Palestinian media reports dozens killed in Israel airstrikes

Palestinian news sources say Many people were killed in Israeli bombings

NEW DEVELOPMENTS:

  • WAFA says that many people are trapped under the rubble.
  • Reuters, December 16, 2016: CAIRO/GAZA Palestinian media said that Israel killed dozens of people in airstrikes in Gaza on Saturday. This happened after the US asked Israel to end its military campaign and focus on going after Hamas leaders.
  • At least 14 people were killed when two homes on Old Gaza Street in Jabalia were hit by bombs. Dozens more were killed when another home in Jabalia was also hit by bombs.
  • A Palestinian news service said that a lot of civilians were trapped under the rubble.
  • The Israeli military said that its planes hit a building in Jabalia because its troops were being attacked and there were Hamas fighters on the roof. It was unknown if the building was one of those that WAFA reported hit.
  • The military said that its troops killed terrorists who were hiding in two schools in Gaza City. They also said that they searched apartments in Khan Younis that were full of weapons and found what they called Hamas’s underground infrastructure.
  • Reuters could not directly verify the reports.
  • With intense ground fighting across the narrow Gaza Strip and aid groups warning of a humanitarian catastrophe, the United States has warned that Israel risks losing international support because of “indiscriminate” air strikes killing Palestinian civilians.
  • President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, visiting Israel on Thursday and Friday, carried a message to Israel to scale down the broad military campaign and transition to more closely targeted operations against Hamas leaders, U.S. officials said.
  • During Sullivan’s visit, Israeli officials openly emphasised that they would continue the war until they achieve their aim of eradicating Hamas, which may take months.
  • Washington hinted on Friday at disagreement with Israel over how quickly to scale down the war, with Sullivan saying the timing was the subject of “intensive discussion” between the allies.
  • In a surprise cross-border attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Hamas militants rampaged through Israeli towns killing 1,200 people and capturing 240 prisoners. Israel’s counterattack has killed close to 19,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities, with thousands more believed buried under rubble.
  • Israel’s military said on Friday it killed three prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza after wrongly identifying them as a threat. The military expressed condolences to the families of the hostages killed during combat, saying there would be “full transparency” in an investigation into the event.
  • The military said it had found the bodies of three other hostages killed by Hamas. Israel says it thinks around 20 of more than 130 hostages still held in densely populated coastal strip are dead.
  • Combat has increased in the past two weeks since a week-long truce collapsed.
  • Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said Israel was winning the war and degrading Hamas, citing a decrease in the number of rockets fired into Israel.
  • But hours later and for the first time in weeks, there were sirens in Jerusalem and explosions overhead from at least three interceptions by Israel’s Iron Dome air defences. The armed wing of Hamas claimed credit for the rocket attack it called a response to “Zionist massacres against civilians”.
  • The vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been pushed from their homes over the past two months, many several times.
  • After Sullivan left, Israel said it would open the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main road link into Gaza, for aid shipments for the first time in the war, letting 200 trucks in per day, double the capacity at Rafah.
  • Aid agencies, warning of mass starvation and disease, had long begged for Israel to speed up deliveries by letting aid enter directly at Kerem Shalom on the border of Egypt, Israel and Gaza.
  • Gaza residents reported another night of heavy fighting and bombardment the length of the enclave on Friday, including in Sheijaia, Sheikh Radwan, Zeitoun, Tuffah and Beit Hanoun in the north, and in the centre and northern fringes of the main southern city Khan Younis.
  • “The Gaza Strip turned into a ball of fire overnight, we could hear explosions and gunshots echoing from all directions,” Ahmed, 45, an electrician and father of six, told Reuters from a shelter in central Gaza.
  • “They can destroy homes and roads and kill civilians from the air or through blind tank shelling, but when they come face to face with the resistance, they lose.”
  • Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo and Shani and Fadi Shana in Gaza, Henriette Chacar, Ari Rabinovitch and Frank Jack Daniel in Jerusalem, Andrea Shalal, Jeff Mason and Eric Beech in Washington; Writing by Michael Perry; Editing by William Mallard and Tom Hogue

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