Israeli air raids intensify…As Gaza death toll hikes

Israeli fighter jets have attacked high-rise buildings and other targets in the Gaza Strip as Palestinians in the besieged enclave woke up on Thursday to mark the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday under relentless aerial bombardment.

Since the Israeli offensive began late on Monday, Gaza’s health ministry says at least 84 people, including 17 children, have been killed. More than 480 others have been wounded.

At least six Israelis and one Indian national have also been killed. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave’s eastern lands.

There have also been more violent confrontations between Jewish Israelis and Palestinian citizens of Israel in several cities inside Israel.

An Egyptian delegation is in Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli officials as part of efforts to negotiate a cease-fire in the escalating conflict with Gaza, Egyptian intelligence officials said.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief the media. The same delegation met with Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip first, they said, and crossed into Israel by land. Egypt has played a mediating role in the past between the sides.

The spokesman for the Qassam Brigades said the armed wing has for the first time fired a rocket towards Ramon Airport south of the country.

“The Ayyash 250 missile, with a range greater than 250km has been launched at Ramon Airport, about 220km from Gaza,” Abu Obeida said.

The rocket is named after Yahya Ayyash, one of Hamas’s leading operatives before he was assassinated by Israel in 1996.

Abu Obeida called the rocket launching part of the Qassam Brigades’ response to the killing of its senior commanders.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain wanted to see an urgent de-escalation of violence in Israel.

“Certainly we in the UK are very sad to see what is happening and the cycle of violence that now seems to be taking place,” Johnson told reporters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the international community should “give Israel a strong and deterrent lesson” over its conduct towards the Palestinians.

Erdogan made the comment during a phone call with Putin on Wednesday, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate said, amid escalating violence in occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

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