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A Palestinian man takes a photograph with his mobile phone of a building hit and destroyed during an Israeli Air strike in Gaza City, on May 15, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Netanyahu Tells Biden Israel 'Doing Everything' to Avoid Civilian Casualties in Gaza

The Middle East has seen the fiercest escalation between Israel and Gaza in recent years, which resulted from clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police over the eviction of Arab families from a quarter in East Jerusalem.

Large-scale clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli police on Monday evening, resulting in the fiercest escalation in the Gaza Strip in recent years. Riots began in East Jerusalem, where several Arab families were being evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter in accordance with an Israeli court decision. 

Gaza's Hamas group launched rocket attacks at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The death toll in Israel currently stands at nine.

Israel fired artillery and intensified airstrikes against a network of Palestinian militant tunnels under Gaza. Israeli air forces struck a tunnel where servers and military equipment of Hamas were located, the country's military announced on Friday.

According to Palestinian health officials, at least 119 people have been killed in Gaza, including 31 children and 19 women, and 830 others wounded.

*Follow Sputnik's feed to get the latest updates on the Mideast conflict escalation.

Table of contents
13:58 GMT 15.05.2021
New firstOld first
03:58 GMT 16.05.2021
A man carries the body of a Palestinian child from Al-Hadidi family, who was killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, during their funeral at a cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip May 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
UN Secretary-General ‘Disturbed’ by Civilian Casualties, Destruction of High-Rise in Gaza
02:46 GMT 16.05.2021
02:34 GMT 16.05.2021
A man prays as people gather outside Downing Street to protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, in London, Saturday, May 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
London March Over Israel-Gaza Violence Results in 9 Police Officers Injured, Police Say
00:20 GMT 16.05.2021
00:16 GMT 16.05.2021
Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, including members of Abu Hatab family, who were killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, during their funeral near the remains of a building destroyed in Israeli air strikes, at the Beach refugee camp, in Gaza City May 15, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Israeli Forces Launch More Attacks, Causing Power Shutdown in Gaza City, Source Says
23:23 GMT 15.05.2021
Palestinian demonstrators run towards an ambulance during a protest over tension in Jerusalem and Israel-Gaza escalation, near Tubas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Over 350 Palestinians Injured Amid Clashes With Israeli Forces, Red Crescent Says
22:29 GMT 15.05.2021
21:39 GMT 15.05.2021
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BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans is holding consultations to convene a meeting of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators — Russia, the United States, the EU and UN — on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict settlement, Palestinian Ambassador to the EU Abdalrahim Alfarra told Sputnik on Saturday.

"Yes, I had contacts with EU representative on the Middle East settlement Sven Koopmans, he confirmed that [he] was holding consultations to convene the [Middle East] Quartet. This is very important," the diplomat said.

The ambassador also expressed hope that the four international mediators would contribute to "ending violations of Palestinians' rights."

19:03 GMT 15.05.2021
Israeli forces detain a group of Arab-Israelis in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod on May 13, 2021, during clashes between Israeli far-right extremists and Arab-Israelis. - Sputnik International, 1920
Situation in Israel's Lod as Tensions Mount Between Arab and Jewish Residents
18:57 GMT 15.05.2021

The Greek police began to detain participants of a demonstration in support of Palestinians, who gathered near the Israeli embassy in Athens, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Saturday.

The pro-Palestinian rally was organized by the left-wing parties which do not have seats in parliament and other organizations, as well as included the Palestinian diaspora of Athens.

Since the demonstration grew violent, with protesters throwing stones at law enforcement officers, the police have detained three people, as well as responded by using tear gas and water canons.

A similar Palestinian solidarity demonstration was held in the port city of Thessaloniki.

Protests against Israel's military actions have been taking place since Monday in a number of other European countries, including Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and France. In some cases, the police resorted to force and tear gas to calm down more radical activists and disperse those who staged unauthorized rallies.

18:31 GMT 15.05.2021
Masked Palestinian Hamas militants display their weapons during a parade in Gaza City. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920
Iranian Media Reveals How Some Hamas Rockets Have Been Defeating Israel’s Iron Dome
17:36 GMT 15.05.2021
A general view shows the Dome of the Rock (C) and the Al-Aqsa mosques (R) in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city on November 21, 2014 - Sputnik International, 1920
Palestinians Commemorate ‘Nakba Day’ in Israel
17:34 GMT 15.05.2021

Foreign airline companies continue flights to Israel despite the continuous exchange with rockets with Palestine's Hamas, a senior aviation source said on Saturday.

