Israeli airstrike on Gaza home kills 10 Palestinians, mostly children | The Daily Star
05:29 PM, May 15, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 06:34 PM, May 15, 2021

Israeli airstrike on Gaza home kills 10 Palestinians, mostly children

An Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, early Saturday in the deadliest single strike of the current battle with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Both sides pressed for an advantage as cease-fire efforts gathered strength.

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The latest outburst of violence began in Jerusalem and has spread across the region, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities of Israel. There were also widespread Palestinian protests Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.

Palestinians were set to mark Nakba (Catastrophe) 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. That raised the possibility of even more unrest.

US diplomat Hady Amr arrived on Friday as part of Washington's efforts to de-escalate the conflict, and the U.N. Security Council was set to meet Sunday.

But Israel turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers had accepted, an Egyptian official said Friday on condition of anonymity to discuss the negotiations.

Read More: Israeli airstrikes kill 126 Palestinians in Gaza, 11 killed in West Bank

Early Saturday, an airstrike hit a three-story house in Gaza City's Shati refugee camp, killing eight children and two women from an extended family.

Mohammed Hadidi told reporters his wife and five children had gone to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with relatives. She and three of the children, aged 6 to 14, were killed, while an 11-year-old is missing. Only his 5-month-old son Omar is known to have survived.

Children's toys and a Monopoly board game could be seen among the rubble, as well as plates of uneaten food from the holiday gathering.

"There was no warning," said Jamal Al-Naji, a neighbor living in the same building. "You filmed people eating and then you bombed them?" he said, addressing Israel. "Why are you confronting us? Go and confront the strong people!"

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamas said it fired a salvo of rockets at southern Israel in response to the airstrike.

Later on Saturday, the military notified the building owner that it was about to strike the high-rise in Gaza City where The Associated Press and other media outlets, including Al Jazeera, have their offices. Residents of the building, including AP staff, evacuated. The army told the AP that staff should evacuate immediately.

A furious Israeli barrage early Friday killed a family of six in their house and sent thousands fleeing to U.N.-run shelters. The military said the operation involved 160 warplanes dropping some 80 tons of explosives over the course of 40 minutes and succeeded in destroying a vast tunnel network used by Hamas.

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