An Israeli air raid onGaza killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, early Saturday in the deadliest single strike since the battle with Gaza's militant Hamas rulers erupted earlier this week. Both sides pressed for an advantage as cease-fire efforts gathered strength.
Hamas militants responded by firing rockets into Israel as their battle entered its sixth day and U.S. and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence.
Mohammed Abu Hatab 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.
Palestinian medics said at least 12 people were killed overnight in air strikes throughout Gaza. According to reports at least six children and two women were among the dead from IDF strikes overnight.
The Israeli military said it carried out strikes on a Hamas military intelligence facility and a number of rocket launching sites in northern Gaza.
The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report.
Across the border, sirens sounded throughout much of southern Israel, sending residents running for shelter. In the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod buildings were struck by rockets. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
With no sign of an end to the fighting, casualties spread further afield, with Palestinians reporting on Friday 11 killed in the occupied West Bank amid clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.
At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including at least 33 children and 21 women, and 950 others wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.
Among the eight dead in Israel were a soldier patrolling the Gaza border and six civilians, including two children, Israeli authorities said.
Ahead of a session of the U.N. Security Council on Sunday to discuss the situation, Biden administration envoy Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, flew in on Friday. The U.S. Embassy in Israel said the aim was “to reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm.
”Israel launched day-long attacks on Friday to destroy what it said were several kilometers of tunnels, launch sites and weapons manufacturing warehouses used by the militants in an effort to halt the rocket attacks.
Across central and southern Israel, from small towns bordering Gaza to metropolitan Tel Aviv and southern Beersheba, people have adjusted to sirens wailing, radio and TV broadcast interruptions and the beeps of cellphones bearing red alerts that send them rushing for cover.
Cross-border hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have been accompanied by violence in mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel. Synagogues have been attacked and street fights have broken out, prompting Israel’s president to warn of civil war.
First published: 09:55, 05.15.21