As the conflict escalated throughout this week, Israeli media reported that major European airlines, including Austrian Airlines, British Airways and Lufthansa, were suspending flights to Israel over safety concerns.

"Not at all," the source said when asked whether media reports that all airlines halted flights to Israel were true.

"The flights of several foreign airlines, including [Greece's] Bluebird, Georgian, Turkish and Bulgarian airlines, are scheduled for tomorrow," the source added.

17:22 GMT 15.05.2021

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an "important" phone call on Saturday from US President Joe Biden, Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said. 

17:17 GMT 15.05.2021

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu talked on the phone with US President Joe Biden on Saturday to discuss the ongoing tensions in the West Bank. 

Netanyahu thanked the US for their support and stressed that Israel "is going everything" to avoid casualties among civilians, saying that the IDF gave local residents enough time to evacuate the buildings that were later targeted by airstrikes. 

17:13 GMT 15.05.2021
A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on 15 May 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Israel Destroys Gaza Building That Housed AP and Al Jazeera Offices
17:06 GMT 15.05.2021
16:55 GMT 15.05.2021

The Israeli air force has carried out an airstrike targeting the house of Khalil al-Haya, the deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, the Israeli military said on Saturday.

"A fighter jet has recently attacked the home of Khalil al-Haya, the deputy chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, a building that served as a terrorist infrastructure," a statement read.

The video of the attack was shared by RT Russian on Telegram.

16:54 GMT 15.05.2021

Palestine's Hamas has the capacity to continue airstrikes against Israel's Tel Aviv for at least another half a year, a spokesman for the movement's military wing, Qassam Brigades, said on Saturday.

"We are ready to strike at Tel Aviv for six months," Abu Obeida said.

Tensions flared up on the border of Israel and Palestine's Gaza Strip this past Monday. Hundreds of rockets were exchanged by the sides since. On Saturday, the Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for "dozens" of rockets targeting specifically Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israel hitting a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

The latest toll of casualties stated eight civilians and one soldier killed in Israel, and 139 people killed and 1,000 more injured in the Palestinian Authority.

16:45 GMT 15.05.2021
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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take part in a rally in front Israeli Embassy in Ankara on May 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Turkish Demonstrators Call for Military Interference to Settle Gaza Border Conflict - Photos
15:11 GMT 15.05.2021

The chief executive of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, said that his organisation was "shocked and horrified" after the Israeli military destroyed a 12-storey building housing its offices and those of Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera.

This is what his statement reads:

"We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.

We are seeking information from the Israeli government and are engaged with the U.S. State Department to try to learn more.

This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.

The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today."

The IDF said that the building was used by Hamas for military intelligence purposes.

15:03 GMT 15.05.2021

Thousands of people have marched in support of Palestine in central London, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene on Saturday.

The march, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was scheduled to proceed to the Israeli embassy from the Marble Arch.

"The UK government must take immediate action and stop allowing Israel to act with impunity. It must demand an end to current proceedings to evict these families, and start holding Israel accountable for all its actions, which contribute to the crime of apartheid," the PSC said in a statement.

The demonstration passed through the central districts of London to its finish point in Kensington, near the Israeli embassy. However, a rally cannot be held on the protected Kensington Palace Gardens street (nicknamed "Billionaires' Boulevard" because of its affluent residents) where the diplomatic mission is located.

Due to the restrictions, protesters are currently gathered at the corner of Kensington Palace Gardens and High Street Kensington streets. They hold the flags of the Palestinian Authority and banners reading "Freedom to Palestine." The protest is peaceful, and the majority of people are wearing masks.

Marches in support of Palestine are happening across the United Kingdom, with many other cities joining the campaign.

14:44 GMT 15.05.2021

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) prevented an attempt to launch a drone filled with explosives from the Gaza Strip, the press service of the army said Saturday.

"The Israel Defense Forces prevented an attempt of Hamas to launch a drone filled with explosives in the direction of Israel from Gaza City. The drone was shot down, it fell on the launch pad, killing two operatives," the IDF press service said.

