Israel, Hamas commerce fireplace in Gaza as struggle rages on

Gaza City (Gaza Strip), May 18

Israel carried out a wave of airstrikes on what it said were militant targets in Gaza, levelling a six-storey building, while militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Tuesday.

Palestinians across the region observed a general strike as the war, now in its second week, showed no signs of abating. The strikes toppled a building that housed libraries and educational centres belonging to the Islamic University. Seen from roof height, the destruction loomed as a massive valley of rebar and concrete slabs. Desks, office chairs, books and computer wires could be seen peeking from the debris. Residents sifted through the rubble, searching for their belongings.

A Palestinian youth at an anti-Israel demonstration during a general strike in the West Bank city of Ramallah. AP/PTI

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the overnight strikes.

Heavy fighting broke out on May 10 when Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem in support of Palestinian protests there against Israel’s heavy-handed policing of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a flashpoint holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers. Palestinians in Israel, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank observed a general strike on Tuesday to protest what many activists and some human rights groups say is a single system of apartheid of which the Gaza war is only one manifestation. — AP

UN agency: Situation in Gaza grim

  • The UN humanitarian agency is describing an increasingly dire situation inside the Gaza Strip as the war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers rages with no end in sight.
  • Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says nearly 47,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in more than a week. AP

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