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This picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip being intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system, on May 16, 2021. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Over 50 Israeli Jets Have Hit 40 Underground Hamas Targets in Gaza, IDF Says

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict rekindled earlier this month, starting with clashes between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem after reports emerged that Muslim believers were denied access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The situation deteriorated even further when an Israeli court ruled to evict several Arab families.

Over the past several days, both sides have attacked each other, with Hamas firing over 3,300 rockets towards Israel since the start of the hostilities. The IDF has launched hundreds of rockets targeting militants' facilities in Gaza.

So far, the escalation has claimed hundreds of lives, injuring thousands more.

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06:49 GMT 20.05.2021
03:43 GMT 20.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Thursday that it had "neutralized" what it describes as the terror tunnel network of the Hamas Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip.

02:20 GMT 20.05.2021
00:47 GMT 20.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Gaza Strip-based Hamas Islamist movement, said that it had fired rockets at two Israeli air bases.

According to the organization, the strikes hit the Hatzerim and Tel Nof bases.

21:55 GMT 19.05.2021
20:19 GMT 19.05.2021
20:05 GMT 19.05.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United States will not support actions that undermine the diplomatic efforts it leads to de-escalate the conflict between Israel and Hamas, a spokesperson for the US mission at the United Nations told Sputnik on Wednesday when asked about the France-led draft resolution on Gaza.

On Tuesday, France, together with Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan prepared a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and humanitarian access.

“We’ve been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate,” the spokesperson said when asked whether the United Nations will support the resolution.

If blocked, the draft resolution would become a fourth failed attempt of the UN Security Council to speak in one voice against the hostilities in the Middle East.

19:53 GMT 19.05.2021

Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook said on Wednesday that he expects that "a ceasefire will happen within a day or two".

"I think that the ongoing efforts regarding the ceasefire will succeed," he said during an interview with Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV. "I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement."

19:42 GMT 19.05.2021
19:25 GMT 19.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Israel has refused access to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom checkpoint to UN humanitarian assistance and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the agency's spokesman, Adnan Abu Hasna, told Sputnik.

"The Israeli authorities have refused the delivery of humanitarian aid and not given consent yet to the visit of the UNRWA Commissioner-General to the Gaza Strip," Abu Hasna said.

The spokesman added that if humanitarian aid is not urgently delivered to the people of Gaza, "unprecedented catastrophic consequences" will ensue.

Some 48,000 Palestinians were displaced as a result of armed hostilities between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and while the UNRWA is striving to help them, the agency falls short of an additional $150 million in funding, Abu Hasna said.

Israel has also recently blocked the Kerem Shalom checkpoint for a supply of fuel for a power plant in Gaza, which is struggling with an acute shortage of electricity.

18:43 GMT 19.05.2021

GAZA (Sputnik) - The evacuation of Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip is being worked out, the Russian diplomatic mission in Palestine told Sputnik.

"Since the beginning of the Israeli military operation, the Russian mission to the Palestinian National Authority has been in constant contact with compatriots and CIS citizens living in the Gaza Strip and who have asked us to assist in their departure from the sector. This issue is being worked out," the diplomatic mission said.

18:25 GMT 19.05.2021
17:36 GMT 19.05.2021
17:11 GMT 19.05.2021
16:44 GMT 19.05.2021
15:50 GMT 19.05.2021
14:49 GMT 19.05.2021

BERLIN (Sputnik) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will fly to Israel and Palestine on Thursday to hold meetings with Israeli foreign and defense ministers, as well as with the Palestinian prime minister, the German Foreign Ministry said.

"Foreign Minister Maas will travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories tomorrow. He will meet the Israeli Foreign and Defence Ministers, among others. Talks with the Israeli President are also scheduled. In Ramallah he will meet the Palestinian Prime Minister. The political talks will focus on the current escalation in the Middle East and the international efforts to end the violence. The Foreign Minister will return to Germany the same day," the statement says.

13:39 GMT 19.05.2021
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashdod, Israel May 17, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
Israeli Artillery Strikes Targets in Lebanon in Response to Four Rocket Launches
13:05 GMT 19.05.2021
13:05 GMT 19.05.2021
Aerial View of Tehran - Sputnik International, 1920
Pro-Palestinian Rally in Tehran
11:15 GMT 19.05.2021
10:53 GMT 19.05.2021
10:26 GMT 19.05.2021
An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
'US Influence Was Important' in Averting Israeli Ground Invasion of Gaza, Report Says
09:03 GMT 19.05.2021
08:36 GMT 19.05.2021

"Recently, IDF aircraft attacked a Hamas terrorist rocket launch site in Gaza City", a tweet from the military says.

07:53 GMT 19.05.2021
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid walks towards the podium before delivering a speech following the announcement of exit polls in Israel's general election at his party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel March 24, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920
Lapid's Chances of Forming a Cabinet Dwindle as Israeli Operation in Gaza Continues
06:20 GMT 19.05.2021
06:11 GMT 19.05.2021

The Palestinian Authority has warned for years of a possible outbreak of religious war due to "Israel's violations of holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as extremist actions by Jewish settlers", Mahmoud Al-Habbash, the Palestinian leader's religious and Islamic affairs adviser said.

"If the status quo is preserved as it is now and if Israel and its settlers do not stop provoking the religious feelings of the Palestinians and Muslims in general, then the world will face a religious war, the fire of which will go beyond Palestine, and the entire world will pay for it", the official noted

He added that the reaction of the Arab and Muslim world, as well as other countries, to the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and other Palestinian territories is not sufficient.

"The reaction of Arab, Muslim and other countries across the world is not sufficient so far, it is much smaller than it should be, but we are aware of the reality, in which the world lives", Al-Habbash said.

According to the presidential adviser, the Palestinian authorities will continue efforts to garner international support, both official and public, in order to "protect Palestine and the legitimate rights of its people".

"Within the context, we work in all directions, especially since the focus of the current problem is Jerusalem and its shrines, which concern the entire Islamic world", he added.

05:47 GMT 19.05.2021
An Israeli soldier works at an artillery unit near the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, on the Israeli side May 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920
France Reportedly Preparing UN Security Council Resolution to Call for Israel-Hamas Ceasefire
05:25 GMT 19.05.2021

"Fighter jets and aircraft continued operations in the Khan Yunis and Rafah areas in the southern Gaza Strip tonight. As part of the 25-minute attack, about 40 underground targets of the Hamas terror organisation were targeted. The attack was carried out by 52 aircraft using about 120 high-precision munitions", a tweet from the IDF says.

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