14:06 GMT 15.05.2021
French riot mobile gendarmes and police officers walk toward protesters during a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinians called over the ongoing conflict with Israel, in Paris on May 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Police Use Water Cannons to Disperse Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators in Paris – Photo, Video
13:58 GMT 15.05.2021
Israeli security forces walk past extinguished burnt vehicles in Holon near Tel Aviv, on May 11, 2021, after rockets were launched towards Israel from the Gaza Strip controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement - Sputnik International, 1920
Hamas Warns It Will Hit Israel ‘Shell for Shell, City for City, Rocket for Rocket’ as Conflict Rages
13:57 GMT 15.05.2021
 Rockets are launched from Gaza city, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, in response to an Israeli air strike on a 12-storey building in the city, towards the coastal city of Tel Aviv - Sputnik International, 1920
Watch Israelis Flee Beach as Missile Sirens Set Off in Tel Aviv
13:48 GMT 15.05.2021
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12:27 GMT 15.05.2021

A 15-storey building in Gaza City with offices of international media agencies collapsed after an Israeli airstrike, our source said on Saturday.

"The Israeli Air Force completely destroyed the al-Jala high-rise building in Gaza City, which housed a number of international media such as the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera," the source said.

Local sources said earlier in the day that Israel had warned the companies based in the building of an imminent attack within one hour, causing panic among employees and local residents, who fled to the streets.

12:00 GMT 15.05.2021
Pro-Palestine demonstrators hold placards and wave flags during a protest opposite the entrance to Downing Street in central London on May 15, 2018. - Sputnik International, 1920
Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Rally in London
11:28 GMT 15.05.2021

One person died in the city of Ramat Gan in central Israel after rocket launches from the Gaza Strip, the doctors of the Magen David Adom national emergency service said Saturday.

"After sirens sounded in Gush Dah [Tel Aviv metropolitan area], a 50-year-old man was found during checks in a grave condition and unconscious. After attempts at reanimation, doctors pronounced him dead," the emergency service said in a statement.

Civil defence sirens went off twice on Saturday in Tel Aviv and its suburbs as well as in the city of Ashdod and areas next to the Gaza Strip.

10:58 GMT 15.05.2021

The Israeli army struck dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip last night, including launch pads, underground rocket launchers, a Hamas tunnel, weapon depots and militant groups, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday.

"During the night, the IDF struck dozens of terror targets in the Gaza Strip. IDF fighter jets and aircraft struck a large number of rocket launch sites and underground rocket launchers, among them a multi-barrelled rocket launcher, from which rockets were fired at Jerusalem on the first day of Operation 'Guardian of the Walls,'" the statement read.

The Hamas tunnel was located underneath a hotel beach in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, which according to IDF, serves as an example of how the Palestinian movement is deploying military objects in civilian areas.

Apartments belonging to Hamas commanders were also targeted, as according to the IDF they "served as terror infrastructure and command and control centres for recent hostilities."

"A number of terrorist squads on their way to launch rockets into Israeli territory were also struck, along with a Hamas post which included an Anti-Tank missile launcher in Jabalia," the press release read.

Operational offices belonging to the head of the Hamas Security Forces in Rimal, which Israel believes also served as "terror infrastructure," were targeted, along with ammo warehouses belonging to "terror organisations in the Gaza Strip."

The situation on the border of the Palestinian enclave corroded on Monday evening. Since the start of the confrontation, over 2,200 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel, while the Israeli army targeted hundreds of strikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets across the border.

10:48 GMT 15.05.2021

A military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement, Qassam Brigades, said Saturday it had launched several dozen rockets at Tel Aviv.

According to the organization's statement, the launches were meant as a response to Israel striking a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, which reportedly led to 10 deaths.

According to a Sputnik correspondent, civil defence sirens are on in Tel Aviv.

The situation on the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip escalated on May 10. Since that moment, about 2,000 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip by Friday evening, with about 350 unsuccessful launches, the Israeli military said. According to the latest data, seven civilians and one soldier were killed in Israel. Israel carried out hundreds of strikes at the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian health authorities, 139 Palestinians were killed, 1,000 wounded in those strikes.

10:34 GMT 15.05.2021
10:19 GMT 15.05.2021

Egypt sent ten ambulance vehicles to the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip in order to transport injured Palestinians to Egyptian hospitals amid the ongoing escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo said on Saturday.

"The Palestinian Embassy in Egypt informs about the arrival of 10 Egyptian ambulances to transport the injured ... and treat them in Egyptian hospitals," the embassy said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The diplomatic mission also noted that Egypt has allocated three hospitals in the cities of Ismailia, Arish and Bir al-Abd to provide medical care to Palestinians.

According to the statement, Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Diab Allouh thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi and the country's health ministry for "opening the doors of Egyptian hospitals" for Palestinians.

