At least 40 people lost their lives, 35 in Gaza and five in Israel, following aerial exchanges due to the growing hostilities between Israel and Hamas. It is the biggest clash between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war in Gaza.
A 30-year-old Kerala woman also died in the airstrikes by the militant group. The deceased has been identified as Soumya Santosh who was working as a caregiver to an old woman in Ashkelon.
After Hamas and other Palestinian militants filed multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba, Israel in a counterstrike carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Gaza. A residential building collapsed in Gaza, whereas another one was severely damaged due to Israeli airstrikes.
Tel Aviv has said that it has targeted and eliminated Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday, whereas the other airstrikes were aimed at Hamas office, homes of the militant group’s leaders and rocket launch sites.
Militants will pay a heavy price, says Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that militants would pay a “very heavy” price for the rockets, which reached the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday during a holiday in Israel commemorating its capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
The outbreak of hostilities led Netanyahu’s political opponents to suspend negotiations on forming a coalition of right-wing, leftist and centre-left parties to unseat him after an inconclusive March 23 election.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid has three weeks left to establish a government, with a new election – and another chance for Netanyahu to retain power – likely if he fails.
Hamas blames Israel
Hamas named its rocket assault “Sword of Jerusalem”, seeking to marginalise Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to present itself as the guardians of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The militant group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said Israel had “ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames extended to Gaza, therefore, it is responsible for the consequences.”
UN asks for de-escalation
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland tweeted: “Stop the fire immediately. We are escalating towards full-scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take responsibility for de-escalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now.”
Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war. Leaders on all sides have to take the responsibility of deescalation. The cost of war in Gaza is devastating & is being paid by ordinary people. UN is working w/ all sides to restore calm. Stop the violence now
— Tor Wennesland (@TWennesland) May 11, 2021
The spokesperson for UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in a statement said, “The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by the serious escalations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, including the latest escalation in Gaza, which adds to the heightened tensions and violence in occupied East Jerusalem.”
“He is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza. The Secretary-General’s thoughts are with the families of the victims.”
“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres is unacceptable. This spiraling escalation must cease immediately. The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently.”
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