Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on terror targets in Gaza on Tuesday morning as dozens of rockets were fired into Israel's communities close to the border following an overnight lull of five hours.
A home in the border area was hit by a rocket on Tuesday morning, causing extensive damage. The family was not in the house at the time and there were no injuries.
Israeli forces downed a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that approached Israel's border with Jordan on Tuesday, the military said, without specifying where the aircraft might have originated from. The drone was being checked for explosives.
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman said early Tuesday that the army struck rocket launchers overnight in Gaza and targeted more sections of the network of Hamas tunnels in Gaza City and Khan Yunis known as the "Metro."
He also said that IDF had begun strikes on the affluent Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, the Hamas nerve center, would continue to do so throughout the day.
The Health Ministry in the Hamas-controlled Strip said Tuesday morning that there had been no casualties in the IDF attacks on Gaza overnight, for the first time since the fighting began eight days ago.
Zilberman said that at least 160 terrorists have been killed in the fighting, 130 of them affiliated with Hamas.
More than 3,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli communities since the fighting began. Ten people have been killed by rockets fired at Israel, including two children.
At least 212 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children, according to Gaza health officials.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to end the fighting continued, with U.S. President Joe Biden telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Monday night call that he supported a ceasefire, the White House said.
"The president expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end," the White House said.
Biden "encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians," the White House said.
"The President reiterated his firm support for Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks," it said.
The White House said the two leaders also "discussed progress in Israel's military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza."
The IDF said that at least five rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon late on Monday but all fell short.
This was the second time rockets were fired from Lebanon since the fighting began. IDF returned fire and said that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group was not behind the rwhich it attributed to Palestinian groups in the area.
Bomb shelters were opened in communities along the northern border.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that it was bolstering security control in coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces after it detected rockets fire from southern Lebanon.
UNIFIL added on Twitter it has intensified patrols "to prevent any further incidents that endanger the safety of the local population and the security of southern Lebanon," while the head of the mission remains in contact with the involved parties to ensure stability in the area and deescalate existing tensions.
It added the situation in the area was now calm.
On Monday, sources in the U.S. said the Biden administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory Meeks said he will urge the president to suspend the sale, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Meeks claimed in a virtual conference Monday discussing the violence that Congress was unaware by the weapons deal, although the White House officially advised Congress of the sale on May 5, and demanded more time for deliberations.
First published: 07:36, 05.18.21