The authorities of Egypt's North Sinai governorate denied reports circulated earlier by local media that provincial hospitals were ready to accept injured residents of the Gaza Strip. In addition, the border authorities said that the only checkpoint connecting Egypt and Gaza, Rafah, was completely closed from May 12 to May 16.

09:52 GMT 15.05.2021

International attempts to mediate a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip are failing because of the position of the Israeli authorities, Fawzi Barhum, a spokesman for Palestine's Hamas movement, said on Saturday.

According to Barhum, Egypt, Qatar and representatives of the United Nations are currently engaged in efforts to broker a truce.

"Hamas had intensive contacts with these parties, helping them in every possible way, telling them that the Israeli enemy, who launched the aggression, is responsible for this aggression ... however, all these efforts still stumble upon racist Israeli thinking," he said.

The spokesman noted that Hamas does not have direct contact with the United States and added that Russia is also making efforts alongside other parties to stop the aggression, "but all of them have not yet led to success in establishing a truce."

"We informed all the mediators that the Israeli occupier started the aggression and that it must stop the arbitrary actions against our people in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah, put an end to the settlers' incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, put an end to all forms of aggression against Gaza," Barhum stressed.

According to Barhum, an all-Palestinian rebellion in the West Bank is "just a matter of time."

"The burst [of people's dissatisfaction] seems to have begun because of the aggressive behaviour of the occupying forces everywhere in the West Bank. The situation in the West Bank is likely to lead to resistance in all its forms, including armed resistance," the Hamas representative said.

The Gaza Strip conflict escalated on 10 May after several days of clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police in East Jerusalem over an eviction order. Since then, the Israeli side reported over 2,000 rocket launches fired toward Israel from Gaza, resulting in the deaths of seven civilians and one military personnel. In the return shelling of Hamas targets in the enclave, 126 Palestinians were killed and 950 others were injured.

09:28 GMT 15.05.2021
An Israeli army tank fires towards the Gaza Strip (File) - Sputnik International, 1920
Hamas 'Ready' for Israel's Possible Ground Attack in Gaza Strip
07:39 GMT 15.05.2021
06:08 GMT 15.05.2021

More than 200 missiles were fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip over the past night, over half of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while about 30 missiles exploded in the Palestinian enclave, the press service of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported on Saturday.

"As of 7:00 [4:00 a.m. GMT], starting from 19:00 yesterday, about 200 launches from the Gaza Strip into Israel were detected. About 30 launched missiles fell in the Gaza Strip. The missile defense system intercepted more than 100 missiles," the military said.

05:46 GMT 15.05.2021
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An injured Palestinian demonstrator gestures as he is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces at a protest over tension in Jerusalem and Israel-Gaza escalation, near Hawara checkpoint near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Over 1,330 Palestinians Injured During Escalation of Tensions With Israel, Red Crescent Says
01:41 GMT 15.05.2021
01:32 GMT 15.05.2021
01:02 GMT 15.05.2021

United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Middle East and North Africa regional Chief of Communications Juliette Touma told Sputnik Saturday morning that more than 30 schools in Gaza have been damaged amid heavy shelling by the Israeli Defense Forces and that none are currently in operation.

"That will surely impact the education of children," Touma said. "And for now, there are no schools in Gaza because of the situation."

00:53 GMT 15.05.2021
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00:20 GMT 15.05.2021

GAZA (Sputnik) – Eight people have been killed by an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Shati refugee camp in the city of Gaza, Al-Jazeera broadcaster reported.

A witness told Sputnik that the strike had left 10 people killed and some 30 more injured.

00:04 GMT 15.05.2021
23:16 GMT 14.05.2021
22:34 GMT 14.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Thirty-four children in the Gaza Strip and two children in Israel have been killed in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Middle East and North Africa regional Chief of Communications Juliette Touma told Sputnik.

“According to reports that UNICEF received, 34 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the May 10. So, in the past four days alone, we have 34 Palestinian children who were killed, which is a huge number,” Touma said on Friday. “We also have two children in Israel.” 

22:29 GMT 14.05.2021
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22:10 GMT 14.05.2021
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system aims to intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Hamas Military Wing Says Opened Rocket Fire at Israeli Hatzerim Airbase
21:40 GMT 14.05.2021
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19:56 GMT 14.05.2021
19:52 GMT 14.05.2021

CAIRO (Sputnik) - The death toll from Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip rose to 126, the enclave's health ministry said.

