Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
(May 14, 2021) — Early Saturday morning, Israeli airstrikes targeted a residential building in the al-Shati refugee camp. According to the latest reports, the bombing killed at least eight people; two women and six children.
The airstrike wounded at least 20 other people, and the death toll could rise as rescue teams are searching the rubble of the three-story house, where several families lived.
A local resident said the Israelis dropped three bombs on the house without warning, giving the residents no chance to leave. “I saw the bodies of four people, including children, being rushed to the hospital,” said Said Alghoul, according to The Associated Press. “I could not endure and ran back to my home.”
Saturday marks the sixth day of airstrikes in Gaza. The Israelis rejected a ceasefire proposal from Hamas on Wednesday night and seem to have no interest in de-escalating. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that the campaign “is not over yet.”
As of early Saturday in Gaza, 137 Palestinians, including 36 children, have been killed, and 920 have been wounded since Israel started bombing the besieged enclave on Monday. The UN said at least 10,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes due to the onslaught.
Desperate Gazans Flee Israeli Bombardment in Cars and on Carts
Mohammad Salem and Nidal al-Mughrabi / Reuters
Palestinians gather at the site of destroyed houses in the aftermath of Israeli air and artillery strikes as cross-border violence between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants continues, in the northern Gaza Strip May 14, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
BEIT LAHIYA/GAZA CITY, Gaza (May 14, 2021) -After days of heavy Israeli airstrikes, and then intensifying artillery fire, some terrified residents of north Gaza are not waiting to see if there is a repeat of 2014, when a ground assault followed.
Under heavy shelling on Thursday night, Rewaa Marouf grabbed her children and fled the town of Beit Lahiya, close to Gaza’s northern border with Israel.
She ended up in a UN-run school in Jabalia refugee camp, joining dozens of others crammed inside, while on the roads outside people were heading further south in cars, on donkey carts or by foot.
“We were sitting with the children at home when suddenly the artillery began bombing in all directions,” Marouf said, speaking in a classroom at the school in Jabalia.
“The house next to ours was bombed, shrapnel hit our house. We have no idea so far whether the house we left was also bombed,” she added, describing her race for shelter.
The UN refugee agency said hundreds of people had fled to UN-run schools in Gaza for shelter on Thursday, particularly in the north, and it was taking steps to make sure the sites were organised to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Those heading south – some dragging belonging in handcarts – trudged past buildings pulverised by the conflict in Gaza, a coastal enclave that is home to 2 million people and largely shut off from the outside world in a blockade led by Israel.
Israel says it is trying to stop weapons entering.
It has launched two ground assaults on Gaza in just over a decade, in 2009 and 2014, part of a long-running standoff with Hamas, the Islamist group that has run Gaza since 2007 and whose militants have been firing rockets into Israel.
The Israeli military said Friday that strikes were launched against Hamas and other militant targets in Gaza and it would continue to use force “if needed” to try to stop persistent rocket attacks on Israeli towns that have sent communities across central and southern Israel running for cover.
Israel, the United States and European nations deem Hamas a terrorist group. Hamas says it has a right to protest against the occupation of Palestinian land and seeks an independent nation.
Neither side has shown any sign of easing up in the conflict that erupted on Monday, and Israeli forces have massed on the border. For some residents of Gaza, particularly those in the north, that was a signal to move.
In Israel, sirens sound across cities to warn of incoming Palestinian rockets, many intercepted by Israeli missile defences.
In Gaza’s towns and refugee camps, social media lights up and residents of Beit Lahiya go outside and chant “Allahu Akbar”, or God is Greatest, before gathering up neighbours to move out.
“We called one another by names and we screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’, we made a big group of people and we walked away,” said Nawal Abu Halima, 28, a mother of four, describing her flight from Beit Lahiya late Thursday as blasts lit up the night sky.
Adding to the panic, a few minutes into Friday morning the Israeli army set a message saying “ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip”, a statement it later clarified to mean troops had not entered the enclave but were firing into it.
Later on Friday, an Israel Defence Force spokesman acknowledged the message might have been misleading, saying “these things can sometimes happen in the midst of a complex operation.”
Whether or not a land assault does come, the intensifying exchanges of fire and Israeli army statements have prompted many Gazans to share their anxieties on Facebook and other social media.
“The situation here is terrifying, terrifying,” wrote Mona Helles, whose Facebook page said she lived in Shejaia suburb east of Gaza City.
Another Gaza resident, Mohamed Elbardawil, wrote: “What is happening is an unprecedented madness.”
Reporting by Mohammad Salem in Beit Lahiya and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza City; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem
Thousands Flee as Deadly Israeli Air Strikes Pound Gaza
The UN says 10,000 Palestinians have been forced out of their homes in the Gaza Strip, as the death toll from Israeli strikes on the enclave reaches 137.
(May 14, 2021) — Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip with air raids and artillery shells on Saturday, as it stepped up the deployment of troops and tanks near the besieged Palestinian enclave.
As of early Saturday, at least 137 Palestinians, including 36 children, have been killed and 920 have been wounded since hostilities flared up on Monday.
