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US envoy arrives for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 05 - 2021

A US envoy landed in Tel Aviv on Friday in a bid to de-escalate the latest flare-up of deadly violence between Israel and Palestinians.
Hady Amr, the US deputy secretary of state for Israel and Palestinian affairs, is to hold talks with Israeli, Palestinians and UN officials as the two sides are locked in the worst outbreak of violence since 2014.
It comes as an Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza city early on Saturday killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children.
Palestinians were set to mark Nakba day on Saturday, when they commemorate the estimated 700,000 people who fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation, raising the possibility of more unrest.
Many fled Gaza City in droves on Friday as Israel continued intense bombardment of the Palestinian Territories and massed troops on the Gaza frontier. The country has also called at least 9,000 reservists, stoking fears of a ground invasion.
Meanwhile, a barrage of artillery fire and airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled territory continued into Friday, with reports of hospitals overwhelmed and people fleeing for their lives.
At least 126 people have been killed, including 31 children and 20 women in Gaza so far; in Israel, seven people have been killed, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.
Seven people are known to have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier. The militant group has fired close to 2,000 rockets at the territory since the fresh wave of violence broke out on Monday.
The heaviest bombardment yet began late on Thursday night. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) issued a statement at just after midnight local time in which it said air and ground forces were "currently attacking the Gaza Strip", offering no further details.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, later confirmed that tanks stationed near the border had fired 50 rounds on the city.
It was part of a large-scale operation aimed at destroying tunnels beneath Gaza City that the IDF says are used by fighters, and which it refers to as 'the Metro.'
"I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. "We are doing that, and we will continue to do that with heavy force."
Hamas and the IDF continued to exchange rocket fire and airstrikes throughout Thursday night and into Friday.
Late on Thursday night, rockets were also fired towards Israel from southern Lebanon, landing in the Mediterranean sea. Lebanese officials have said they are thought to have been fired from the refugee camp of Rashidieh.
After the bombardment on Thursday night, which saw several apartment buildings in Gaza reduced to rubble, many families fled their homes, arriving at UN schools in the city on pickup trucks and donkeys loaded with their belongings. — Euronews


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