"As a result of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, 126 people have died, including 31 children and 20 women. Nine hundred and fifty people have received various injuries," the ministry said in a statement.

19:48 GMT 14.05.2021
18:59 GMT 14.05.2021
18:35 GMT 14.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anna Ivanova - The unceasing Israel-Gaza Strip hostilities have resulted in violent street clashes between Palestinian and Israeli youth, many of whom are barely teenagers, residents of Israeli cities said.

"It is mainly young people who are participating in all these fights. I mean 13-14-year-old Arab children and 16-17-year-old far-right Israeli radicals ... There were very severe fights in the cities of Bat Yam, Jaffa, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem," Maxim, a businessman from the city of Holon said, adding that the unrest had spread through central Israel, too.

At the same time, there are no military patrols deployed to the city.

"All forces are mostly concentrated on trying to calm the population, including by imposing curfews in mixed cities, namely in Lod. The police and border troops are trying to calm both, [Arabs and Israelis]," Maxim noted.

Meanwhile, Haifa resident Denis Karev also confirmed to Sputnik that many young people were involved in the clashes.

"Everything that is happening right now is not the situation that could last for three or four days and end more or less peacefully. This time everything is different," Karev suggested.

He noted that the situation in Haifa was not yet as tense as in the centre or in the south of Israel, but people were now more cautious of leaving their houses.

18:25 GMT 14.05.2021

More than 2,000 rockets were fired by Palestinian groups from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory by the evening of Friday since the beginning of the escalation of the conflict, almost 1,000 of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, the Israeli army said on Friday.

"As of 19.00 from the start of Operation Guardian of the Walls, more than 2,000 missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, of which about 350 ... fell in the Gaza Strip. The Iron Dome missile defence system intercepted about 1,000 missiles," the statement says.

As of Friday morning, the Israeli army reported 1,800 rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave.

18:24 GMT 14.05.2021

The Provincial Police Directorate in Vienna, Austria, on Friday banned entry to a district where the Israeli Embassy is situated due to safety concerns as violence on the border between Israel and Gaza Strip continues.

According to a police directive, the area of the Israeli Embassy in Vienna poses a potential threat to the life and health of people, as well as to property and the environment due to the renewed Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The Vienna State Police Department, as a security agency, imposes a ban on entering and staying in a dangerous area, and failure to comply with this requirement is an administrative offense," the statement read, adding that the measure is effective indefinitely starting Friday.

According to the police, in case of non-compliance with the order, the violator will face a fine.

The conflict, which started earlier this week following the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police from May 7-10 in two locations of East Jerusalem at once - near the Temple Mount and in the Sheikh Jarrah quarter - led to the worst regional hostilities in recent years. Palestinian militants have launched some 1,750 rockets toward Israel. In response, Israel has fired retaliatory strikes against Gaza.

18:09 GMT 14.05.2021
A banner depicting Hamas' supreme leader Ismail Haniyeh is on display as Muslims gather for Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, Thursday, May 13, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Situation in Jerusalem's Old City Amid Hostilities Between Israelis and Palestinians
17:29 GMT 14.05.2021
17:28 GMT 14.05.2021

The Israeli Air Force attacked a tunnel in the south of the Gaza Strip, which hosted Hamas servers and military equipment, the Israeli army said.

"The IDF fighters have just struck a tunnel in the south of the Gaza Strip, owned by Hamas, which contained servers and military equipment," the military said in a statement.

The tunnel was located in close proximity to a kindergarten and a mosque, the military said, "which once again proves that Hamas is deliberately placing its military facilities in the center of densely populated civilian areas." The army says it is taking every precaution it can to avoid harming civilians during hostilities.

Also, the Israeli Air Force attacked a multi-storey building in the north of the Gaza Strip, which housed one of the branches of Hamas Bank, the army's press service said.

"Not so long ago, IDF fighters struck a multi-storey building in the north of the Gaza Strip, which housed a branch of Hamas Bank. The strike caused significant damage to the Hamas financial network, as this branch was used to manage the day-to-day cash flows of Hamas and its military wing," the statement says.

17:10 GMT 14.05.2021

Some 10,000 Palestinians have already fled their homes in the Gaza Strip as the result of the ongoing fighting, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Jerusalem Lynn Hastings said in a statement on Friday.

“The United Nations estimates that some 10,000 Palestinians have had to leave their homes in Gaza due to the ongoing hostilities,” Hastings said. "They are sheltering in schools, mosques and other places during a global COVID-19 pandemic with limited access to water, food, hygiene, and health services.”

