At least 40 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem as clashes between Palestinian Hamas and Israeli security forces escalated Wednesday (May 12, 2021).
Israel carried out a new round of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, targeting Hamas authorities’ police and security agency facilities. A multi-story residential and office multi-use building was heavily damaged in the airstrikes, which were unoccupied at the time.
Tuesday’s round of airstrikes destroyed a multi-story residential building that housed a number of Hamas offices. Residents of the building and surrounding neighborhoods were given warning notices to evacuate prior to the airstrikes.
The Israeli army says the airstrikes targeted rocket launching sites, intelligence offices and the homes of senior Hamas officials. The Gaza Health Ministry said the Israeli air strikes killed 35 people, including 10 children, and wounded more than 200.
Meanwhile, rockets fired by Hamas on Tuesday and Wednesday morning killed five Israelis.
This is the largest armed clash between Palestinian militant groups and Israeli forces since the 2014 Gaza war. The clashes stem from growing Palestinian discontent with Israel’s expanding control over Jerusalem and attempts by Jewish settlers to occupy Arab-held neighborhoods.
White House spokeswoman Sachs said Tuesday that the U.S. condemned rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas and other terrorist groups, saying President Biden’s “support for Israeli forces exercising their legitimate right to protect themselves and their people is fundamental and will never waver.” She also said the Biden administration supports a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.
The U.N. Security Council plans to hold an emergency closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss the situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The sources said the U.S. is delaying a formal statement from the council on the escalation because it fears that could undermine diplomatic efforts being made behind the scenes to end the conflict.