Israel continued on Friday to bombard the Gaza Strip with air raids and artillery shells as it stepped up the deployment of troops and tanks near the besieged Palestinian enclave.
At least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 830 wounded since hostilities flared up on Monday. Hundreds of Palestinian families have taken shelter in UN-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire.
Despite international calls for an immediate halt of all hostilities, including from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged the offensive will continue “as needed to restore calm in the state of Israel”.
Hamas fired another barrage of rockets towards Israel, hitting the city of Ashkelon in the early hours on Friday.
At least six Israelis and one Indian national have also been killed. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave’s eastern lands.
Meanwhile, violence is brewing between Israeli settlers and Palestinian citizens in the West Bank as well as in Israel. In another potential escalation, at least three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel.
‘Violence must stop’: Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron “strongly” called for a ceasefire.
“The spiral of violence in the Middle East must stop. I strongly call for a ceasefire and for dialogue,” Macron said on Twitter in a post that was also translated in Hebrew and Arabic.
“I call for calm and peace,” he added.
Destruction in Gaza City
Images posted by local Safa news agency show the level of destruction caused by Israeli air raids on Gaza City’s eastern neighborhood of Shejaiya.
ICC prosecutor warns against war crimes
International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told Reuters news agency that individuals involved in the ongoing conflict may be targeted by an investigation into alleged war crimes.
Bensouda said she would press ahead with her inquiry even without the cooperation of Israel, which accuses her office of anti-Semitic bias and rejected membership in the treaty-based court, objecting to its jurisdiction.
“These are events that we are looking at very seriously,” Bensouda said. “We are monitoring very closely and I remind that an investigation has opened and the evolution of these events could also be something we look at.”
Israel says it hit Gaza tunnels
The Israeli army said it destroyed several kilometres of underground tunnels in Gaza during a large-scale operation involving 160 aircraft.
The army said in a statement the aim of the operation was to severely damage the tunnels, an underground network they say Hamas use to move and launch attacks on Israel. It said more than 150 targets were hit.
‘Palestinians aren’t going anywhere’
US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib struggled to hold back tears in Congress as she questioned the US government’s “unconditional support” for Israel. Other Democrats gave their “unwavering” backing to Israel.
PODCAST: The Take – In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians confront a city’s future
What started out as protests against forced expulsions in a Palestinian neighbourhood has turned into an Israeli crackdown that has engulfed much of occupied East Jerusalem, including holy sites like Al-Aqsa Mosque.
But Sheikh Jarrah is just one neighbourhood, and displacements are unfolding across the occupied territories.
As the reverberations in Sheikh Jarrah spread beyond, how will it affect the future of Palestinians in Jerusalem?