16:57 GMT 14.05.2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to all parties in the ongoing military escalation in the Gaza Strip to immediately end the ongoing hostilities, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Friday.

“The Secretary-General appeals to all parties to immediately cease the fighting in Gaza and Israel,” Dujarric said. “The ongoing military escalation has caused great suffering and destruction. It has claimed scores of civilian lives, including, tragically, many children.”

16:55 GMT 14.05.2021

 Israel is checking information on a rocket launch from Lebanon toward its territory, and warns that no such attacks would go unanswered, Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi said.

On Thursday, a Lebanese source said that BM-21 Grad rockets were fired from the vicinity of the Lebanese settlement of al-Qalilah toward Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the launch of three rockets from southern Lebanon.

"It is not clear what happened. No need to hurry. It is necessary to check what occurred. There are groups that do not obey anyone and do what they want. Therefore, we are checking what happened. Fortunately, the strikes did not lead to any losses and destruction ... However, we warn that Israel will not hesitate to respond if such attacks take place," the ambassador said.

The diplomat noted that there have been no rocket launches from Lebanon toward Israel for over 15 years, because "they know that there will be a serious response."

The clashes in East Jerusalem led to the worst violence between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in recent years. Palestinian militants have launched over 1,750 rockets toward Israel. In response, Israel has fired retaliatory strikes against Gaza. On Thursday, the IDF concentrated its units near the border with the enclave, having been ordered to be ready to enter Gaza. However, it is still unknown whether this is to happen or not.

16:48 GMT 14.05.2021

Israeli fighter jets have attacked the Hamas movement's weapons manufacturing site in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Friday.

"Fighter jets have recently attacked a weapons production site belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the northern Gaza Strip," IDF said.

The confrontation on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip escalated earlier this week. About 1,800 rockets have since been fired from the Palestinian enclave toward Israel, which responded with airstrikes. Over 130 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in the conflict escalation.

15:46 GMT 14.05.2021

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday expressed extreme concern over the deadly developments in the Middle East, calling on Israel and Palestine to cease hostilities.

"Very concerned by the situation in Israel and Gaza. I condemn indiscriminate attacks by Hamas on Israel. Civilians on all sides must be protected. Violence must end now," von der Leyen tweeted.


The confrontation on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip escalated earlier this week. About 1,750 rockets have since been fired from the Palestinian enclave toward Israel, which responded with airstrikes. Over 130 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in the conflict escalation.

The conflict has garnered international attention, with regional and international mediators such as Egypt, Qatar, the United States, Russia and others having proposed to step in to negotiate a truce.

On Thursday, special representatives of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators — Russia, the United States, the EU and UN — discussed the possibility of holding a ministerial meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict settlement.

15:45 GMT 14.05.2021
15:05 GMT 14.05.2021

The Gaza Strip's death toll from Israeli airstrikes climbed by 13 on Friday to 122, the enclave's health ministry spokesman said.

"Today, the bodies of 13 Palestinians have been delivered to hospitals in the enclave, bringing the total death toll from Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to 122, including 31 children and 20 women. Another 900 were injured," Ashraf Qidra said in a statement.

The situation on the border between Israel and Palestine's Gaza Strip escalated on Monday evening. Since then, around 1,750 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Israel has responded by launching multiple strikes against Hamas.

14:43 GMT 14.05.2021

Israel is not planning to request additional military assistance from the United States amid the current conflict with the Hamas movement, Alexander Ben Zvi, Israel's ambassador to Russia, said.

"No, not at this stage. We do have an agreement with the United States on military assistance. When there was a large-scale war in 1973, we did not have enough ammunition, and we turned to the United States. But since then, our industry has been doing well," the diplomat said.

14:27 GMT 14.05.2021
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Alexander Ben Zvi, Israel's ambassador to Russia, believes there will not be a full-scale war between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"No, no, no. The last full-scale war was in 1973, or in 1982 with Lebanon," the diplomat said.

According to Ben Zvi, 1,600 rockets have been launched toward Israel during the current conflict, and not a single country would "allow itself to leave it without reaction."

"Accordingly, we react and retaliate at the points from which the missiles were fired. Unfortunately, Hamas keeps missiles in Gaza in densely populated areas - near schools, mosques, hospitals, residential buildings. They must understand that if they shoot from there, then there will be a retaliatory strike. Therefore, now they use their inhabitants as "human shields", this is the most dangerous thing. At the same time, the Palestinians are not shooting at any specific targets, for example, military targets, but at cities. This alone is a war crime, they are shelling civilian objects," the ambassador said.