The death toll is expected to rise, as another series of Israeli air assaults hit the Shati refugee camp in Gaza killing at least two women, including six children, while burying several others in the rubble. Another air raid also reportedly hit a house in Khan Yunis.
Thousands of Palestinian families have taken shelter in United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire. The UN has said it estimates approximately 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza amid the Israeli offensive.
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 Ashdod early on Saturday. At least nine people in Israel 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 occupied West Bank, as well as in Israel. At least 11 Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank.
Here are the latest updates:
22 mins ago (03:43 GMT)
Thousands Gather in Nablus to Denounce Israeli Occupation
Thousands of Palestinians marched in the West Bank early on Saturday to denounce the continued Israeli occupation and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza. The protesters were heading home after dawn prayers when they joined the march in the city of Nablus, according to a video posted on social media by Safa Press agency.
31 mins ago (03:33 GMT)
Israeli Air Strike Hits Home in Shujayea
Safa Press agency is reporting in the last half hour that an Israeli air strike has hit and detroyed a house in the Shujayea neighbourhood of Gaza City. There were no immediate reports on casualties. The report said that the home of the Hassouna family located in eastern Gaza City was destroyed during the strike early on Saturday. Shujayea was the site of a heavy Israeli bombardment in 2014 that killed several civilians. The incident was described as a “massacre”.
43 mins ago (03:21 GMT)
Drones Target Tower in Gaza City’s South
Israeli drones launched early on Saturday hit a structure in the southern part of Gaza City, the New Press site reported. The report said that four missiles hit the al-Rawda Tower 2 located at Tal al-Hawa located south of Gaza City.
2 hours ago (02:12 GMT)
Hamas Denounces Israeli ‘Massacre’ at al-Shati Refugee Camp
The Palestinian group Hamas denounced the “massacre” at the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, following an Israeli air strike early on Saturday that left at least eight people dead and 15 others injured. In a statement early on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack “is a full-fledged war crime” committed by Israel against Palestinians. “This crime reflects the inability of the occupation to confront the resistance in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” Qassem said. Earlier, Hamas fired a volley of rockets into Israeli territories in retaliation of the latest air strikes.
2 hours ago (01:39 GMT)
Infant Survives Israeli Air Strike at Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza
An infant was among the survivors being treated for their injuries following the Israeli air strike early on Saturday at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza, according to Safa Press agency. Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, who is reporting from Gaza, said at least 15 people were injured in the attack, although he did not give details on the extent of their injuries. Kahlout earlier said that eight people were killed in the strike, including two women and six children. At least nine other people are still believed to be trapped in the three-story building that collapsed following the Israeli strike.
3 hours ago (01:18 GMT)
Israeli Strike Hits Another Home in Khan Yunis
Another Israeli air strike early on Saturday hit a home in Khan Yunis neighbourhood of Gaza, according to Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout, who is reporting from the Palestinian territory. There were no immediate reports on casualties in the latest strike which hit Gaza in the last half hour. Thousands of Palestinians have been fleeing their homes in the last few days following intense air strikes by Israel. Some Gaza civilians said that there homes were targeted by Israel without any warning, resulting in the deaths of family members, many of them women and children.
3 hours ago (01:05 GMT)
US Analyst: Prospect of Peace under Netanyahu ‘Not Strong’
Richard Goodstein, a Democratic analyst and former advisor to former US President Bill Clinton, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that the prospects of peace between Israelis and Palestinians under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s watch “are not strong”. Goodstein, a foreign policy advisor to Clinton, said that if Netanyahu loses his post, given his legal and political troubles, US President Joseph Biden may be in a better position to negotiate a more lasting peace in the region. He also said that Biden inherited a delicate position from Trump, and the new US president is responding to the current crisis “in a way that is nuanced”, while adding that the launching of rockets from Gaza “needs to come to an end”.
4 hours ago (00:27 GMT)
Rockets from Gaza Hits Building in Israel’s Ashdod
Rockets fired from Gaza early on Saturday hit a building in Israel’s Ashdod, according to the Jerusalem Post, adding that no one was reported injured in the incident, although a multi-story building sustained some damage. Hamas earlier said that the latest barrage of rockets were in retaliation to the deadly Israeli air raid that killed several people, including children, at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza. Israel’s public broadcaster, Kann, also reported that rockets have also been fired in Ashkelon and Shephelah in Israel.
4 hours ago (23:40 GMT)
Several Dead, Others Believed Trapped after Israeli Bombing in Western Gaza
At least seven Palestinians, including six children, are reported killed following another Israeli air assault on a home in the Shati refugee camp west of Gaza. About 20 people are also believed to be trapped, or buried under the rubble, after Israel launched five missile strikes early on Saturday. Safa Press agency posted on social media an image showing a pile of concrete debris as several men tried to dig through the rubble of the destroyed structure.
5 hours ago (23:06 GMT)
Gaza Correspondent Taking Shelter
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reporting from Gaza said in the last half hour, Israel has been “bombarding warning rockets” towards two homes “just a few steps from our office”.
“We are expecting anytime these two houses could be bombarded … causing a huge explosions and blasts in the area,” he added. “We were advised and all my colleagues are taking shelter in the office.”