International calls for Israel-Palestine calm as Hamas leaders killed
Updated 03:00, 13-May-2021
Patrick Rhys Atack
The third tower block in Gaza bombed this week / Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

The third tower block in Gaza bombed this week / Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa


As rockets and missiles were traded between the Gaza Strip and Israeli cities and civilian casualties mounted on the Palestinian side, European leaders have called for a ceasefire.

The European Union's top foreign affairs official, Vice-President Josep Borrell, has joined calls for a de-escalation of hostilities. 

"The EU is dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children. The priority must be to protect civilians. All efforts should be directed at avoiding civilian casualties and supporting de-escalation," he said in a statement sent to the media. 

He said the actions of both sides were "unacceptable."

"The indiscriminate launching of rockets from Hamas and other groups towards Israeli civilians is unacceptable.

"While recognizing Israel's legitimate need to protect its civilian population, this response needs to be proportionate and with maximum restraint in the use of force."

Hamas, the Palestinian resistance organization in control of Gaza, confirmed one of its senior commanders was killed, along with "other leaders and warriors."


Twitter/ @BorisJohnson

Twitter/ @BorisJohnson


"I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint," UK Prime Minister Johnson posted on social media earlier in the day. 

Meanwhile, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, expressed her "great concern" at the developments. 

"My office's investigations will cover all sides and all the facts and evidence relevant to an assessment of whether there is individual criminal responsibility under the [Rome] Statute," she explained. The Rome Statute gives the ICC its legitimacy and jurisdiction.

Fires rage at dawn in Gaza after a night of heavy Israeli bombardment. /Youssef Massoud/ AFP

Fires rage at dawn in Gaza after a night of heavy Israeli bombardment. /Youssef Massoud/ AFP


After several days of street violence, including clashes between worshippers and Israeli security at the al-Aqsa mosque, the conflict moved to missiles and air strikes. 

Last night, an Israeli bombardment knocked down a 13-storey tower block in Gaza City. In response, the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas said it launched 200 rockets into Israeli towns and cities. 

On Wednesday another airstrike destroyed another multi-storey building in Gaza City, the Al-Sharouk tower. 

It housed the bureau of the Al-Aqsa television channel, and is the third tall structure levelled by Israeli fire since the most recent bombing campaign began on Monday.

The death toll is rising, with at least 53 killed in Palestine and 6 in Israel.

At least one Israeli civilian was targeted and killed in Ashkelon, a settlement to the north of Gaza.

Israel said it targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday. Other strikes hit what the military said were rocket launch sites, Hamas offices and the homes of Hamas leaders.

Violence also spilled over to the West Bank, where one Palestinian teenager was killed after what was described as "stone throwing." 

Read the latest United Nations efforts to stop the violence and the background to the ongoing conflict here

Source(s): Reuters

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