14:03 GMT 14.05.2021
14:00 GMT 14.05.2021

Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip is not on agenda yet but nothing can be ruled out if the situation escalates, Alexander Ben Zvi, Israel's ambassador to Russia, said.

"So far this [a ground operation]is not foreseen and not planned, but only if there is no escalation. They ask me: can it [the conflict] be worse? Yes, of course, it can be worse. But I hope that this will not happen. At the same time, if it gets worse, nothing can be excluded," the diplomat said.

13:49 GMT 14.05.2021
13:28 GMT 14.05.2021

German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly condemns the ongoing rocket attacks against Israel, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Friday.

"Chancellor decidedly condemns the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel, these are terrorist attacks ... Nothing justifies these acts of terrorism. The rocket attacks have to be ceased immediately, the German government supports Israel's right to self-defence," Seibert said.

The official also addressed anti-Israel protests that take place in the country.

"Here in Germany, people are taking to the streets to protest against Israel's policies. They can do it peacefully, this is natural in our democracy. However, those who use these protests to espouse antisemitism are abusing the right of assembly. Our democracy will not stand for antisemitic rallies," Seibert added.

The recent civil unrest in Jerusalem triggered a new wave of hostilities at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian militants conducting a constant barrage targeting Israeli settlements. Six civilians and one Israeli serviceman are said to have been killed so far. In response, Israel launched strikes against Gaza, killing a number of militants, including some high-ranking field commanders. According to the Palestinian health authorities, the Israeli attacks killed 109 people.

Protests against Israel have been taking place in Germany since Monday. In some cases, the police were forced to use special equipment against more radical activists. Some of the activists attacked or tried to attack synagogues in Bonn, Munster and Gelsenkirchen.

13:17 GMT 14.05.2021

Lufthansa decided to temporarily suspend flights to Israel until 17 May, though the air traffic will presumably be resumed on 18 May, the airline said on Friday.

"In the light of the current events, Lufthansa suspends flights to Israel until May 17, flights are expected to resume on May 18," a spokesperson said.

According to the carrier, Lufthansa was supposed to resume air traffic from Saturday, 15 May but "due to the recent developments" in the Middle East, the date was postponed. The representative also stressed that the final decision on the resumption of flights will be made based on the assessment of the situation as of Monday, 17 May.

13:15 GMT 14.05.2021
13:11 GMT 14.05.2021
Israeli soldiers fire a 155mm self-propelled howitzer towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near the southern Israeli city of Sderot on May 12, 2021. - Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz vowed more attacks on Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in Gaza to bring total, long-term quiet before considering a ceasefire. - Sputnik International, 1920
Israeli Military Claims at Least 20 Senior Hamas Officials Killed, Reports Suggest
13:09 GMT 14.05.2021
Palestinians gather around the ruins of buildings which were destroyed in Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in the northern Gaza Strip May 13, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
Gaza Strip as Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Escalate
12:59 GMT 14.05.2021

"Recently, IDF tanks fired at a number of rioters, who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory. The suspects sabotaged the fence, set fire to the area and then moved back to Lebanon", the IDF said on Twitter. 

12:18 GMT 14.05.2021

According to media reports in the Palestinian Authority, a second Palestinian has been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank while 100 others were injured. 

12:14 GMT 14.05.2021
12:08 GMT 14.05.2021
11:22 GMT 14.05.2021

Turkey is beginning to support Palestinians in Jerusalem and other cities as firmly as it supported Azerbaijan when it freed its occupied territories in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

"We are angry at the oppression of the ‘terrorist state’ of Israel. Israel has crossed all borders. As we strongly supported the struggle of Azerbaijan to liberate its lands from occupation, today with the same feeling we begin to act against oppression in the Palestinian cities and Jerusalem. With the same determination with which we defended our Syrian border," Erdogan said in a televised address.

The Turkish president added that he discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip with 19 foreign leaders.

"Stopping Israel is a duty of honour for humanity. We call on the international community to act. Involvement of the UN is a prerequisite. What needs to be done must be done immediately, otherwise, dire consequences are inevitable," Erdogan added.

11:21 GMT 14.05.2021

Jeremy Issacharoff, Israeli Ambassador to Germany, on Friday called on Berlin to boost security efforts to guarantee the safety of the Jewish community in Germany, as the country is swept by anti-Israel demonstrations.

