Israeli soldiers work in an artillery unit that fires near the Israeli-Gaza border on the Israeli side on May 19, 2021.
Ammar Awad | Reuters
Israel launched a new wave of air strikes over the Gaza Strip early Thursday.
Hamas has since announced that a ceasefire will take place in the next few days. So far, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he plans to continue the offensive and told the Israeli media on Wednesday evening that he was "determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved".
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk told a Lebanese television station that he expected a ceasefire in a day or two while the mediation efforts led by Egypt – the only country with open lines of communication with Hamas and Israeli leaders – reportedly continued. US President Joe Biden has told Netanyahu that he anticipates "significant de-escalation in Gaza," but so far those words have been ignored and the exchange of fire from both sides continues.
During an Israeli bombing of the Hamas-controlled enclave on May 20, 2021, a ball of fire broke out from a building in the Rimal residential area of Gaza City.
Bashar Taleb | AFP | Getty Images
Israeli fighter aircraft bombings early Thursday killed at least one Palestinian, wounded several others and destroyed at least five homes, according to Gaza health officials. Hamas, the US-named terrorist organization and political party that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, has fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel.
The most recent violence in the Territory, which began on May 10 and is the worst since 2014, has killed at least 227 Palestinians, including at least 63 children.
At least 12 people were killed in Israel, two of them children. Some Hamas rockets have also reportedly landed in Gaza, killing Palestinians as well.
Palestinian children rescue toys from their home in Al Jawhara Tower in Gaza City, which was badly damaged in Israeli air strikes, on May 17, 2021.
Anas Baba | AFP | Getty Images
The Israeli military said it hit at least four Hamas commanders 'homes targeting "military infrastructure" and weapons caches, particularly Hamas' network of underground tunnels. But these tunnels run under civilian neighborhoods, which means several Palestinian families have lost their homes and many civilians are buried in the rubble.