaza]

At least six people died in airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday as the relentless Israeli bombardment entered its 10th consecutive day.

The latest attacks came from warplanes and artillery stationed on Gaza's northern and eastern borders, as well as from warships offshore.

Houses and apartments were targeted in addition to military sites belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, forcing more families from the border areas to flee their homes and seek shelter in UN-run schools.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that 227 Palestinians, including 64 children and 38 women, have been killed since the beginning of the fighting, while 1,620 others have been injured.

Among the latest victims was Yusef Abu Hussein, a journalist for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa Radio, who was killed when his home was bombed early on Wednesday.

The government media office in Gaza said that 107 Palestinians evacuated their homes, adding to the 58,000 Palestinians left homeless or seeking refuge in UN schools and shelters.

Three mosques were destroyed and 40 others damaged in the bombing, the Palestinian Ministry of Waqfs said.

Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said that artillery fire had been directed at military sites around the Gaza Strip and rockets fired at Israeli cities.

The number of attacks launched from the Gaza Strip has decreased in recent days amid growing talk about a cease-fire agreement with Israel.

Initially rockets were fired toward Tel Aviv and cities in central Israel, but the latest missile attacks have been directed at urban areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip, as well as Ashkelon and sometimes Ashdod.

Dawood Shehab, an Islamic Jihad official, said that an understanding brokered through Egypt meant that rocket attacks on Tel Aviv were halted in exchange for an end to the destruction of residential towers in Gaza.

"We received a proposal on Wednesday morning from Egypt, which is currently being drafted by Egypt, and will be discussed in an effort to reach a cease-fire agreement," Shehab told Arab News.

"Our demands are to stop the Israeli violations of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to ensure the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after the end of the war," he added.

Shehab appeared satisfied with the factions' achievements. "The battle set its goals for us, and the issue of Jerusalem was revived in the world again, and it became known to all parties that Jerusalem is a red line that cannot be crossed."

The fighting followed clashes between Israeli police and Muslims in Al-Aqsa Mosque and the planned eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. In response, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired rockets at Jerusalem.

Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, believes that Hamas has achieved success in its latest clash with Israel and that its popularity has grown.

"Hamas's popularity has increased in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and even in the Gaza Strip, despite the bombing. It was the people of Jerusalem who asked Hamas to intervene at the beginning," Abusada told Arab News.

"The Palestinian issue was marginalized, especially during the time of former US President Donald Trump, but it has become the No. 1 issue today. There have been three Security Council sessions. Jerusalem has become an important issue on the politicians' table, and this is a good thing politically," he added.

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