"I call on the German authorities to do everything possible to ensure the safety of our community here," the ambassador said in a live broadcast on ARD television.

After a sharp escalation of the situation on the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, mass anti-Israeli demonstrations have been taking place in Germany. Detentions have been made and police were forced to step up security and use force against the most radical protesters, who are demanding that Israel immediately stop strikes on the Gaza Strip.

According to Die Welt, about 1,500 people with Palestinian and Turkish flags took to the streets of Bremen city on Thursday. In Hanover, law security officers dispersed a rally of about 550 people over violations of sanitary requirements. There were also attempts to burn Israeli flags, for which two people were detained. In the city of Gelsenkirchen, about 200 protesters gathered outside a synagogue chanting chauvinist slogans, according to the Bild tabloid. The police were able to block the protesters' path to the synagogue using batons.

In Hanover, about 550 people took to the streets, the police stopped the action because of mass violations of health guidelines. The protests saw attempts to burn Israeli flags, as well as two people taken into custody and facing fines for desecrating foreign state symbols.

According to the BILD tabloid, a similar rally was held in the city of Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday evening, when some 200 demonstrators with flags of Palestine, Turkey, and Algeria gathered outside a synagogue chanting anti-Semitic slogans. The security forces blocked the way of the protesters to the synagogue building and used rubber batons against them.

The police in Munster city said that the security of the local synagogue had to be boosted after Wednesday's riots. A group of radicals burned the flag of Israel near the synagogue. Thirteen people were detained.

In Bonn, the security of Jewish religious sites was beefed up after a group of young people set the synagogue on fire. Three people were detained, one more suspect is on the run.

Meanwhile, 16 police officers were injured at a protest rally by pro-Palestinian activists in the German capital.

11:20 GMT 14.05.2021

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday called on the world to take urgent measures to immediately stop Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip.

"It was heard with concern that Israel started to launch tank and artillery fires into the Gaza Strip. We call on the international community to take measures to immediately stop the attacks which cause the rise of loss of innocent lives," the ministry stated.

The ministry also accused Israel of using disproportionate force and expressed Turkey's full support for Palestinians.

The situation on the border between Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip escalated on Monday evening. Since the start of the escalation, around 1,750 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Israel has responded by launching multiple strikes against Gaza, some of them targeting militants' facilities.

10:56 GMT 14.05.2021
Demonstrators march with Turkish and Palestinian flags during a protest against Israel in Ankara, Turkey late May 10, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
People March in Ankara in Support of Palestinians Amid Escalation of Gaza Strip Conflict
10:51 GMT 14.05.2021

The office of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Friday raised the Israeli flag in a show of solidarity amid the conflict at the Gaza border.

Kurz took to Twitter to explain the decision.

The recent civil unrest in Jerusalem triggered a new wave of hostilities at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, with Palestinian militants launching over 1,750 rockets toward Israel. In response, Israel launched strikes against Gaza, targeting militants' facilities.

10:47 GMT 14.05.2021

Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on all governments and  international  organizations to fulfill their obligations in order to stop Israel's "continuing crimes and aggressions" against Palestinians, Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Friday.

The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Friday on the 73 anniversary of the 1948 Palestinian exodus. In the statement, Israel was described as the Zionist regime committing "shameless crimes" against Palestinians. According to the statement, ''the occupying Zionist regime" has been supported by US and other world powers since the Palestinians were forced out of their motherland on May 14, 1948. 

The statement also argued that the only solution of the Palestinian problem is to hold a referendum with the aim of exercising the right to self-determination and participation of all the main inhabitants of Palestine, including Muslims, Christians and Jews.

Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1947-1949 Palestine war which is the first war of the Israeli-Palestinian and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The British Empire gave up its mandate of Palestine during this war. The events of 1948 are commemorated by Palestinians on 15 May which is a date known by Palestinians as Nakba Day. On the other hand, this day is known and considered by Israel as the War of Independence.

10:46 GMT 14.05.2021

The Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia) will convene later on Friday amid escalating regional tensions; Germany expects Russia to make a positive contribution to settling the conflict in the Gaza Strip, the German Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Christopher Burger, said.

"All those who can have a positive influence must contribute now. As it was said, the Middle East Quartet will convene today ... Russia is a participant of the format," Burger told reporters, asked about Berlin's expectations from Moscow regarding the crisis settlement.

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