Gaza death toll hits 119 as Israelis continue brutal campaign

May 14, 2021

GAZA — The Israeli campaign of destruction in the Gaza Strip increased the number of mortalities among Palestinians to 119, including 31 children and 19 women, said the Palestinian Health Ministry on Friday.

Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Health Ministry, said that the number of wounded in the campaign had reached 830 Palestinians.

The northern sector of the Gaza Strip witnessed from late Thursday until early Friday morning an intensified assault on part of the Israelis, leading to Palestinians to flee their homes and seek refuge in UNRWA-run schools.

The Israeli occupation military announced that 150 operations had taken place in northern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians fled Gaza City in droves on Friday as Israel continued intense bombardment of the Palestinian Territories in the worst outbreak of violence since 2014, according to Euronews.

Israel has massed troops on the Gaza frontier and called up at least 9,000 reservists, stoking fears of a ground invasion.

Meanwhile a barrage of artillery fire and airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled territory continued into Friday, with reports of hospitals overwhelmed and people fleeing for their lives.

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

Seven people are known to have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier. The group has fired close to 2,000 rockets at the territory since the fresh wave of violence broke out on Monday.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, confirmed that tanks stationed near the border had fired 50 rounds on the city. It was part of a large-scale operation aimed at destroying tunnels beneath Gaza City that the IDF says are used by militants, and which it refers to as 'the Metro.'

“I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. "We are doing that, and we will continue to do that with heavy force.”

Hamas and the IDF continued to exchange rocket fire and airstrikes throughout Thursday night and into Friday.

Late on Thursday night, rockets were also fired towards Israel from southern Lebanon, landing in the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanese officials have said they are thought to have been fired from the refugee camp of Rashidieh.

Tensions over the eviction of Palestinians from strategic parts of East Jerusalem had reached boiling point at the start of the week, leading to Israeli police descending on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with hundreds injured in the ensuing carnage.

Thousands of Israeli families are now spending the nights in bomb shelters after Hamas intensified its bombardment of cities across Israel on Wednesday.

Nightly clashes have also continued between Arabs and Israelis in some of Israel's mixed cities. Mob violence between far-right Jewish groups and Arab citizens of Israel has seen businesses and places of worship looted and torched, and at least one Palestinian was shot and killed in the city of Lod.

Police confirmed on Thursday that they arrested nearly 400 people allegedly “involved in riots and disturbances” across the country the previous night.

There was more ethnic strife on Thursday evening. In Tel Aviv, two Jewish men attacked a journalist covering a gathering of ultranationalists.

In Lod, a Jewish man was shot and badly injured by an Arab man while in Jaffa, an Israeli soldier was attacked by a group of Arabs and taken to hospital in serious condition.

On Friday, the Israeli military also said an officer had opened fire on a Palestinian driver who tried to ram his car into a soldier at a military post near Ofra settlement in the West Bank.

The relentless escalation of hostilities, which are spreading farther and wider than at any time since the 2000 Palestinian intifada, came even as Egyptian negotiators held in-person talks with the two sides in a bid to broker a ceasefire.

Egyptian officials arrived in the region on Thursday and met first with Hamas leaders in Gaza before holding talks with the Israelis in Tel Aviv. — Agencies

May 14, 2021
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