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16th May 2021

Israel strikes home of Hamas political leader as Gaza conflict continues

Claudia McInerney

This comes just hours before the UN Security Council is set to meet to discuss the conflict

The Israeli military said last night that it has targeted the Gaza home of Hamas political leader, Yehiyeh Sinwar, as the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinian militants continues.

The Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed around 26 people on Sunday morning, officials said.

There have been no fatalities in Israel from the most recent Hamas attacks.

Members of the militant group Hamas continue to fire rockets at Israel, which prompted people nearby to flee for shelter.

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that his country will “continue to respond forcefully” to the rocket attacks, despite calls from countries around the world to put an end to the violent attacks.

This comes as the UN Security Council, the body that ensures international peace and security, is holding a meeting today to discuss the ongoing conflict.

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, and Secretary-General, António Guterres, are set to address ambassadors in this morning’s meeting.

In a statement, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said: “Over the past 10 days, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel has deteriorated at an alarming rate.

“The situation in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, triggered by threats of forced evictions of Palestinian families; the heavy presence of Israeli Security Forces and violence around the al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan; the severe escalation of attacks from and on Gaza; and the shocking race-based incitement in Israel have all led to vicious attacks and mounting casualties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel.”

She continued: “Rather than seeking to calm tensions, inflammatory rhetoric from leaders on all sides appears to be seeking to excite tensions rather than to calm them. Once again, we are seeing lives lost and terrified people being forced to flee or hide in their homes, subjected to attacks that are being carried out by both sides in what may amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

“We know from recent history how such a grave situation can advance with utterly catastrophic consequences for thousands of civilians,” the UN official said. “There can be no winner, no sustainable peace resulting from the furtherance of the cycle of violence. I urge all sides – and States with influence – to take immediate measures to ensure respect for international law, ease tensions, and work to resolve – rather than fan – the conflict,” Bachelet concluded.